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

2024-2025 CBCA VIC Branch Committee

  • The following Members will form the Management Committee for 2024-2025:-

    • President - Jo Panckridge
    • Secretary - vacant
    • Treasurer - Geraldine Woolnough (also Public Officer)

    General Committee

    • Anne-Louise O'Donoghue, representing The Geelong College
    • Karys McEwen
    • Leanne Rands
    • Annette Wright
    • Erin Wamala, representing The Kid's Bookshop
    • Jo Pentony
    • Julia Petricevic
    • Ngaire Brown
    • Robyn Burke
    • Ruth Thatcher
    • Marissa Kyriakopoulos
    • Michael Earp
    • Kate O'Donnell

Jo Panckridge

Jo is the current President and is a 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.

Geraldine Woolnough

Geraldine 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.

Anne-Louise O'Donoghue

Anne-Louise has had a lifelong passion for, and connection with children’s literature and as part of her Master’s Degree in Education she explored how young children’s metacognitive thinking could be evaluated and extended through carefully planned and scaffolded explorations of children’s picture books. She has worked in a variety of educational settings including Pre-schools, Early Intervention Services and Tertiary Education. In her current role at The Geelong College, she is a classroom teacher at the Junior School and is an advocate for the development of Reggio Emilia inspired teaching and learning inspired pedagogy.

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.

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.

Julia Petricevic

Julia Petricevic is the Head of Library and Information Services at Genazzano FCJ College in Kew, Victoria. She has been working as a teacher librarian for nearly a decade, focusing on fostering in students a love for reading through discussion and social connection. She has written book reviews for Magpies and Viewpoint and has recently re-joined the committee for the Victorian branch of the CBCA, having previously served on the committee in 2015 - 2016. Julia is the author of a children’s picture book, Shadowcat, featuring stunning illustrations by Anne Ryan. 

Julia has helped students through the Shadow Judging process for several years and is excited to begin her journey as a Judge for the Older Readers category in 2024.  

Karys McEwen

is the current Victorian Director of CBCA Ltd. and has served on the Victorian management committee since 2016, including three years as President. She was also a CBCA Book of the Year Judge for 2020-2021 in the Older Readers category. Karys is the Library Manager at Prahran High School and 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 All The Tricky Little Things was published by Text Publishing in May 2022.

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.

Ngaire Brown

Ngaire is returning to the Victorian Branch Committee after a break of a few years. She has worked in school libraries for twenty years, predominantly in the Catholic Sector and is currently the Head of Library at a Catholic Girls School in Melbourne. In her current role she is helping girls access quality reading material and sharing her love of reading and literature with the staff and students. Ngaire’s passion for reading and children’s literature started at a young age, when she would read what she get could her hands on including her parents' mail.

Robyn Burke

Robyn 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.

Ruth Thatcher

Ruth Thatcher has worked as a Junior School Teacher Librarian for the past six years, and as a Visual Arts and primary classroom teacher for over ten years, with three years supporting a Koorie literacy and numeracy intervention program. With a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Culture, Graduate Diploma in Education (Secondary, Visual Arts), Bachelor of Teaching (Primary),

Master of Education (Special Educational Needs), and more recently a Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship), Ruth has a passion for children’s literature and inclusion. She loves sharing visual and information literacy with her students through picture story books, as well as exploring and engaging in the importance of story in our shared history and culture.