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Samantha Pillay
When I'm a Surgeon
You can't be what you can't see! Dream Big, Aim High. When I'm a SURGEON instils a belief in children that they can achieve greatness, fulfilling their dreams and potential. Once children have a vision and believe in their goals - anything is possible. This delightful book highlights the many opportunities a surgical career offers beyond the traditional perceptions of this role and breaks career gender stereotypes.

Grady HarpTop Contributor: Children's Books


5.0 out of 5 stars ‘Dream big, aim high’ – A superb new children’s book, and author!

Reviewed in the United States on August 12, 2021

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Australian author Samantha Pillay earned her medical degree from The University of Adelaide and became a Urologist who specializes in female and functional urology in South Australia. She has served as Chair of the Female Urology Special Advisory Group for the Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand. Born with congenital hip dysplasia, Dr. Pillay has overcome the odds and now, as a successful surgeon, she shares her enthusiasm with children, especially little girls, in this her second book – WHEN I AM A SURGEON. The excellent illustrations are by Harry Aveira.

The goal of motivating and inspiring youngsters to think big and aspire to dreams is made so poignantly clear in this excellent book. The primary character is a little girl who greets the reader with ‘When I’m a surgeon I’ll be called doctor.’ She continues sharing her expectations as “I’ll stitch people better, work with a robot, deal with emergencies, care for the community, teach and train others, makes good decisions, always be learning, make scientific discoveries, travel the world, be a great public speaker, manage a business, be an inspirational leader, and a wonderful mother…and write children’s books! Each idea is beautifully illustrated with the little girl’s toys and pets and friends, making the information entertaining as well as inspirational.

Not only is this an exceptional book to add to the library for children, it also is an illustrated biography of Dr. Samantha Pillay – a very important new children’s book author! Highly recommended. Grady Harp, August 21


This is such a wonderful and inspiring children's book. Medicine and surgery especially are such a male dominated professions so I thought it was wonderful to have a little girl as the main character of this book. I loved that the book started off focusing on the things most people would associate with a career in medicine but also touches on many other roles and characteristics of a medical professional such as being a leader in the community. My favourite part is the title "when I'M a surgeon", this is a determined little girl who's not dreaming of being a surgeon but rather knows she will be. "Dream big, aim high" - When I'm a Surgeon.


Written simply, with a very positive and informative message, this book walks through responsibilities and strengths of a modern surgeon; business owner, public speaker, trainer, community leader, etc.

It is also careful to point out possibilities, such as being good at all of these things plus being a good parent (mother).

The purpose is clearly empowerment, and although I don't plan to go into that field, I have some of the skills mentioned (or am working on them), and I felt uplifted and encouraged.

This book would be a great gift for anyone who values the education of girls, higher education, and continuing education. Any formal location where children have a few minutes to fill, would be ideal for this book.

Illustrator, Harry Aveira, gives the book a clean and pleasant atmosphere. But the little gray cat won me over! (It's especially adorable.)

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the preview of this forward-thinking ebook!

5/5 Stars!