Reinventing the Look: Our First Illustrator Competition!

Just Write For Kids is very excited to announce the very first illustrator competition; Reinventing the Look!

We know just how lucky and blessed we are to be in the presence of so many amazingly talented Australian children’s book illustrators. And with Just Write For Kids now in its fifth year, it’s time to call on our wonderful artists to help reinvent our look!

Would you like your beautiful art to be the new face of our ever-growing website and social media channels?

Great prizes for the winner, and every entry showcased in our ‘Just Picture This’ Gallery… why not enter?!

Here are the specs…


2018 Just Write For Kids Illustrator Competition

Welcome to our very first competition! And we’re kicking off with an opportunity for ILLUSTRATORS to showcase their talents and gain large exposure of their work.



Australian Animals and Literature

The Brief: Reinterpret and reinvent the Just Write For Kids’ current banner with your own style.



March 1st 2018


April 30th 2018

(9PM Melbourne/Sydney time)



All illustrators within Australia, published or unpublished in the children’s book industry.

Each entry will be original artwork and represent the given theme.



The winning image will be the face of the Just Write For Kids Australia website and social media, with free lifetime access to our suite of promotional services + $30 book voucher.



Entry is free.

Multiple entries will be accepted.

All entries are to be submitted electronically at high resolution. Scanned and photographed illustrations should be submitted at the highest quality possible.

All entries will receive acknowledgement upon receipt via email within 24 hours.

Please email the following to jwfkcompetition (AT) gmail (DOT) com:

In the Subject Line:

JWFK Illustrator Competition Entry

In the Body of the Email:

Your full name

Your website / portfolio

Medium used


Your completed illustration saved as your name as JPEG or PDF

(N.B. Please INITIAL/SIGN your work, and include our title ‘Just Write For Kids’)

Orientation: Landscape

Dimensions: Equivalent to approximately 851 x 314 pixels / 22.5cm x 8.3cm / 14in x 5in



We cannot provide feedback for entries. However, all illustrations will appear on the Just Write For Kids website in a special gallery after the completion of the competition.



Entries will be judged by members of the Just Write For Kids team (director Romi Sharp, authors Debra Tidball and Renee Price) and picture book illustrator experts, Kathy Creamer (founder of Little Pink Dog Books) and Anil Tortop (founder of Tadaa Book). Judges decisions are final and no further correspondence will be entered into.



Please contact us at jwfkcompetition (AT) gmail (DOT) com with any questions.



Winning entry will become the header artwork for Just Write For Kids and will be included in other promotional advertisement for the website. Winner retains copyright of the image but entitles the JWFK admin indefinite use of the image.


Romi Sharp is a freelance and childrens’ book writer and avid reader, especially in the picture book arena. Being qualified as an Early Childhood and Primary Teacher, and having additional roles in Reading Intervention, ESL, Art, and graphic design, means she is particularly fond of language, playing with words, artistic endeavours, and how all these marry together. Her articles have appeared in several literary publications, including Boomerang Books, Junior Books + Publishing, CBCA’s Reading Time, Creative Kids Tales and her own website My Little Story Corner. She is the founder and director of the Australian support group for authors and illustrators, Just Write For Kids and new initiative, Books On Tour. Romi lives in Melbourne with her husband and two (now both school-aged) daughters, who are definitely book lovers, and desperately dog lovers. Romi’s website:

Debra Tidball is a Social Worker who morphed into an author. Her first picture book, When I See Grandma was shortlisted for the Speech Pathology Book of the Year, and her second, The Scared Book is heaps of interactive fun with sneaky opportunities for kids to learn about conquering their fears. She also has flash fiction and short stories published in anthologies and The School Magazine. Debra is a regular blogger for Just Write For Kids. Visit Debra’s Website at:


Renee Price is a children’s author, song-writer and performer from Newcastle, New South Wales. She has 15 years collective experience in early childhood education, writing and entertainment. In 2012, Renee 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. She is the author of Digby’s Moon Mission (2014) and Digby and the Yodelayhee Who? (2017) – illustrated by Anil Tortop, and published through Create It Kids. Digby and the Yodelayhee Who? is listed on the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge Booklist (K-2). Reviews of Renee’s books feature here – Renee performs dramatisations of her picture books to young audiences within early childhood services, primary schools, and at public events. Renee is a current member of Australian Society of Authors, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and Children’s Book Council of Australia (NSW). She is the Publicity and Events Officer for CBCA Newcastle Sub-branch. Renee’s website:

Kathy is a children’s illustrator and writer who has been published by Oxford University Press, Reed International, Christmas Press and Second Look. Kathy has been illustrating children’s books for a number of years. She has a Master of Arts degree in Children’s Book Illustration from the Cambridge School of Art at Anglia Ruskin University in England, where she attended lectures from many prominent illustrators such as Quentin Blake, James Mayhew, John Lawrence and Martin Salisbury. Kathy especially enjoys illustrating books aimed at the 4 to 10 year-old age group. She works in watercolour, colour pencil, ink and wash. She has a varied style, and enjoys creating humour and movement in her images. She has a list of favourite illustrators, but if asked to choose, then Shirley Hughes would be at the top, along with Graeme Base, Jackie Morris, Julie Vivas, Chris Riddell, Anne Spudvilas, Raymond Briggs, and Maurice Sendak. Please visit Kathy’s website at Her work can also be seen at

Anil was born and raised in Turkey. She then moved to Australia in early 2011 and has been trying to get used to the local eight-legged house intruders and slithering visitors to her garden ever since. She also works as an animator and character/concept designer, but has been called away from this affair as her relationship with children’s books becomes more serious. Nowadays, she lives in Brisbane with her husband, Ozan. In their small home studio together, they’re playing “Children’s Booksmithing” at Tadaa. Some of Anil’s many book titles include Digby’s Moon Mission (Renee Price), My Perfect Pup (Sue Walker), The Great Zoo Hullabaloo (Mark Carthew), The Leaky Story (Devon Sillett) and most recently, Who’s Making That Noise? (Heather Neilly). Visit her website at

Review: Meeka by Suzanne Barton and Anil Tortop

Meeka, Suzanne Barton (author), Anil Tortop (illus.), Bluebell Books, October 2017.

Cooking, singing and a sense of community are a few of the big ‘ingredients’ mixed into this lively story. Debut author, Suzanne Barton’s words lyrically glide through the pages, adding a peppering of whimsical phrases, a sprinkle of rhyme and a dash of alliteration that young children will love to repeat. And the quickened tempo towards the end builds the playful drama, which Anil Tortop’s ebulliently rich illustrations perfectly keep up with in all the right spots.

Preschoolers will immediately fall in love with the cheeky, greedy little market bird in Meeka. Not only does this tale offer an endearing character to have a little chuckle at, but it also provides a great sense of culture, friendship, paternal bond and a global humanity. Readers will find opportunity to relate their own cooking and market trip experiences, as well as discussing the importance of coming together in times of need.

As the little girl and her Dad prepare a plentiful dish of spicey, dicey stew for their market customers, the gluttonous bird Meeka is off sampling a taste of every other type of cuisine he can get his beak on. From crusty French bread to buttery corn on the cob, fluffy, puffy fairy floss and sticky, licky toffee. But in an almost disastrous turn of events, Meeka is accidentally sold to an elderly lady, asleep in a Moroccan tagine. And this is where the chase to rescue the little bird begins, before he becomes bird stew!

Meeka is a zesty, delicious blend of fun, energy, surprise and warmth. From the love between father and daughter, to the love of a little bird, this story beautifully demonstrates how acceptance, appreciation and compassion can forge strong relationships within a diverse society. Children from age three will devour every page turn, demanding repeat reads until they are completely satisfied.

Read our interview here with author Suzanne Barton!

Review by Romi Sharp.

#InterviewByBook with Renee Price

Title: Digby and the Yodelayhee Who?
Author: Renee Price
Illustrator: Anil Tortop
Publisher: Create It Kids
Genre: Picture book
Age Group: 2-7 years

Please tell us a bit of what your book is about.

Digby Fixit and his friends follow their second adventure, in an attempt to solve the mystery of a noisy noise. Could it be the sound of an ant trail? An instrument? An elephant? And why is it so noisy?

What kinds of themes / issues are raised in this story?

Digby and the Yodelayhee Who? celebrates imagination, friendship, curiosity, and the joy of music and performance. There’s a few splashes of measurement (time), onomatopoeia and rhyme, thrown in for fun, too.

Who or what inspired you to write this story?

Music and writing are my passions in life, and it has always been a dream of mine to combine my life-long-loves. I value the working relationship between the written word and music. Together, they offer so many beautifully expressive opportunities!

What is your favourite part of the book?

I love Anil’s gorgeous illustrations, and seeing Digby and his friends jamming along to music together. I also love the clever barcode, created by Ozan Tortop of Tadaa Book. I think my #1 favourite part is having Digby’s Jam feature in the book so readers can extend the joy of the story through song and performance, and by making their own noisy noise… just like Digby and his pals!

How would you describe the publishing process? Were they supportive? How long did it take?

I published this and my first book, Digby’s Moon Mission independently through my brand, Create It Kids. I was a pain to work with at times, and I was on my back a lot to meet deadlines and get things moving, but other than that, I think I was pretty good to work with, and quite supportive of the sometimes gruelling publishing process. This book was two years in the making. Mainly due to budget constraints of being an indie!

What was the collaboration like between author and illustrator? Juicy gossip, please!

I would like to adopt Anil and keep her as my own! Hehe… She’s probably sick of me saying this over and over, but I am so fortunate to have found her in 2014, and have her work her magic, bringing Digby Fixit to life. She and Ozan are 1000000% genuine, professional and so talented. It has been a huge privilege working with Anil again for Digby’s second book… and the relationship ain’t over yet! * hint hint *

What has the feedback / audience response been like so far?

I’ve experienced all the warm, fuzzy, uplifting feelings from the wonderful and supportive feedback the book has received so far. It has already had two outstanding reviews published on Boomerang Books and Kids’ Book Review, and I’ve had many readers send beautiful messages, photos and videos of kids enjoying the book and song. It has become a daily request in some households and classrooms. Thanks, kids!

Do you have a book trailer for your book? Please share.

Sure do! Here, it is –

Any details on your book launch you’d like to tell us about?

My book launch was held on March 4 at Wallsend District Library. Here’s the post-launch-wrap-up, as written by Digby.

It was a fabulous event!

Please let us know where we can find more on you and your book.

My website is and Digby has his own website, just for kids, at We’re also on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you for sharing Digby and the Yodelayhee Who? with us, Renee! 🎶 🎤 🎷 🎸

Pleasure! Thanks for the opportunity and support of my work.

Renee Price is a children’s author, early childhood teacher, music educator and performer, with over 13 years collective experience in education, writing and entertainment.
In December 2014, Renee published her first picture book; Digby’s Moon Mission, through her brand, Create It Kids. Digby and the Yodelayhee Who? was released March 1 2017.
In addition to her picture book series, she is planning Digby Fixit chapter books for children aged six to eight years.
Renee presents Digby Fixit Live!, dramatising Digby’s stories, incorporating song, storytelling and puppetry. She performs for audiences aged three to eight, within libraries, early childhood services, primary schools and festivals.
She is a member of Australian Society of Authors, SCBWI, CBCA NSW and Newcastle sub-branch.

#InterviewByBook #DigbyAndTheYodelayheeWho? #DigbyFixit