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Andrew McDonald


Andrew McDonald is the author of the Real Pigeons and Hello Twigs series (illustrated by Ben Wood). He loves writing books that make kids laugh, gasp and wonder about the world.

His books have been shortlisted for prizes such as the Australian Book Industry Awards, the Readings Children’s Book Prize, and the YABBA, KOALA and KROC children’s choice book awards.

Andrew lives in Naarm/Melbourne and is a passionate advocate for books, reading and engaging kids through creativity.

Where were you born?

I was born in Melbourne, in a suburb to the north called Watsonia. As I grew up, I spent my time reading indoors and kicking a football around outdoors. I was just an average kid who dreamed of being either an author or a football player. Happily, one of those dreams came true.

What other jobs have you had?

I have worked as a bookseller, an editor and a pancake-flipper (the secret to good pancakes is adding beaten egg-whites to the mixture).

But writing books and sharing stories with young readers is the most interesting, fun and rewarding job I’ve ever had.

What themes are recurring in your work?

All of my books feature lots of silliness and humour. I love writing funny books because they’re great at hooking readers and getting them turning the pages. If you can get kids laughing, you can get them reading.

Once I have hooked a reader with funny characters and humorous situations, I like to weave a story full of surprising moments and unexpected twists that touches on themes such as identity, tolerance, loyalty and what it really means to succeed and/or fail.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Working on the Real Pigeons series has been exceptionally fun because Ben Wood and I get to make up stories about birds that fight crime and use their PIGEON POWERS to help others. On top of that, the stories are full of heart as the pigeons learn about friendship, persistence, prejudice and looking after the (avian) community.

The Real Pigeons books have such a simple premise behind them and I like to talk about this in my school sessions as an example of how inspiration can come from anywhere. I literally got the idea for a whole series of books from looking at birds in the street! The hard work is in turning just one idea into a fully fleshed-out story.

What have your books been published?

Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Germany, China, South Korea, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic.

What are you passionate about?

There is nothing more satisfying than helping kids kick-start their reading journey by empowering them to love, devour and then share the right book.

This can be instrumental to developing a child’s literacy, and stories are a great vehicle to learn and think about the world around us too.

I hope that by writing engaging books and talking to young readers, I am making a positive impact at the start of what will hopefully be a lifetime of reading.

Haven’t I seen you before?

You might remember me from a blog post that went viral a few years ago called A Pictorial Guide to Camera Loss.


The students were very engaged and loved the story and process about how the normal pigeons were turned into interesting characters, and then they got to do some of their own creations at the end.

Student comments: “I loved seeing a real author who could think of his own ideas for books”. “I enjoyed getting to meet a cool author of a popular book series”.

—Jenny Corbin, Whitefriars College, August 2019

We have had some great feedback from the kids – they really loved your visit! Your books are all the craze and many are waiting to borrow them.

—Kate Shiels, Discovery Centre Teacher, Rivercrest Christian College, August 2019

Andrew had a fantastic rapport with the kids, and a really great gift for communicating important ideas about writing, while keeping them thoroughly entertained.

—Jacqueline Griffeth, Librarian , Mt Waverley Primary School, August 2019

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