“I am a primary teacher, mum, children’s writer, reviewer, interviewer and compulsive reader of all things picture books! My reviews have appeared in several literary publications, including Junior Books + Publishing, CBCA’s Reading Time, Boomerang Books Blog, Creative Kids Tales and my own website, My Little Story Corner.
Having had teaching roles including classroom teacher, Reading Intervention, ESL (English as a Second Language) and Art Specialist, combined with having my own two children, my passion for kids’ literature, advocating reading and picture book writing seemed like a natural progression in my career path. Beginning my journey to publication began with the development of a small support group, and now Just Write For Kids aims to reach and aid a wide, kidlit-focused community.
I live in Melbourne with my husband and two daughters. My life generally involves running after them (all of them), books, and chocolate, and I also enjoy sewing toys for my kids and dabbling in painting from time to time. :)”
“I’m a children’s author, songwriter, entertainer and mother-of-two, from Newcastle, New South Wales. I began writing in 2010 after teaching in early childhood and primary school settings for eight years. In 2012, I held the role of Editorial Coordinator at Newcastle’s Child magazine, working within various aspects of the publishing industry, including reviews of children’s books and music, and composing articles for the publication. In December 2014, I released my first picture book; Digby’s Moon Mission, through my brand, Create It Kids, and have recently debuted a dramatisation of the story, incorporating theatre, song, storytelling and some puppetry, too! I perform for audiences aged three to eight, within libraries, early childhood services and primary school settings. I plan to develop a series from my first publication, with Digby’s sequel already in the works, and will continue adapting each story for dramatisation.
I am a current member of Australian Society of Authors and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.”
Jenny Graham is a Primary School teacher with 20 years’ experience. She has taught in a range of school settings from Specialist School to Remote Indigenous Community. She is currently teaching literacy skills to disengaged youth with special needs. Jenny is the founder of AbcJenny, a website devoted to giving parents the skills and strategies to help develop their child’s reading and writing skills. She enjoys writing and was contacted by DSP Learning to write for their Oz Phonics iPad app. Jenny also writes educational activities for Flying Turtle Publishers (U.S.A).
Jenny is an Educational Consultant for authors, creating educational activities linked to the Australian Curriculum based on their published books. She loves being a mum and having fun with her two boys, who give her many story writing ideas. Her biggest supporter is her husband and she enjoys how life with him is unpredictable.
Debra Tidball writes stories that speak into the lives of children. As a social worker, parent and author she understands the power of narrative to resonate with children and parents alike. After working with children, young people and families for a number of years as a social worker, Debra rediscovered a love of picture books when her children were young and she returned to university to gain a masters degree in Children’s Literature. A big kid at heart, Debra loves playing with ideas and words to inspire people to think differently about something. Her first picture book, When I See Grandma, has been widely acclaimed. Debra is an active member of the Children’s Book Council Northern Sydney sub-branch, and reviews for CBCA Reading Time and Creative Kids Tales. She is happiest when in the company of her family, an assortment of animals, or a good book – preferably all three.
Emma Mactaggart is an award winning author, illustrator and publisher and the founder of the Child Writes program. Small press Boogie Books published her titles I Can Do Anything (2003); Lily, Fabourama, Glamourama (2004); and Imagine (2015 IPPY Awards GOLD Best Children’s Illustrated eBook) among other titles, including anthologies, a cookbook, short stories and more! Boogie Books’ imperative is to produce titles that ‘help children understand their world’. Titles due for release include Four Hot Chips by Jo-Ann Capp – a novella about surviving childhood cancer; Blue – a haunting children’s book about depression and re-release of Lily Fabourama Glamourama with new illustrations by Ester De Boer; and a collaborative project, a parody of The Green Sheep called The True Ewe! Boogie Books is also the largest publisher of children’s books by children in the world, with hundreds of participants being mentored to publication.
Believing everyone has the right to see their words in print has become a slight obsession for Emma. This inspired the ‘how to’ guide for aspiring writers. Child Writes: Creating a Children’s Picture Book is Child’s Play, was published in May 2012 and won a GOLD Best Non-Fiction Adult eBook at the 2012 IPPY Awards. This title has also received recognition from IndiePENdents.org in 2014. Emma is a regular on ABC Southern Queensland Radio with Belinda Sanders, with their version of ‘ABC Bookclub’.
Melissa Gijsbers is a Melbourne-based author who writes books for children, flash fiction, scripts, and more. She has been a blogger for nearly 10 years, writing on a variety of topics from writing to small business. She also runs a regular writers group for teenagers at the local library.
Her first children’s book, Swallow Me, NOW!, was published in 2014 and she has had stories published in a number of anthologies.
She lives with her two sons and their pet blue tongue lizard and enjoys playing with her four nephews.
Sandy Fussell loves words, numbers and playing around on the internet. She is the author of fourteen books including the best-selling Samurai Kids series. Her first book White Crane won an IBBY award and her second book, Polar Boy was CBCA shortlisted. Her first picture book, Sad the Dog, will be published in October 2015 in Australia and the US. Sandy calls herself the Cinderella author, convinced someone waved a magic wand over her, and secretly worries she might turn back into a pumpkin in the middle of a school visit. She is an ICT consultant, Editor at The Reading Stack, Technology Blogger at Brisbane Kids, co-owner and Festival Co-ordinator at The Story Crowd and one subject short of a Maths degree. Her biggest claim to fame is a star in the main street of Grenfell along with legitimately famous people like Patrick White, Slim Dusty and Dick Smith.
Sandy curates Read, Write, Draw FlipBoard magazine showcasing the talent of Australian authors and illustrators. She believes in giving back and paying forward. Having survived two life-threatening illnesses in the last 4 years, she knows for certain the glass is always half –full.
Sandy Fussell: website, blog, facebook, twitter, Instagram, Pinterest
Samurai Kids: website, facebook
The Reading Stack: website
The Story Crowd: website, facebook, twitter
Read, Write, Draw: FlipBoard
Megan Higginson has always been an avid reader of books from all genres, but she especially enjoys sci-fi and fantasy. As a child and teenager, if she could have combined reading from horseback while galloping along Mackay’s beaches, or while mustering cattle in the Queensland outback she would have. (Of course, she would have not enjoyed the thrill of adventure if she’d had her head in a book).
Megan has always written stories, and she loves to encourage children to read, and write their own stories. Megan has dyslexia and shares about her journey with children to encourage them not to give up reading and writing. Through reading her own stories, sharing where she gets her ideas for her stories from, and with the motto, ‘Stories are everywhere,’ she hopes to encourage children to create their own stories, and have fun doing it.
Kellie Byrnes is a children’s author, corporate writer, book and travel reviewer, and life-long avid reader who enjoys immersing herself in stories of many different genres. When she is not working on her own writing, she can be found checking out the latest books, films, TV shows and theatre productions, or researching her next travel adventure.
Kellie is currently a full-time freelance writer. Her work has been used on sites like Huffington Post, Inc. and Forbes, and she’s written for clients in Australia, New Zealand, UK, USA and Canada. She has a BA degree in English Literature, and past experience working in the editorial department at Pan Macmillan, and as a sales representative for both Pan Macmillan and Hardie Grant Gift (previously Taltrade Books).
You can connect with Kellie on Twitter at @KellieJByrnes.
Nicole Madigan is a Brisbane based writer and widely published journalist with more than 15 years experience in the media and communications industries. Having always been an avid reader and lover of words, Nicole’s writing career began as a newspaper journalist, where she spent several years before switching mediums, taking on a role as an on-air television reporter with Channel Nine.
After the birth of her first child some years later, Nicole returned to her true love – writing. Since then, she has enjoyed a successful career as a freelance journalist and writer, enabling her to work around her growing family, while writing for a wide variety of high profile publications. Three children later, Nicole’s love of children’s literature has continued to grow, as has her belief that reading to your child is one of the most precious gifts you can give them.
Nicole is the author of Darcy and the Dinosaurs (out now) and soon-to-be-released, Ballerina Monkey (out late 2017), both published by BlOOturtle Publishing (www.blooturtle.com).