Our Judges for the 2019 CBCA Book of the Year Awards

Older Reader Category


Anne-Marie Strother has a Bachelor of Education majoring in English from Edith Cowan University. Her English teaching career spans over 30 years and has stretched across the expanses of WA. In addition to English teaching Anne-Marie spent 4 years as a teacher-librarian in a K-12 school learning the depth and breadth of children’s literature. Anne-Marie has judged in previous years for the CBCA including all categories 2014-2016, YR 2017 and OR 2018. She revels in the judging process and the delightful prospect of discovering wonderful pieces of literature.


Pauline McLeod is the Children's and Young Adult Specialist at Riverbend Books, an independent bookstore in QLD. A Teacher-Librarian and former English and History teacher Pauline worked for over a decade as a coordinator of UQL Cyber school. Her qualifications include a Master of Arts in Children's Literature (Librarianship) and a Graduate Diploma of Education (Secondary). Pauline has presented to parents, students, state and national conferences, and offers professional development sessions for colleagues. In 2015 she was awarded the ABA Elizabeth Riley Fellowship for Children's Bookselling.


Emma Phillips, a bookworm from a young age, delights in being able to share her love of books. Emma gained her BA and Grad Dip Ed, majoring in English and Modern History, teaching these areas fulltime in WA. Moving to Adelaide gave her the opportunity to pursue her love of writing and achieve an MA (Creative Writing), and a Graduate Diploma in Library and Information Management. Now working as a Teacher Librarian, Emma enjoys connecting teenagers with a diversity of books.

Younger Reader Category


Tricia Scott has a Graduate Certificate in Education and Graduate Diploma in Library and Information Studies (Hons.). Tricia currently works as the Teacher Librarian at MacKillop Catholic College in Tasmania. With over twenty years’ involvement in school libraries she has gained extensive experience in sharing and promoting children’s literature to children from 3 years of age through to college aged students. In 2015/2016 Tricia represented Tasmania as a CBCA Book of the Year Judge.


Margaret McKay-Lowndes has a Bachelor of Arts specialising in literature and history and a Graduate Diploma in Education. She taught English for many years in both secondary schools and TAFE colleges, before completing a Master of Education in Teacher Librarianship. Margaret has held Teacher Librarian positions in both secondary and primary schools and is active in the CBCA Queensland Branch, compiling the newsletter. She reads constantly, drawing from a wide range of authors and genres including children’s literature and enjoys connecting children with their reading passions.



Felicia Harris is currently a Teacher Librarian at the School of Isolated and Distance Education in Western Australia. She has taught for 23 years in various schools throughout Western Australia and the ACT. Felicia has developed Moodle forums and Saba lessons, enabling students from around the world, to write reviews and discuss their favourite books and authors. She also coordinated the Author Online series, enabling students from around the world to interact with Australian authors and illustrators. In 2015-16 Felicia was a judge for the CBCA Eve Pownall Award for Information Books. 

Early Childhood Category


Amanda Cooper is a primary teacher with 35 years’ experience, specialising in Art, Library and Music. She has a Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Children’s Literature. Amanda has extensive experience working at Books Illustrated Gallery assisting with exhibitions, book sales and story-time. She is committed to providing quality literature activities to students from lower socio economic areas. Amanda is also founder of ‘Gallery for a Day’ which is a travelling exhibition of original illustrations from many well-known Australian picture books. Artworks from her collection are exhibited together with the books forming the basis of an engaging interactive workshop incursion for primary aged students. Amanda loves introducing children to picture books, their illustrations and the creative process involved in their making.


Claire Elliott has a Bachelor of Arts (Dip Ed), a  Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship), a Master of Education (International Education) and is currently studying for a Postgraduate Certificate in Educational Leadership. She is also an Australian School Library Association board member. As an educator and Teacher Librarian she is passionate about literature and reading. Claire has worked extensively overseas. She is an avid reader and values the contribution children's literature can make in supporting the curriculum and promoting positive reading habits in students.


Kristy Genetti is a preschool teacher in Alice Springs. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from the University of Wyoming in America. Kristy taught for seven years at a Catholic school in America before moving to Australia. Kristy worked at the Alice Springs Public Library for three years, gave birth to her son Eli in 2014, and became an Australian citizen in 2015. She now teaches Preschool.

Picture Book of the Year Category


Jo Panckridge is the current Teacher-Librarian and Literacy Coach at the Junior School of The Geelong College, an independent P-12 school in Victoria. She has over 30 years’ experience in education, research, coaching and consulting in literacy and children’s literature. Jo has a Bachelor of Education and a Masters in Children’s Literature and Multiliteracies. Jo is a passionate ambassador for the value of picture books in developing a life-long love of reading, connecting children’s lives to those of others and of supporting critical and creative thinking.


Kirrin Sampson holds a degree in Economic History and Master of Teaching. She works for the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA). Kirrin advises on national reading and literacy projects for ALIA, libraries and allied organisations, and is developing a national coalition to lobby government on the importance of early literacy development. Kirrin serves on the Management Sub-Committee of the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature and has judged the children’s section of the ACT Writer’s Centre Publishing Awards and the Australian Book Industry Awards.


Denise Cramsie has a Master of Education and is married with two children and six grandchildren. She was a classroom teacher in Sydney and London before becoming a teacher-librarian for 27 years. Denise has been a member of the CBCA NSW Branch Inc. since the mid-80s and was a co-founder of its Southern Suburbs Sub-branch. From 2011-2013 Denise was President of the CBCA NSW Branch Inc. and from, 2012-2014, was a judge for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. In 2017 Denise was on the judging panel for the Aspiring Writers’ Mentorship Program run by the NSW Branch. For the last 17 years Denise has been a volunteer with Vision Australia as an Audio-Describer of plays for the vision-impaired.

Eve Pownall Award


Julie Long is currently a relief teacher in ACT and has a Bachelor of Education, majoring in children’s literature. She has taught in various schools in Victoria, England and Canberra over a period of 45 years. Julie has been an active member of the CBCA ACT Branch since 1982 and held numerous roles. She was a reviewer for ‘Reading Time’ for over thirty years and spent three years as Assistant Editor. Julie was a CBCA Awards Co-ordinator 2012-14. During 2017-18 she was an Early Childhood judge and is looking forward to the challenges of judging the Eve Pownall entries.


Kristin Twomey is a Librarian with 18 years of experience in public libraries. She has a Bachelor of Arts (Library & Information Science) and a Bachelor of Arts (English & History). Kristin was awarded the Jean Arnot Fellowship by State Library NSW (2017) and a winner of the Kath Knowles Young Leader Fellowship, awarded by Public Libraries Association NSW. As a progressive and proactive Library Services Manager and mother of two young boys, Kristin is a keen advocate of children’s literature and literacy.


Brook Tayla has a Diploma of Teaching (Primary) and a Graduate Diploma in Children’s Literature. Brook currently works part-time as a librarian and runs her own children’s literature review blog called ‘Tell Tales To Me.’ As a member of many writers’ groups, prominent literary related associations, and reviewer for online children’s magazines, blogs and publishers, Brook has a multitude of experience and expertise in her chosen field. She believes that books should evoke intrigue and joy, as well as develop an inquiring mind, and is therefore honoured to be a judge.


CBCA Award for New Illustrator


Marc Martin is an award-winning illustrator and author based in Melbourne, Australia, who has a wealth of experience as an illustrator. He has a BA in Communication (Graphic Design). Marc works with watercolour, gouache, pencil, and computer, his work is a world of dense colour, rich textures and the odd scribble. He draws inspiration from his surroundings, nature, animals, and the city he lives in.


Ngaire Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts, a Graduate Diploma Information Management and a Graduate Diploma Education. She is currently a Teacher Librarian with 15 years experience working in school libraries, teaching English, English as a Second Language and Humanities. Prior to entering Teacher Librarianship, she worked in corporate libraries. Currently, she is the Coordinator of Library Services at Kolbe Catholic College Greenval Lakes, in Melbourne’s North West. Ngaire has an interest in Children’s Literature particularly picture books. As an avid reader, she advocates for the use of picture books in the secondary curriculum. Ngaire has been on the Committee of the Victorian Branch of the CBCA for five years and has been Vice President of the Branch for two years. She has also been a Clayton’s Judge for the CBCA Victorian Branch and Ballarat CBCA Branch.


Kathy Kozlowski holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Diploma of Librarianship. She is a specialist children’s bookseller at Readings Kids in Melbourne. Kathy has worked with childrens and young adult books for over forty years, originally as a librarian but mainly in the book trade. She worked both in children’s publishing and book shops including seventeen years with the late Albert Ullin at The Little Bookroom. Other judging roles include with the Human Rights Commission Awards and Victorian Premier's Literary Awards.