All the teachers-turned-publishers whose resources we’ve loved over the years…

Self-publishing is not for the faint-hearted. There’s more to it than creative fun, and there’s always the risk that it will become an expensive hobby, rather than a business. Yet teachers still do it, creating the resources they long for – but can’t find.

In this post, I want to look at teachers who decided to go ahead and DIY. Looking back at people I’ve interviewed – or simply looked up to – over the years, I thought I’d ask the teacher-authors whose works we know and love to tell me what they are up to now…


First of all, Vale Maggie Power (Urban Lyrebirds),  Susan Boyer (Boyer Education) and Theodora (Dora) Lafkas (APELS).

APELS books

What a loss to those who loved them – and to the teaching world.

Susan, Maggie and Dora are so missed, but their books are still available and in use in programs all around Australia.

If you haven’t already, you might like to read about Maggie. (If anyone has a copy of the lovely obituary for Susan, please let me know, as there’s a problem with the web link to it – likewise for Theodora.)

Website for Maggie’s books:

Website for Susan’s books:

I can’t find an APELS website, but hoping to get in touch with Dora’s co-author Nicky Brookes – and will update!


These go to Hazel Davidson and Dorothy Court from Sugarbag on Damper.

What an output they had! You’ll remember books like Cousins: Koala and Wombat, A Very Big Country, The Great South Land, Gold!, Australian Government and The Sea, all written at three levels, and so perfect for multilevel classes.

I spoke to Hazel: she and her husband are enjoying sunny Ballina (though they do miss the cultural mix and vibrancy of Brisbane). While she has a few books in her cupboard (in case booksellers are looking for them), there will be no new titles. Make sure yours don’t go missing!

(The website is no longer up, but there are plenty of links to the books online.)


Urban Lyrebirds: Carmel Davies and Sharon Duff

Urban Lyrebirds books

Sing with Me! Songbooks, Sing with Me! Stories, May Street Stories 

It’s actually 10 years now since the first Sing with Me! book came out. I spoke to Carmel, who has been busy, with another month as a reading volunteer in the NT; attending conferences; running workshops on song: you can read more about what she’s been up to in the latest edition of Fine Print. What about writing?  Carmel and Sharon have another book in the pipeline, inspired by Maggie Power.

When Maggie was ill, she asked us to write a second book at Passages 1 level – she had an outline, and had started the first unit, but didn’t have time to finish it. So that’s what we’ve been working on over the last few months. We used Maggie’s template and we now have a draft, but there’s still a lot of work to do. This book will cover the beginner level grammar that wasn’t covered in Passages 1, like past tense. What will it be called? I’m not sure! Passages 1 Plus?


Read Me Again Press:  Karen Slikas Barber.

Read Me Again Press

Entertaining, real-life Carly and Kumar stories.

Karen is absorbed in teaching and being a language learner herself, and there are no more readers currently planned. As she said:

Right now I’m investing my time in ways to contribute to teaching, especially through our Communities of Practice … continuing to work on Linguistic Mindfulness and Fluency Development, plus organising online Conversation Club activities with volunteers.

If you’re looking at fluency development, the Carly and Kumar stories are excellent for reading or listening, so please contact me if you’d like a free copy of Book 1 (pdf text and audio download).


Let’s Connect: Australian ESL Grammar Workbooks: Helga Burry 

Let's Connect Grammar Helga Burry

Helga’s third in the series Let’s Connect: An Australian ESL Grammar Workbook came out last year, with a focus on the Present Perfect Tense.

Will there be more books? Helga certainly has more content, but no news right now of new grammar workbooks. (The last one took over two years to create, so we might understand if she wants a break… and a focus on teaching.) She said:

 I just want to help people with grammar and now I’m doing 1:1 tuition where I can really see the language emerging in  my students. So no plans at the moment for further books…

No website, but talk to your local bookseller.

Po Lin Woo: English for Beginners Books 1 and 2 and other titles

Po Lin Woo books

English for Beginners Books 1 and 2, Preliminary Spoken and Written English, Reading and Writing for Everyday Life

I wasn’t able to speak to Po Lin: word has it that she’s working on something new, but I wasn’t able to confirm that. So fingers crossed…please update me if you know anything!

No website, but talk to your local bookseller.

Clare Harris: The Book Next Door

Clare Harris The Book Next Door

That’s me: Hope Street Stories (ESL Extras), Book Club readers, some puzzle books and quizzes. I’m currently on LSL and have been working on some group work activities for Pre-Beginner or Early Beginner learners, inspired by AMEP teacher Dorothea Milenti. Look out for ‘Tabletop English‘ (though that’s a working title!)

Now that these resources are being trialled, I can start on my series of non-fiction readers about Australia for Beginner level learners. (I decided to do print books after talking to libraries about what they’d like to see.) I don’t have a name for these yet, but will keep you posted.



Bernard Miles: English Express 

Bernard Miles English Express

After English Express and My Busy Day, teachers have been wondering what Bernard will create next. However, he’s had another demand on his time – AMEPOnline (with LWA). As he said,

I love making English Express resources, but I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to work on AMEPOnline. I’ve learned a lot about eLearning, even though I’m not hands-on in that department. AMEPOnline is a team effort. I mostly worked on Initial and Course levels, plus some of level 1 (health and safety) and some of citizenship. There’s another batch of AMEPOnline modules coming at the end of the year. After that, I don’t know what I’ll be doing. If I ever have time, I’ll be working on some new English Express projects.


Assunta Crupi-Pogliano: The Initial EAL Workbook

Assunta Crupi-Pogliano The Initial EAL Workbook

If you’re connected with Assunta on social media, you’ll know that she recently completed the update of The Initial EAL Workbook, in line with the 2024 update of the Course in Initial EAL – a huge undertaking! Her reflections?

Reality has hit in and Assunta has realised what we already knew, that the teacher turned author life is a hard gig. 🤣 Otherwise definitely loving teaching Course in EAL and having access to more resources than I was used to when I taught Initial. And yes, promoting the workbook in my ‘free’ time. I’ve also started working with Lauren Piovesan (ESLReads) as editor of her prelevel series.


Lauren Piovesan: ESLReads

Lauren Piovesan: ESL Reads

Every time I look at Lauren’s website, there’s something new happening. She has 12 titles now, all at 5 levels: all are digital flip-books with text and audio for any digital device (plus printable worksheets and teacher notes), with settlement-focussed topics like Amir Looks for a Job, Jok is Stressed and Moo Soe’s Pathway. What’s new? Well, she’s certainly busy, running online workshops and creating supplementary resources. Here’s the list:

I am about to release a one pager that lists the key language features (vocabulary and grammar) for each story at each level. I now have a document called ESL Reads and the EAL Framework Curriculum Guide 2024 which maps our stories to the core units of the new EAL Framework from Course in Initial to Certificate III in EAL. I am also looking to create digital vocabulary and comprehension exercises/quizzes to follow the audio e-book stories – looking to release mid-way through the year.

Website and blog:

Carl Eldridge: Real Grammar

Carl Eldridge Real Grammar

Carl is currently living and teaching in Japan. As well as writing school textbooks with a publisher, he’s working on another self-published book: current title: ”Teaching Grammar through Core Meanings, Reasoning, and Human Experience.

The idea is that we can give students simple yet accurate information to help them decode English as it is used in real life….I’ve also started making videos which I hope to post to YouTube. After diving deeper into how to teach grammar, I think that so much grammar is about how we organise our ideas. And we organise our ideas based on how we move in the world and perceive space. So, video is a great way to show how grammar is based on movement and interaction with the world.


Other authors?

Who else to include? Not quite self-published, but I should mention PRACE, who are busy with a new set of Pageturner books. Can you believe it – they are up to Series 10 of their literacy readers! This series is in full colour, with titles like Big Jim’s Wedding Dress, The Buzz Cut and A Good Cook.


Is there anyone I’ve left out? Is anyone creating and self-publishing fabulous new resources? Please get in touch and I’ll update this post!