story, science, technology and creativity

Suzy Urbaniak: Volcano hunter and STEAM warrior


Many people tend to follow the crowd, but never ask ‘Why?’ Suzy Urbaniak taught me so many things. This new way of thinking changed how I view the world.”—Year 6 CoRE Student, 2022

The true story of geologist Suzy Urbaniak’s childhood, early life and career. Written by Cristy Burne
Published by Wild Dingo Press, 1 February 2023

ISBN: 9781925893786 (paperback)

About the book

Geologist Suzy Urbaniak is a limbo dancer, a crepe-baker, a risk-taker and a question asker. Winner of the 2016 Prime Minister’s Prize for her out-of-the-box teaching, Suzy is all about passion, innovation, and doing things your own way.

Because life is what’s out there, in #therealclassroom

Narrative non-fiction that celebrates innovation in education and living in a way that is true to yourself.

Sneak a peek at the first pages

Teaching notes and activity ideas for Suzy Urbaniak: Volcano hunter and STEAM warrior

Smoking hot VOLCANO activities: lava cakes, bicarb eruptions, volcano maths and explosive STEAM ideas

How I worked with Suzy to tell her story


Suzy is passionate about responding to individual students’ interests and needs as part of integrated 21st century learning. She’s also a passionate environmentalist with a big love for our planet. When she’s not hunting volcanoes, she’s trying new ways to apply STEAM education in and out of schools, running field trips (not excursions ;-)) and encouraging experimentation, learning through doing, and failure as an essential part of the learning journey.

Part of the Aussie STEM Stars series. This is engaging and inspiring narrative non-fiction series for kids (and their adults – I think everyone should read these books!). 

The themes of this book include:

• Love and appreciation of our Earth, its natural beauty, resources, and all it has to offer to sustain our lives
• An understanding of how the Earth works, the importance of geoscience literacy: ‘If you want to fix the Earth, you have to understand how it works.’
• Finding your passion and living it – following your dream and having the courage to be you
• A love of science and an understanding of how important science is in everyday life and the world around you
• Every rock tells a story – the past is the key to the future and the future is the key to the past

Suzy Urbaniak CoRE

Buy a signed and personalised copy

Order a copy from Crow Books  or Paper Bird and ask their friendly staff about arranging for me to personally sign and dedicate your copy to that special person.

Buy local

Buy online
Wild Dingo Press

Booktopia (Australia/NZ)


Happy book birthday to this absolute star of a book!! It’s freeing, it’s inspiring, it’s full of fizzing energy.

I’ve experienced Suzy Urbaniak’s amazing influence first hand – she was my mentor in my final teaching prac placement, and she filled me with hope about how powerful real education can be. Her students had superpowers, the biggest of which was belief in themselves. This book is all that, and more. I loved it.

Give it to a kid with a dream. Give it to a kid refusing school. A kid who licks rocks. A kid who’s scared of failing. A parent agonising over which high school to send their kid to (oh, that’s me!). And read it yourself, because our children are so much more than ‘perfect circles’.

Author HM Waugh

  • – – –

“I spent last Saturday arvo reading this book. What a BUZZ! What a tryer Suzy is! Talk about Uplifting! I dare any adult to read this one and the kid in them who asked questions of change in the school system.

Kids – NEVER stop questioning, never stop dreaming – LIVE!

What a passionate person who failed again and again and grew up from those failures. An amazing woman and I take my hat off to the Author…for bringing Suzy’s life up so vividly 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻”

Kids Books We Love

17-2 illio rev

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