About Us

Welcome to the Victorian Branch of CBCA. Supporting the charter of the CBCA Ltd, this branch website is a Victorian-centric resource for children’s book information. You can find all the latest news about CBCA VIC Branch, event information, interesting articles, book reviews, important milestones.

If your school or library has any programs coming up, or you’ve had a recent success, perhaps you would like to contribute a post. Just get in touch!

Mission: Engaging the Community with Literature for Young Australians

2021/2022 CBCA VIC Branch Committee

  • Executive
    • Karys McEwen – President
    • Jo Panckridge - Vice President
    • Ruth Woolven  – Secretary
    • Geraldine Woolnough– Treasurer
  • General Committee
    • Robyn Burke  
    • Marissa Caluzzi
    • Angela Crocombe, representing Readings Kids
    • Diana Kelly, representing Lauriston Girls’ School
    • Anne- Louise O'Donoghue, representing The Geelong College
    • Christine Oughtred
    • Leanne Rands
    • May Vos-Rutter, representing Boroondara Park PS
    • Erin Wamala, representing The Kid's Bookshop
    • Annette Wright

Karys McEwen

is the current President of CBCA VIC Branch, and has been on the management committee since 2016. She is also a CBCA Book of the Year Judge for 2020-2021 in the Older Readers category. Karys is the Library Manager at both Prahran High School and Richmond High School, and she is passionate about the role libraries and literature play in the wellbeing of young people. She writes for Books + Publishing and has been published in several library journals including FYI, Synergy, Connections, Incite and The School Librarian. Her debut middle grade novel will be published by Text Publishing in 2022.

Jo Panckridge

is a current Teacher-Librarian in an independent 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 Degree 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. For her, picture books provide the perfect vehicle for exploring ideas and wondering about the world. She values their ability to provide boundless opportunities for meaningful interactions and dialogic conversations with children.

Ruth Woolven

has Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and a Master of Information Management (Librarianship). She works as the Librarian at Kew Primary School in Melbourne and is the current Secretary of the Victorian Branch of CBCA, as well as the co-ordinator of the Authors/Creators in Schools program. 

Ruth has just completed a two year term as Younger Reader Judge for the CBCA Book of the Year Awards, which was an enriching experience for her. She is also the Primary School Representative on the School Library Association of Victoria (SLAV). 


Geraldine Woolnough

is the current Treasurer of CBCA VIC Branch and has been involved with the organisation for over 20 years. With more than 40 years experience as an Early Childhood professional, Geraldine is passionate about introducing children and families to the work of Australian authors and illustrators.

In 2018, Geraldine was awarded the Leila St John Award and is acknowledged as a Life Member of the CBCA VIC Branch for her services to children’s literature.

Robyn Burke

is a current committee member of the CBCA VIC Branch and has served as a committee member for a number of years. She has over 20 years experience as a primary Teacher-Librarian.

Since retiring, Robyn continues to be enthusiastic about promoting Australian children’s literature and seizes any opportunity to talk about the importance of reading and books with young children and their families.

Marissa Caluzzi

has demonstrated a passion for literature throughout her 30 year teaching career, and loves sharing the joy of reading with her students. Throughout her undergraduate and postgraduate studies, children’s literature has always been a major focus.

Marissa is the Junior School Teacher Librarian at Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School. A key focus of her role is fostering a love of books and reading for pleasure in the students, staff, and the wider community.

She is also an enthusiastic member of the CBCA VIC Branch management committee and becoming a CBCA Book of the Year Judge (Early Childhood) for 2020-2021 has been a highlight of her career.

2021 see her assisting the National Board of CBCA, having taken on the role of CBCA Book of the Year Awards Convenor.

Angela Crocombe

has a Graduate Diploma in Publishing and Editing, as well as completing the RMIT course in Professional Writing. She has worked at Readings bookshops in Melbourne since 2011 and has been the manager of Readings Kids in Carlton since it opened in October 2016. She is a long-term book industry professional who has worked as a sales representative, publicist and in foreign rights at a number of Australian publishing companies, including Penguin and Black Inc.

Angela is also the author of two non-fiction books on sustainable living and thirteen educational books for primary school students. Her books Climate Change and Water Supply were shortlisted for The Wilderness Society’s Environmental Awards for Children’s Literature in 2009. She is passionate about inspiring children to develop a love of reading.

Diana Kelly

has a Master of Education (Teacher-Librarianship) and is an experienced English and Humanities teacher. She is currently working as Head of Library Services at Lauriston Girls’ School in Melbourne. Diana is also a committee member of the School Library Association of Victoria, where she is a fierce advocate for school libraries across the state.

Diana is particularly passionate about teaching critical thinking in her students, and the power of literature to help young people to better understand themselves and develop empathy for those around them.

Anne-Louise O'Donoghue

Christine Oughtred

has been involved with the Victorian Branch since 1990, in a regional or state branch capacity. She has been a judge and joint coordinator of the CBCA Book of the Year Awards and is the immediate past President of the CBCA VIC Branch.

Having worked in schools, youth libraries and the tertiary education sector, Christine is now undertaking a PhD at Deakin University on literary quality of interactive digital picture books.

Leanne Rands

Leanne has been a Teacher Librarian and a classroom Teacher for 40 years, working across all the education sectors, including primary, secondary, and senior secondary college.  She completed a major research thesis as part of a Master of Education at the University of Melbourne, which focused on the Factors influencing book choices of children in the upper primary school and the implications of these choices for teachers’ literacy programs.  This research explored the reading behaviours, attitudes, and cognizance of boys, with strategies for re-engagement.

From 2016-2020 Leanne was the President of CBCA TAS Branch.  During this time, she implemented a state-wide Workshops in Schools program as part of major grant initiative which prompted authors and illustrators, organized by regional coordinators. Facilitation of this and other programs resulted in building networks with creative groups including SCBWI and TasWriters.  She was also involved in re-establishing Readers Cup competitions in the south and the northwest.  Under her leadership, CBCA TAS Branch hosted 2017 CBCA Book of the Year Awards and the announcement was held at Government House, Hobart.

As a regular contributed to CBCA TAS Branch blog, Leanne enjoys sharing her passion to promote children’s books and local creatives through social media.  In 2019 she was one of the Nan Chauncy Award judges and in 2021 has taken on the role to coordinate this national CBCA Award.

May Vos-Rutter

Representing Boroondara Park Primary School, joined the committee at the 2020 AGM.

Erin Wamala

has worked with children’s books, in many capacities, for over 15 years. After obtaining a Bachelor of Education, Erin went on to complete a Graduate Diploma in Publishing and Editing and subsequently spent almost ten years as the National Education Consultant, and Education Marketing Manager, at Penguin Books Australia. Since then, Erin has worked in bookselling and has completed a Masters of Education (Teacher Librarian) and now works as a Teacher Librarian at Trinity Grammar School in Melbourne.

Erin is also the owner of The Kids’ Bookshop and has recently completed her term as an Older Readers Judge for the CBCA Awards.

Annette Wright

has been a general member of CBCA VIC Branch committee since the beginning of 2019.  She has worked as a school librarian for the last 10 years in many sectors, government and independent, primary and secondary, select entry and local schools. Currently, Annette is the Library Manager at Brentwood Park Primary School in Melbourne's south east corridor which is growing exponentially. Annette is also involved in a number of special projects run by the Education Department in the area of literacy, and lives in awe of how imaginative authors and illustrators are.  She is also an advocate for all library professionals who work with passion and devotion to their craft and their readers.