Kate Foster is a bestselling and award-winning children's author writing about friends, family, and dogs. Originally from a small town in the southeast of England, she now lives on the stunning Gold Coast in Australia with her family and second-hand dogs. Her middle grade novels have been published in Australia, the UK and the US.
She is passionate about encouraging and teaching a wider understanding of autism and mental illness via a positive approach and representation in both her books as well as her presentations and talks.
As a speaker, Kate is authentic, enthusiastic, and friendly in her approach. She talks sensitively but always positively and sincerely, encouraging people to understand the internal, invisible struggles others may be having, to recognise behaviours, and how they can be a better friend and colleague to those around them. Her goal is to smash harmful stereotypes and misinformation, end stigmas, and to inspire everyone she meets to share their stories with confidence as they are important and deserve to be heard.
Kate likes to discuss why books like hers with positive disability representation are so important for everyone, not just children. Her message is that we can all do better in accepting and helping neurodivergent people be their best selves in environments that allow them to comfortably participate. Kate uses her own experiences and voice to offer insight into the day-to-day life of one autistic person as well as how to identify depression as early as possible in children.
Kate has experience speaking, running workshops, and presenting, both in-person and virtually:
- to children in schools and book clubs
- to parents and carers
- to teachers and teacher-librarians
- to book creators
- to organisations, departments, and companies
Everything is changing for 11-year-old Alex and, as an autistic person, change can be terrifying. With the first day of high school only a couple of months away, Alex is sure that having a friend by his side will help. So, he’s devised a plan – impress the kids at school by winning a trophy at the PAWS Dog Show with his trusty sidekick, Kevin. This should be a walk in the park . . . right?
The Bravest Word
Do you hear that? You’re Cliff now, and your life is going to get better, I promise.
When eleven-year-old Matt finds Cliff, a hurt, neglected dog abandoned in the bush, he knows the brave little pup needs saving. He wants to help. But can he?
Lately, Matt has had way more bad days than good days. The pieces of his life just don’t seem to fit together anymore, and he doesn’t understand why. He's finding it impossible to concentrate at school and has lost interest in the activities he used to love. Plus, he’s tired all the time.
Matt's too afraid to share what's really going on in his own head with anyone. His friends and family will never understand . . . maybe it's not only Cliff who needs saving.
Illustrated by Sophie Beer
The world’s happiest and most dog-friendly superhero is here! A brand-new adventure for junior readers from Kate Foster.
Meet Harriet Hound. She’s eight years old and loves dogs!
But Harriet has something else that makes her super ... the power to summon the dogs from her family’s rescue shelter every time there’s trouble afoot.
Whether it’s a carnival catastrophe, a sudden storm, or vanishing vegetables, Harriet and her best dog friends use their super special talents and problem-solving skills to save the day!
The Unlikely Heroes Club
A fun, frolicking adventure about five kids with a mystery to solve!
Eleven-year-old Oli is spending his school holidays at Heroes Club, where kids can build friendships and learn about their emotions, but Oli just wants to be home … where it’s familiar, not-so-boring and he can play his favourite game.
But when Oli and the other kids at the club see a stray dog who keeps disappearing into a soon-to-be-demolished building across the street, Oli and his four fellow heroes hatch a daring rescue plan to save the dog before it’s too late.
It's going to take bravery, some seriously smart teamwork … and a few broken rules.
Third Time’s a Charm
Illustrated by Jacinta Read
Billie Nicks loves gymnastics. Her brilliant memory lends itself perfectly to remembering routines, and best of all, she gets to compete alongside her best friends. But Billie has found it difficult to get through a whole competition due to her anxiety and sensory sensitivities. Today, it’s her third attempt, and this time she’s determined to succeed!
The Dog and the Lizard in Sunflowers and Nightingales
An anthology of stories, poems and artwork created by children aged 6-13 years, intertwined with stories written by well-known children’s authors.
This unique anthology is a celebration of hope, happiness and love, guaranteed to make you smile. Featuring stories by Glen Blackwell, Kate Foster, Anna Hoghton, Rob Keeley, Karen McCombie, Lizzie Sands, Dan Smith, Lou Treleaven and Nikki Young. All proceeds from the sale of this book will go to charities providing vital support to the displaced people and animals of Ukraine.
Small Acts (Walker Books Australia, 2024)
A middle grade contemporary written by Kate Foster and Kate Gordon
Camp Spook: Attack of the Aliants (Larrikin House, 2025)
A middle grade comedy sci-fi horror written by Kate Foster and Pip Harry
Autism, Acceptance, Awareness, and Dogs!
Includes a reading from Paws - (One hour: 45-minute presentation and 15 minutes Q&A. Suitable for grades 4-7)
After introducing myself and a fun icebreaker game, I will read a chapter from Paws and talk a little about the book and the themes included. From there, I focus my talk on differences and how this is something to celebrate and accept and nurture. I cover details of how all of us have a unique story to tell, even if we think nothing interesting ever happens to us, and that even those who are not big readers or writers are storytellers too. I include the children in a few fun exercises, before chatting about autism and what this is, eventually circling back to Paws. I close by inviting all and any questions from the children, and emphasis that no comment or question is wrong and that I never judge and always encourage individuality.
2. The Bravest Word:
Anxiety, Depression, and Why Asking for Help Matters
Includes a reading from The Bravest Word - (One hour: 45-minute presentation and 15 minutes Q&A. Suitable for grades 5-7)
After introducing myself and a fun icebreaker game, I will read a chapter from THE BRAVEST WORD and talk a little about the book and the themes included. From there, I focus my talk on mental wellbeing, ensuring the children feel comfortable saying big words such as depression and anxiety, and understanding that the brain is as important to exercise and look after as the rest of our bodies. I include the children in a fun exercise, before chatting about the differences between healthy emotions we should allow ourselves to experience and mental illness, covering signs and behaviours to look for in ourselves and our friends. I close by inviting all and any questions from the children, and emphasis that no comment or question is wrong and that I never judge and always encourage individuality.
3. Neurodiversity and Mental Health:
What it means to have invisible disabilities and how we can all be better friends.
Can include a reading from PAWS or The Bravest Word if requested.
(One hour: 50 minutes presentation and 10 minutes Q&A. Suitable for grades 5-7)
This presentation follows both a similar format and takes elements from talks 1 and 2.
4. One Author’s Journey to Publication:
The highs, the lows, and why I love my job
(One hour: 40 minutes presentation and 20 minutes Q&A. Suitable for grades 5-12)
After opening with a fun icebreaker and reading from one of my books, I share details about my journey to becoming a published author. I cover everything from my childhood, where I grew up, and the types of stories I used to write, to some of the pivotal moments in my life which led to what I write now and why these stories matter. I discuss how I honed my craft and eventually chose to pursue publication, before covering details such as the word counts of my books, the time it takes to write them, and the editing process. I offer insight and tips to what it’s like behind the scenes, the hard parts of the job to navigate and the magical moments which make it all worthwhile. I close by inviting all and any questions from the children, and emphasis that no comment or question is wrong and that I never judge and always encourage individuality.
Length of above sessions can be adjusted to offer more time for Q&A if preferred.
1. Creating Colourful Characters
A fun and detailed workshop where Kate offers tips and ideas on how to create engaging, 3-dimensional characters. She looks at every aspect of personality, appearance, and past and provides a worksheet for attendees to complete and build their own characters, encouraging them to look at themselves or someone they know for inspiration. She will work through the process of building a character, how to give them a goal, a conflict, and motivation and encourages the attendees to ask “why?” at every opportunity, so they appreciate the importance of a character's back story and allowing readers to make strong connections and build story tension.
2. Show Don’t Tell
Kate shares her an extensive array tips for mastering show don’t tell. Together she covers ways in which this can be included, from the world building to filter verbs to emotions, and helps writers young and old understand how showing can create a more immersive experience for the reader but why telling is sometimes the right choice too. She lists ideas on how to show emotions through body language and thought and then works through sentence and paragraph examples, switching them from telling to showing.
3. How to Write Diversity in Children’s Literature
A deep dive 90-minute workshop into the whys and whens, the dos and don’ts, and the all-important how of writing stories with diverse characters.
Bespoke workshops on most aspects of creative writing can be created for individual class or curriculum needs. Kate is also experienced and available to appear on panels, at festivals and conferences, and as a keynote speaker. Please don’t hesitate to contact Kate to discuss.
Great presentation and a lovely manner with the students. they were engaged and she encouraged them to actively participate and answered all their questions.
All Hallows' School - August, 2023
We were delighted to host author Kate Foster as presenter of our November 2022 Webinar. Her title was "Why choosing diverse books isn’t enough: it’s all about the representation" and in the presentation, Kate gave so much more information about what makes someone neurodivergent, and how to accommodate their needs in school libraries.
Kate was such a warm, relaxed and engaging speaker. Our attendees connected strongly with her compassionate and empathetic style. Her professionalism came through strongly in her slideshow, the detail in the information she gave, and the depth of her knowledge and understanding.
Kate was extremely generous in sharing her resources for our audience and took extra time after the event to provide follow-up answers to questions, as well as a book list.
We would happily welcome Kate back to ASLA to present for us again!
Australian School Library Association - November 2022
We thoroughly enjoyed Kate’s visit and presentation. She interacted so well with our Year 5 students by responding with empathy and care, and by igniting a wonderful sense of curiosity and awe within the group. Kate was a pleasure to work with, fabulous communication, and her presentation was well-suited to the Year 5 cohort. We’d happily host Kate again.
St Rita’s College - September 2022
Kate was such a gracious and generous guest. She had an authentic, warm, and honest style gently exploring themes of friendship and autism when she visited to speak to our Year 4 students about her book PAWS. The students were thoroughly engaged. We needed extra copies of PAWS for the library! Kate encouraged our students to empathise and respect others. Thank you, Kate.
Trinity Lutheran College - August 2022
Kate’s visit to our school was a highlight of the year! Her presentation to our Year 6 kids kept them enthralled, as she interwove engaging and empowering stories about her journey as an author, her inspiration for writing books, and the writing process itself. Kate gave invaluable lessons about treating others with respect, and her message that, ‘We all have a story to tell!’ was particularly powerful for our students. Teachers and students haven’t stopped raving about the ‘author who loves dogs!’
Kate also ran a Writers Workshop for our Grade 5 and 6 kids, where she gave fantastic tips and tricks on generating ideas, creating engaging characters, writing riveting plot lines and the mechanics of writing itself. Students loved getting the opportunity to work with Kate as she inspired them to become the authors they didn’t know they could be. I highly recommend booking Kate – we certainly will be!
Varsity College - 2022