Our Team

EDITOR: Di Bates

Founding editor of Buzz Words (2006) and author of many books for children, Dianne (Di) Bates makes a living from full-time writing. Some of Di’s books have sold overseas in translation; others have won state and national literary awards, including two children’s book choice awards. Di is an avid reader and over the years has reviewed many books for a wide variety of literary magazines. She is a recipient of the Lady Cutler Award for Services to Children's Literature and the founder of the website Australian Children’s Poetry.


Buzz Words reviewers are active members of the children’s book community. They are all volunteers and may be writers, illustrators, teachers, librarians or parents. Above all, they share a love of children's and young adult books. Meet the Buzz Words’ reviewing team.

Dannielle Viera                                                                                                                                  

Dannielle has been involved in the Australian publishing industry for over 20 years, first as a copywriter and then as an editor, project manager, proof-reader and author. She has worked on more than 70 printed books and has written about subjects as varied as the history of Christianity, Native American mythology, vampires, knights and the death of Hollywood film stars. Some of the books for which she is credited as a contributor include Outside in Takes a Stab (2018), From Quarantine to Q Station (2016) and How to Act Like a Champagne Expert (2013). Her first love, however, has always been children’s books, and she has written stories for young children for many years (with an increase in inspiration since the birth of her two daughters). She is listed as an Emerging Author on the Creative Kids Tales website, and her children’s story entitled ‘The Tree’ has been shortlisted for the ZineWest 2018 awards.  

Kylie Buckley                                                                                                                                     

Kylie is an avid reader and full time Primary School Teacher. She is passionate about children’s literacy and developing a book-loving culture at her school. Besides teaching her class, she particularly enjoys coordinating whole-school reading events such as Book Week, author visits and the Premiers’ Reading Challenge. In her spare time Kylie likes running, playing tennis, drinking wine and eating cheese
Nikki M Heath              
Nikki is an aspiring children’s book author, drawing inspiration from her two young daughters and their enthusiasm for the world around them. She admires innovative and challenging children’s books and loves to support Australian authors. When not writing or working her corporate office job, Nikki is a keen baker of sourdough bread, which, along with cheese and chocolate, constitutes most of her diet. 

Karen Hendriks

Karen is an emerging children’s writer and is passionate about children’s literacy. In April,
2019 Karen established the Shellharbour Children’s Writers and Illustrators at Shellharbour
City Library. She is a moderator for the Creative Kids Tales site which supports fellow

Karen has many short stories published both online and in books. This includes The Toy
Chest Anthology (2018), It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas Anthology, 2018, The
Creative Kids Tales Story Collection (2018) and Things That Go Bump and Enchanted, a flip
book Anthology (2019) and Spooktacular Stories (2019).

Feathers is Karen’s picture book being published by Empowering Resources (2020). Go
Away, Foxy Foxy will be released in August (2020) and is being published by Daisy Lane
Publishing. This is being followed by Home, a picture book story being released in April
(2022), also published by Daisy Lane Publishing.

Kerry Gittins

Kerry is an emerging author, a musician, traveller and teacher librarian from Newcastle, Australia. She has a Masters in Education and is a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), Creative Kids Tales (CKT) and the Australian Society of Authors (ASA). Kerry is passionate about books and literacy, especially the role picture books have in learning for children of all ages. She is a huge fan of animation and still drags her children along to the latest animated movies whenever they’re home. You can follow her on Twitter @gittins_kerryInstagram @gittinskerry or find out more on her website The Book Tree

Kellie Nissen

Kellie taught mainstream, Japanese and EAL/D in primary schools for 25 years (longer than a life sentence) and now runs her own freelance editing and coaching business. She is a long-time member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), The Duck Pond and Creative Kids Tales, and sits on the committee for the Australian Literacy Educator’s Association (ALEA) and the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) ACT branch.


Passionate about the quality teaching of literacy, Kellie writes curriculum-aligned teaching notes for a range of books and runs a small, boutique speaker’s agency servicing Canberra schools.


Kellie is an aspiring author with a love for both children’s literature and bone-chilling paranormal ‘fiction’. She has published several short stories and has just completed an autofiction work that, as an ex-teacher, she hopes will blow the wind up the education industry when it comes to their treatment of children on the autism spectrum. She is currently in the thick of another memoir where she has long conversations with Cancer and its minions and is working on retrieving a host of picture book manuscripts from the abyss.


You can follow Kellie on Instagram @justrightwords or find out more on her website https://justrightwords.com.au/

Sarah Tegerdine

Sarah Tegerdine is a writer, reviewer and aspiring author for children and adults. So far, she has had work published in Share your Story Anthologies, 'Tell'em They're Dreaming - Bedtime Ballads and Tall Tales from the Australian Bush' 2020, and later this year 'It's a kind of Magic: Short Stories by Second Rate Sorcerers'. In 2021 a Sci Fi short story called 'The Butterfly Age' was selected for the Rainforest Writers Retreat (RWR) anthology 'Short Stories of Science and Space'. Sarah has also spent time as an online writer for Supanova Comic Con and Gaming, a reviewer for Beauty and Lace online magazine and for her local bookshop Sandy Pages Noosa until it ceased trading. Sarah is an avid reader and passionate about story, a keeper of journals and a dedicated pop culture nerd.  When she is not wrangling her young family, she can nearly always be found daydreaming or drafting magical story ideas.


You can find Sarah at www.facebook.com/SarahTegerdine-Author

Debra Williams

Debra Williams (Debra Clewer, author) resides in far North-West Tasmania. She moved there in 2020 after a lifetime in Sydney and country NSW.  Debra has 3 Middle-Grade time travel historical fiction novels independently published (The Harriet Series), with the 4th Harriet adventure currently under construction.

 She has children’s stories published in 5 anthologies, along with several short (mostly adult) stories published online on the UK-based Reedsy site.

In 2022, Debra released her first chapter book, Ah-Fur, Super Sleuth: The Case of the Missing Moggies. Two more chapter book manuscripts are completed and awaiting a home. Debra’s secondary interest is in creating custom-made puppets, particularly for other authors. She can be found at: https://www.clewerbooknook.com  and https://www.facebook.com/DClewerauthor.

Susan Hancy

Susan develops digital software in her day job and is an aspiring writer at night. She loves language and being a lifelong learner. She has taught English as a second language, speaks Dutch at home with her partner and young twins and is currently learning Italian. Her favourite thing to do since she was a little girl is to READ READ READ, especially when she gets to share the special magic in children’s books with her kids. Her second favourite thing to do is swim and she’ll jump in a pool, ocean, lake or river regardless of the temperature. She also has a knack for numbers and is Treasurer of the CBCA Northern Sydney Sub-Branch.

You can follow Susan on Instagram @hancypancybooks.

Melissa Wray

Melissa is an Australian author who lives on the Bellarine Peninsula with her husband and two children and she enjoys walks along the beach. She has always loved reading and grew up near a cosy little library where she spent most of her younger years. Melissa is passionate about education, in particular literacy, and believes the ability to read and write gives power to change. Her novels include, Summer Change (Wombat Books/Rhiza Edge), The Ruby Locket (Odyssey Books) and Destiny Road (Morris Publishing).

Melissa loves to travel and has seen some incredible places including Cambodia, Egypt, Italy and Africa. She has also travelled closer to home and visited every Australian state and territory. Her bucket list is still long, both home and abroad! Melissa enjoys writing fiction with snippets of fact blended within her work. Her style is constantly evolving and she is looking forward to sharing her stories and spending time creating new ones.

 Melissa believes everyone should Dream Big … Read Often.

You can follow her Instagram https://www.instagram.com/liss_wray/

and check out her website: ​https://melissawray.blogspot.com/

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