Pioneering reading researcher now a debut children’s author

MultiLit co-founder and chairman Emeritus Professor Kevin Wheldall AM has published his first children’s book, heavily inspired by his own childhood growing up in the United Kingdom.

The book, When I Was a Lad, tells the story of a young boy taking pleasure in the simple things in life – dressing up and playing make-believe, fish and chips on a Friday, and exploring the neighbourhood with a mischievous dog named Spiv.


Professor Wheldall, a pioneering researcher in language and reading instruction who moved to Australia in 1990, is the author of more than 350 academic books, chapters, and journal articles in the fields of educational psychology and special education.

However, this is his first foray into fiction.

“I’ve dabbled with creative writing since my teens, writing song lyrics and verse mostly for the benefit of family and friends,” said Professor Wheldall.

“This is a story that I’ve been wanting to write for some time; it’s semi-autobiographical in that I lived with my grandparents for a while when I was very young, and we had a dog called Spiv who was known to get into trouble.

“While writing children’s literature is very different to my work in research and literacy instruction, I certainly value the rhyme and rhythm in books for littlies; it makes it more fun for parents too.”

When I Was a Lad, featuring illustrations by Caroline Keys, is aimed at children aged 3+.

Published by Putto Press, it is available for purchase below.

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