2020-2021 CBCA Book of the Year Awards Judges

Older Reader Category


Jonathan is a secondary teacher who has held many interesting jobs around the world then returned to Australia to TAFE Queensland teaching in the area of English as a second language. He returned to studies and combined a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Linguistics with a Postgraduate Degree in Secondary Education. Jonathan now lives in Darwin working full time in the Humanities Department where he teaches middle school students English, History, Geography, Civics and Citizenship. Jonathan is an avid reader and feels that judging in the Older Reader category will help him connect and gain an in-depth appreciation of literature available to his students, thus enhancing his teaching program.


Karys is the Library Manager at both Prahran High School and Richmond High School. She is originally from Western Australia and has a Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) from the University of Western Australia and a Master of Information Management (Librarianship) from Curtin University. She is the current President of the CBCA Victorian Branch. Karys also makes zines and writes for Books + Publishing magazine. She is passionate about the positive impact libraries and literature can have on the wellbeing of young people.


Erin has a Bachelor of Education and a Masters of Teacher Librarianship. For almost ten years she worked as the Education Marketing Manager of Penguin Books Australia and was fortunate to be able to share books with teachers and students around the country. Following this, she managed The Kids’ Bookshop before finally making the transition to Teacher Librarian at Trinity Grammar in Melbourne. She’s very excited to take on the role of CBCA judge and is looking forward to reading many wonderful books and sharing them with her fellow judges.

Younger Reader Category


Margaret has worked for many years as an English teacher, Teacher Librarian (in both primary and secondary schools) and now, while semi-retired, has half a dozen schools locally where she teaches on a relief basis. She still enjoys talking to children about their books and reading. She compiles and edits the newsletter for the CBCA (Qld branch) and participates in the Last Tuesday Children’s Book Club, a discussion group consisting of retired TLs and aspiring writers who enjoy keeping up with books for children. As well as a Bachelor of Arts in English and History, she has a Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship).


Jan Pocock is the Teacher Librarian at Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School. She has a Bachelor of Education with a major in English Literature and has taught from K - 12 in a variety of schools including rural and remote. She has also worked in a variety of roles from Teacher, Head of Department and Principal. Jan has always had a passion for reading and developing a love of reading amongst children. Her key focus has been finding the book that fits the child, promoting reading for pleasure and encouraging students to open themselves to new experiences using reading and books. She is an avid reader herself and is happy to read anything from picture books to adult novels, any book, any genre. However, she will happily discard what she isn't enjoying. Life is way too short, and there are too many amazing books, to read books you don't love!



Ruth Woolven has Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and a Master of Information Management (Librarianship). Ruth works as the Librarian at Kew Primary School in Melbourne. Ruth is the Primary School Representative on the School Library Association of Victoria (SLAV) Council and is a member of the CBCA Victorian Branch committee. Ruth is passionate about connecting students to the right books and promoting reading for pleasure.

Early Childhood Category


Wendy has a Bachelor of Arts (Library and Information Science) and a Master of Information Studies (Children’s Librarianship). She is currently the Children’s Librarian at City of Canada Bay Libraries, a public library service in Sydney’s inner west. Wendy has worked for over 40 years in all types of libraries. She found her dream job as a Children’s Librarian 18 years ago, allowing her to combine her love of children, books, reading and libraries. Wendy provides children’s literacy programs and services for children and families in the local community, laying the foundations for a lifelong love of reading and books. She is looking forward to taking part in the judging process. 


Throughout her 30-year teaching career, Marissa has demonstrated a passion for literature and loves sharing the joy of reading with her students. She has completed a Master of Business (Information Technology), RMIT University; a Graduate Diploma in Information Management, RMIT University; a Bachelor of Education, RMIT University; and a Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood Education), Phillip Institute of Technology, with a major focus in Children’s Literature in all of these studies. Marissa is currently the Junior School Teacher Librarian at Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School, working with students in the Junior School (Year Prep – 6) and Early Learning Centre (Kinder and Pre-Prep). 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 and active member of the CBCA Victorian Branch executive committee.


Sandi lives and breathes stories, as a reader, writer and storyteller. Sandi has spent eighteen years working in educational libraries and has a in Diploma Library and Information Studies. She served on the West Australian Young Readers’ Book Award committee between 2012 and 2017 and is the critique coordinator for the Australia West region of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Sandi is passionate about diversity in storytelling and engaging readers with stories. She believes that a teetering stack of books waiting to be read is an essential component of every household.

Picture Book of the Year / CBCA Award for New Illustrator Categories


Julie is a senior lecturer in teacher education at Monash University. A former English teacher, she now teaches and researches in literature and young people’s in-school and out-of-school literacy practices. Her research interests include print literature as well as digital literary texts, and all the ways these might be taught and read. She sees literature as a powerful springboard for deeper reading, drawing on complex visual and print language as well as rich vocabulary and, in the case of picture books, crafted illustration. In her teaching, she has worked with preservice and practising teachers to read, analyse and create their own picture and bilingual books. She is a joint editor of the literacy journal, Literacy Learning: the Middle Years which explores reading and teaching practices among middle years children. She is also co-author of Learning to Teach: New Times, New Practices (Oxford University Press)preparing for its third edition.


Nette Hilton has been an author of children’s and YA Literature for the past thirty years. She holds a Bachelor of Education and has taught Primary School for 40 years and continues to work in publishing as an author and emerging illustrator. During this time, she has written over 100 books ranging from pre-school to adult and her work has been recognised by the CBCA Book of the Year Awards (both in the Notables and Short List), the NSW Premier’s Awards (shortlist), the Queensland Premier’s Awards and the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards (longlist). Her books have been translated and are available worldwide with two titles still in print after twenty-nine years. In 2014-2015 she was the Judge for senior poetry in the Dorothea MacKellar National Poetry Competition. She has twice worked as a judge with the NSW Premier’s Awards, a CBCA Younger Reader judge and participates regularly in writer’s festivals and literary events.


Brook has a Diploma of Teaching (Primary) and a Graduate Diploma in Children’s Literature. Although she has been passionate about children’s literature since childhood, she attributes the depth of her love of literature to having had lecturers at the top of their field – two of whom read picture books at the beginning of every lecture. Brook currently works part-time as a librarian. She is 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. In 2019, she was an Eve Pownall CBCA judge which was a new and interesting area. This year she is delighted to be working in her area of expertise as the Picture Book/New Illustrator CBCA Judge.

Eve Pownall Award


Melinda is a librarian specialising in children’s services. She completed the Graduate Diploma in Information Management at RMIT in 2007 and has held various roles in public libraries across Melbourne. She is currently the Reading Coordinator at Eltham Library, a branch of Yarra Plenty Regional Libraries. Melinda has also completed Certificate IV in Professional Writing and Editing and has written for publications including Books and Publishing, Good Reading, Magpies and the CBCA website Reading Time.  She is an avid reader and feels very lucky to be surrounded by books every day. As a librarian, she enjoys sharing her love of literature with the library’s littlest patrons. At home, she loves reading stories to her baby daughter.

Melinda is on the Eve Pownall judging panel for the 2020 Book of the Year Awards only.


Margaret’s qualifications include Bachelor of Education (English and History), Bachelor of Arts (French and Communication Studies), Master of Education in English (Visual Literacy). More recently, Doctor of Philosophy. As a teacher in the secondary and tertiary sectors she taught children’s literature to college and university students. Since 2007 Margaret has been a voluntary guide at the National Gallery of Australia. For several years she was a reviewer of Literature for Younger Readers for The Canberra Times. In 2014 Margaret was a CBCA Eve Pownall Award Judge. Margaret is currently a researcher for the Our Mythical Childhood (OMC) Survey, developing a database of children’s and young adult literature from around the world. Margaret’s passion for children’s literature was fuelled by her own childhood reading, and eventually sharing literature with her own children and grandchildren. As well as children’s literature. Margaret is an avid reader of adult fiction and non-fiction.


Narissa is a former primary school principal and teacher. She now works as a literacy consultant in schools across Victoria, striving to build a love of literacy and literature in both students and teachers. Narissa holds a Masters of Education (Charles Sturt University) as well as a Bachelor of Education with a minor in Children’s Literature (Latrobe University). She is passionate about schools using Australian texts as mentors for teaching reading and writing and founded the Oz Lit Teacher community to support teachers to build their knowledge in doing this. Narissa is an avid reader and keen writer and is rarely found without a book in her hand. She was first introduced to the CBCA Book of the Year Awards by her primary school librarian, Ms Patterson, and has loved awaiting the announcement of the winners ever since. She is thrilled to be a part of the judging panel for the Eve Pownall Award this year.

Narissa is on the Eve Pownall judging panel for the 2021 Book of the Year Awards only.


Lucy has a Bachelor of Environmental Science with a major in cultural heritage studies. She is currently working for the Federal Department of the Environment and Energy assessing development proposals that are likely to have an impact on matters of national environmental significance such as threatened species and communities, world heritage properties and national heritage places. Lucy has six siblings and a number of nieces and nephews so has read a lot of children’s books over the years as well as young adult literature and most other genres as an adult. She achieved her New Year’s resolution in 2018 of reading 52 novels in a year, equivalent to one book a week. Lucy has always been passionate about reading and learning, particularly about the science of how things work, birds and nature and the history of Australian huts and buildings. She is looking forward to learning more about the world through judging the Eve Pownall entries.