Graeme Base has been writing and illustrating for children for over thirty years, with worldwide bestsellers Animalia, The Eleventh Hour and The Waterhole known and loved by millions around the world. The recipient of numerous Australian and international publishing awards, and with global sales exceeding six million copies, Base has established himself as one of Australia's pre-eminent creators of imaginative works for children.A passion for music and theatre has led him to adapt three of his titles for the stage, writing the book, music and lyrics for all three: The Sign of the Seahorse (Melbourne Concert Hall 2002, Kennedy Centre Washington 2009), My Grandma Lived in Gooligulch (Vic Arts Centre 2006) and most recently Jungle Drums (2008). He is currently adapting his 1999 sci-fi epic The Worst Band in the Universe as a concert/stage play and working with acclaimed puppeteer Peter Wilson to create a stage version of The Waterhole.Graeme collaborated with Ewan Burnett of Burberry Productions to create a 40 x half hour animated television series based on Animalia. To date the series has been sold into approximately 130 territories worldwide and in 2009 won a Daytime Emmy for best musical score.Graeme was recently awarded an honorary doctorate from Swinburne University in recognition of his achievements in children's book publishing.
Let's draw with Graeme Base | ABC Splash | Watch Video
Laurel Reynolds brings more than 20 years’ experience as a Teacher Librarian, in both State and Independent systems – inspiring many children from Pre-school to Year 6 to love reading. With three grown–up children who keep borrowing her books, and four grandchildren who demand the reading of books, reading is a constant and much-loved part of her life. Currently she is enjoying reading to pre-schools.She holds an Arts degree, majoring in English Literature, a Dip. Ed., and a Graduate Diploma in Information Studies and Teacher Librarianship, and is an active member of the Children’s Book Council of Australia, NSW.
Nathan Luff | Children’s author and playwright.
Chicken Stu was his first children’s novel. He was the recipient of a 2011 May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust Fellowship. Bad Grammar, his second book is set at a remote boarding school for rough boys. He also writes plays. For 7 years he worked for the Wakakirri National Story Festival, an arts festival for Australian schools promoting education through the telling and sharing of stories.
Will Kostakis is a writer of all things, from celebrity news stories that score "cease and desist" letters, to tweets for professional wrestlers. He is best known for his award-winning YA novels, The Sidekicks and The First Third. His first fantasy novel series Monuments begins in spring 2019.
Amanda Gitzel | Children and Youth Services Librarian | City of Parramatta Library
A Children’s and Youth Services Librarian at City of Parramatta Library, Amanda made the switch to libraries about five years ago after working in sales and marketing for Harlequin Enterprises Australia, and as the Advertising Manager for Good Reading Magazine. She loves that she can now see first-hand the way a little curiosity and a good supply of books goes hand-in-hand to develop a lifelong love of learning.
Tania Villamar | School Account Manager | Gleebooks
Tania has worked in independent bookselling for more than 20 years. First, as a specialist in foreign languages at Abbey's Language Book Centre, and, since 2016, as a bookseller specialising in school supply at Gleebooks. It is in this role that she has been able to expand and develop her interest in connecting the best in children's and YA publishing to a broader audience. She has always been a passionate reader and advocate for books and reading, and thrillworked in independent bookselling for more than 20 years. First, as a specialist in foreign languages at Abbey's Language Book Centre, and, since 2016, as a bookseller specialising in school supply at Gleebooks. It is in this role that she has been able to expand and develop her interest in connecting the best in children's and YA published that as bookseller, and parent, she is able to communicate this passion to her own children, and to the wider community.
Johnny Malibirr is an illustrator from the north-east Arnhem Land community of Gapuwiak. He won the inaugural Kestin Award in 2017. The award was judged by Bronwyn Bancroft, Leigh Hobbs, Ann James and Rachel Bin Salleh.
Photo credit | Trevor van Weeren | Gapuwiyak Culture and Arts Aboriginal Corporation
Jennifer Asha is a literacy educator with a depth of experience across primary and tertiary settings tutoring and lecturing at the Australian Catholic University and the University of Sydney in a variety of literacy teaching units. Jennifer’s teaching emphasizes the use of rich children’s literature as the basis of quality literacy teaching and learning. She has a passion for helping children read for meaning in technologically and visually rich environments.
Illustrator/author Aura Parker
Aura Parker is an exciting new voice in children’s picture books. Her work inspires courage, confidence and imagination in young readers. TWIG, about a stick insect on her first day at Bug School is a 2017 CBCA Notable for Early Childhood. ‘This adorable debut by Parker teems with delicate details, many of them visual puzzles,’ New York Times. Aura’s new book COCOON touches on solitude, independence and the wonder of life cycles, followed by a bunch of cheeky meerkats for MEERKAT SPLASH. Aura works with watercolour, gouache, pen and coloured pencil and is the illustrator of the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge poster for 2019. Aura has a background in graphic design, she also makes and exhibits prints and textiles, and worked at the BBC London. Aura has stick insects, which she takes along to her lively K-2 school visits and guided illustration sessions.
Illustrator Jules Faber
Jules Faber is the illustrator of the popular WeirDo series with author Anh Do. Together they have won Book of the Year for Older Children in 2014, numerous KOALAs and a YABBA for their ongoing series.
Jules has been a freelance illustrator since 2004 and has worked on an animated series for Disney, as a 'live' caricaturist, has had an award-winning comic strip and has worked as an editorial cartoonist for several regional newspapers.r is the illustrator of the popular WeirDo series with author Anh Do. Together they have won Book of the Year for Older Children in 2014, numerous KOALAs and a YABBA for their ongoing series.
In 2017 he was awarded the Best Children's Book Illustrator at the Australian Cartoonists Association's annual Stanley Awards. He collects vintage comics and signed first editions of books.
Rebecca McRitchie has an MA in Publishing and has been editing children's books for over 6 years. She is currently a Senior Editor at Scholastic Australia and has worked on numerous bestselling series such as Pig the Pug, The Bad Guys, WeirDo, Hotdog, The Cranky Bear and more. In her spare time she also writes and is the author of the fiction series Whimsy and Woe.
Publisher/chair Clare Hallifax
Author/Illustrator Tohby Riddle
Tohby Riddle is a multi-award-winning creator of picture books and illustrated books that have been published in many languages throughout the world. Recent titles include Unforgotten and The Greatest Gatsby: a visual book of grammar. He has also written a novel; was the cartoonist for ten years at Good Weekend (the Saturday magazine of the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne's Age); and is a former editor of the The School Magazine, a literary magazine for children published by the NSW Department of Education. Tohby is based in the Blue Mountains town of Katoomba in Australia.
Ailsa Wild was an acrobat and whip cracker who ran away from the circus to be a writer. Ailsa is the author of the Squishy Taylor series which was a CBCA Notable, and has been shortlisted for the Davitt Sisters in Crime awards and The Environmental Children’s Literature awards. Ailsa is the lead writer on the Small Friends Books Series, science adventures starring microbes, molecules and mucus, where the bacteria are the heroes, co-published by Scale Free Network and CSIRO Publishing. The Invisible War, a graphic novel (Scale Free Network, 2016) won multiple awards, including the Most Underrated Book Award, the DeBarry Children’s Science Award (USA) and Award for Excellence in Educational Publishing: Most Outstanding Resource of the Year, 2017, and will be published by Graphic Universe in the USA in 2019. Ailsa’s work has appeared in Meanjin, The Monthly and on stages across Australia.
Liz Anelli Award winning illustrator/author Liz Anelli has been making up stories since she was very small. She moved from England in 2012 to live in sunny Newcastle, NSW where it is much nicer to draw outside. Liz collects things and owns dozens of sketchbooks full of drawings, scraps of packaging, tickets, rubbings and patterns which she digitally weaves into her collage, paint and print images. Her illustrations for non-fiction, historical and fiction children’s books have been extensively recognised - ‘Desert Lake’ (whose research was enabled by an Australian Society of Authors Award), won the Scholastic Australia Standing Orders Librarians’ Choice Award 2016 and in 2017 was a Notable Book in the CBCA Book of the Year Awards in both the Eve Pownall Award and Picture Book category. It was shortlisted for Educational Publishing Awards, NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, NSW Premier’s Young People’s History Award, Speech Pathology Awards and Environment Award for Children’s Literature 2017. ‘One Photo’ was shortlisted CBCA Picture Book of the Year 2017 and ‘Ten Pound Pom’ in 2018. Other recent picture books are ‘Howzat!’, ‘Grace and Katie’ and ‘Maddie’s First Day’ with Dry to Dry (a second Nature Story Series title) and ‘The Biscuit Maker’ (also with Walker Books) scheduled for next year. Liz delights in complex scenes and is also well known for her large scale illustrated city maps and murals. But most of all she loves to draw – anytime, anywhere. An active member of SCWBI, CBCA and a Board Director of ASA, she regularly delivers talks and workshops with schools, festivals and conferences. Liz is an Ambassador for Books in Homes and reviews and judges picture books for CBCA. Liz is represented for picture books by The Transatlantic Agency, USA.