M. J. Gibbs has an innate curiosity about people and places when finding ideas for the stories and poems she writes. From ‘Booknook Blue’ in Maryborough and Kenmore, Brisbane to the Bookloft in Mapleton, Marg has reached out to children in local communities to bring a love of reading and story telling. The book clubs enabled her own four children and their friends a golden opportunity to connect, be creative and enjoy a bookish program involving craft, games and outings.
Marg has published poetry in magazines and anthologies, ‘The Magic Fairy Wish’ and ‘Musical Christmas Tree’, ‘Alone in a Dark Room’, ‘Phantom Moon’, ‘The Hope Tree’ and ‘Art Room’ in the NSW School magazine. Her stories about the Brisbane flood have been enjoyed by many.
Her recent picture book called ‘Arriving Home’, about Maggie the Magpie Goose and Eric Echidna was well received in the community especially with the help of 9 local artists who illustrated it. Its message is clear – friendship, belonging and community.
‘Jasper’s Jumbled up Words’ is a sensitive and gentle picture book about a young boy who wants to be understood, which deals with the difficulties surrounding language development. Illustrated by Emma Stuart, this book was published in July 2020.
Toni Brisland (nee Antonette Diorio) writes poetry and fiction for adults and children. Toni has always had a passion for literature and has won a number of competitions for unpublished children’s writers. She is inspired by the people in her life, animals, her extensive travels and the Australian way of doing things. Her poems have been published in Anthologies by Poetica Christi Press since 2013 and in The Heroines Anthology by Neo-Perennial Press, 2018 and 2019. In July 2019 one of her poems won an Award in the Adelaide Plains Festival of Words Poetry Competition. In July 2020 one of her poems won the Poetica Christi Press Annual Competition and will be published in their anthology “Joy in the Morning” in September 2020.
Toni is a Role Model for “Books in Homes” and was a long-standing judge of the Warringah Library Services Young Writers’ Competition. Toni’s published children’s books include the novel DemiChat series (included on the NSW and South Australian Premier’s Reading Challenge Lists for Years 5 – 6 and selected readers in Years 7 – 9, 2012 – 2013). Her Picture Books were published by Little Steps Publishing: What Now Baby Bears? (2013), about animals and humans living in harmony; and, The Tree House (2014) about a little disabled girl and her older sister who together dream big dreams.
Her non-fiction book, Patrick White; Australia’s only Nobel Laureate for Literature, was published by Little Steps Publishing and released on the 1st of August, 2020.