ALIA National Simultaneous Storytime 2020

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National Simultaneous Storytime is back for its 20th year! Join us on Wednesday 27 May 2020 at 11:00am as we head into the world of Whitney and Britney the Chicken Divas!

                                                                              Please note the above countdown is in AEDT


National Simultaneous Storytime and Covid-19

The health and safety of ALIA Members and event participants is our first priority and we are monitoring the Covid-19 situation as it evolves. We are fully committed to planning for an amazing National Simultaneous Storytime 2020.

A face-to-face NSS event is unlikely to be possible this year, so we encourage you to consider a virtual event. All registered participants will receive a number of electronic resources including videos and audio recordings allowing everyone to participate regardless of where they are. There are downloads, resources and activities available on the NSS website that can be shared and used anywhere. Whether in person or virtually, we hope you will join us in reading Whitney and Britney Chicken Divas at 11am on 27 May 2020.

Please register to receive the electronic versions of the book and we will send you updates with the very latest ideas, activities and resources to support your virtual NSS event.

If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact the ALIA team at

National Simultaneous Storytime (NSS) is held annually by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA). Every year a picture book, written and illustrated by an Australian author and illustrator, is read simultaneously in libraries, schools, pre-schools, childcare centres, family homes, bookshops and many other places around the country. Now in its 20th successful year, it is a colourful, vibrant, fun event that aims to promote the value of reading and literacy, using an Australian children's book that explores age-appropriate themes, and addresses key learning areas of the National Curriculum for Foundation to Year 6.

By facilitating NSS we aim to:

  • promote the value of reading and literacy,
  • promote the value and fun of books,
  • promote an Australian writer and publisher,
  • promote storytime activities in public libraries and communities around the country,
  • and provide opportunities to involve parents, grandparents, the media and others to participate in and enjoy the occasion.

NSS receives positive media coverage, generates a great deal of community interest and is held annually as part of Library and Information Week. 2019 was our biggest and most successful NSS to date with over 1,138,000 participants at over 11,550 locations, including participants from New Zealand, Thailand, UK, Canada, Singapore, Vietnam and Hong Kong. 

What do we look for in the National Simultaneous Storytime book?

Each year, interested publishers send in possible titles. From a practical perspective, the publisher has to be able and willing to provide copyright release for use of the illustrations, book projection, translation into other languages and performance. The publisher also needs to commit to a special print run of several thousand copies. This narrows down the options. The criteria for choosing from the remaining books include: a positive storyline; appeal to a modern and diverse audience; suitability for read-aloud (language and length); how well the book lends itself to craft and other activities.

NSS 2020 will be the third year we are joined by LIANZA to bring NSS to our New Zealand colleagues. 

This year NSS takes place on Wednesday 27 May 2020 at 11:00am and we would love it if you could join us by sharing Whitney and Britney Chicken Divas written and illustrated by Lucinda GiffordEveryone can join NSS, it doesn't matter whether you are at home, a school, a public library or even a university library! You could event invite a local school group into your workplace for an NSS morning tea, have some fun with your staff at an NSS morning tea or donate a copy of the book to your local library or childcare centre. There are endless ways to support NSS.

Register to participate  - (it's free)

On Monday 25 May 2020 we will send you a variety of electronic downloads to support your NSS event. Please note, digital presentations of the book will only be available until Friday 29 May 2020.




Whitney and Britney Chicken Divas 

"Whitney and Britney are two gorgeous chooks who live alongside Dora von Dooze. But Dora is perplexed - why do her dear chickens seem to sleep all day long? Dora decides to snoop. She follows the chooks out at night to the local jazz club where she discovers, to her amazement, that they are Whitney and Britney: Chicken Divas!"

Written and Illustrated By: Lucinda Gifford

Published By: Scholastic Australia

Visit Scholastic Australia's website to purchase your copy of the book.

Lucinda is a children’s book author and illustrator based in Melbourne Australia, and she spends a lot of her time drawing in front of an audience. She draws in notebooks, on digital screens, on easels and on huge bits of cartridge paper stuck to the walls and windows.

Visit Lucinda's website to find out more or check out her instagram, twitter or facebook

Publishing partner

NSS 2020 is made possible by the generous support of our publishing partner Scholastic Australia.


Mailing partner

NSS 2020 is proudly supported by mailing partner Australia Post


Official supporters

We also thank our official NSS supporters for their help in providing NSS participants amazing resources.




We (with thanks to Lucinda Gifford and Scholastic Australia) have made a number of resources available to support your NSS event. All artworks, downloads and digital presentations are licensed for use only in conjunction with NSS events and activities. Please see the permissions from the publisher below for more information.  


Print graphics - Flyer, Letterhead

Web graphics - Book cover, Banner, Email signature, Social media tile

Activity ideas

Visit our NSS partner cleverpatch, to download an ebook full of activity and craft ideas for your NSS event.

Teacher notes

Click here to download teacher notes, discussion notes and activity ideas from Scholastic Australia.

Teaching resources and acitivities

Visit our NSS partner Learn from Play to download teaching resources and activities.


Digital presentations of the book will be emailed to all registered participants on Monday 25 May 2020, please ensure that you register before then to receive all resources.

Please note: digital presentations of the book will only be available until Friday 29 May 2020.

Story Box Library video

Stay tuned for availability of Story Box Library's video and resources to participate and encourage excitement in this year’s NSS

Keep your eye on the Scholastic website and catalogues for more support and fun ways to participate in this important event:

Merchandise is now available to purchase from the ALIA Shop.

Please place your order prior to Wednesday, 6 May 2020 to ensure delivery of your items prior to NSS.

ALIA policy is that merchandise will not be sent prior to payment being received, should this be of concern to you please contact

International participants should email their order to Postage charges will apply to all international orders. 

  • Small orders up to 500g - $12
  • Medium orders 500g to 1kg - $25
  • Large orders 1kg - $35



Many wonderful VIP guest readers will be announced closer to the event date.

Should you wish to be involved as a guest reader, please don't hesitate to contact us at

Scholastic Australia and the author Lucinda Gifford* have given the below permissions for NSS 2020.

On all occasions the below permissions will be limited to only the date of the event and to publicity surrounding the event:

  • Registered participants may use the provided PDF of the book on whiteboards and/or projection screens.
  • Registered participants may present a reader's theatre dramatisation of the book with the condition that the presentation occurs only in connection with the event. The dramatisation may be live streamed and/or downloaded to YouTube or school intranet sites or via podcast.
  • Registered participants may have an interpreter translate and read the book in another language with the condition that the presentation occurs only in connection with the event.
  • Registered participants may present the book as a puppet show
  • Registered participants may present the book as a storytelling
  • Registered participants may use an image of the book cover for NSS promotion.
  • Registere participants may use the printed or electronic materials provided by ALIA for promotion provided materials are not altered
  • Permission for participating organisations to use the digital presentations of the book provided by ALIA for NSS storytelling.

For any other use of the book in conjunction with NSS 2020 please contact ALIA's Events team.

* By Arrangement with the Licensor, Lucinda Gifford, c/- Curtis Brown (Aust) Pty Ltd.

Please click here to view the highlights of NSS2019.

We love hearing about your NSS events! Please send your stories, photos and videos to

Don't forget join the conversation on social media using the hashtags #NSS2020 and #1millionkidsreading.

The first NSS was held during Library and Information Week 2001. From 2002 - 2007 NSS took place during National Literacy and Numeracy Week. In 2008, due to popular demand NSS returned to Library and Information Week with great success and continues to attract a wide audience from around Australia.

  • 2019 - Alpacas with Maracas by Matt Cosgrove
  • 2018 - Hickory Dickory Dash by Tony Willson and illustrated by Laura Wood
  • 2017 - The Cow Tripped over the Moon by Tony Wilson and illustrated by Laura Wood
  • 2016 - I Got This Hat by Jol and Kate Temple and illustrated by Jon Foye
  • 2015 - The Brothers Quibble by Aaron Blabey
  • 2014 - Too Many Elephants in this House by Ursula Dubosarsky and illustrated by Andrew Joyner
  • 2013 - The Wrong Book by Nick Bland
  • 2012 - The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland
  • 2011 - Feathers for Phoebe by Rod Clement
  • 2010 - Little White Dogs Can't Jump by Bruce Whatley and Rosie Smith and illustrated by Bruce Whatley
  • 2009 - Pete the Sheep by Jackie French and illustrated by Bruce Whatley
  • 2008 - Arthur written by Amanda Graham and illustrated by Donna Gynell
  • 2007 - The Magic Hat written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Tricia Tusa
  • 2006 - Good night, Me by Andrew Daddo and illustrated by Emma Quay
  • 2005 - Wombat Stew by Marcia K Vaughan and Pamela Lofts
  • 2004 - Muddled-up Farm written by Mike Dumbleton and illustrated by Jobi Murphy
  • 2003 - I don't want to go to school written by Christine Harris and illustrated by Craig Smith  
  • 2002 - Mrs Wilkinson's Chooks by Leone Peguero and Mike Spoor
  • 2001 - Edward the Emu written by Sheena Knowles and illustrated by Rod Clement

For more information about National Simultaneous Storytime, contact the ALIA team.