Children's Book Reviewing Team

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.

Dianne (Di) Bates

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 has two blogs, Writing for Children  and Australian Children’s Poetry  

Neridah McMullin is the author of three books for children. She is also a published artist and aspires to illustrate her own work. Neridah loves family, footy and doing yoga with her cat Carlos who also just happen to love footy (well, after all he is black and white…)

Peta Biggin
Peta is an emerging author who enjoys writing for both children and adults.  She works full-time as an IT consultant and keeps busy at home chasing, and cleaning, after two teenage boys, two cats, two dogs and one husband who is old enough to know better. Currently she is writing short stories while she tries to work out what she is going to do with her YA novel.  When Peta is not spending her spare time writing, she can be found collapsed in a corner desperate for chocolate.

Francine Sculli
Francine is an emerging writer, a primary school art teacher, a mother, a dancer and a creative thinker. She can only wake up in the morning after her coffee and run, and can only sleep once she has fed her Pinterest addiction. She keeps a memory jar and a secret stash of chocolate-coated raspberry licorice. 

Jenny Heslop
Jenny Heslop is an emerging writer of children’s fiction and poetry. When she is not reading, writing or taxiing her children to various activities she can be found creating ballet and gymnastics costumes, immersed in cooking, or walking by the river to unravel (and ravel) a poem or plot twist. 

Ann Harth is a published children's author and writing tutor at Australian College of Journalism (Open Colleges). She also works as a part time editor for an environmental group. Ann is committed to reading and creating children's literature that inspires, entertains and triggers a tiny twist in the mind.

Wendy Fitzgerald
Wendy Fitzgerald is an author, teacher, wife and mother of two grown up kids. At the moment she is the president of the CBCA Northern Sydney Sub Branch. She loves to be part of activities that bring books and kids together. Her favourite thing is to encourage kids to read and to write their own stories.  

Hilary Smillie
Hilary Smillie is a published author of short stories, articles, poetry, two educational readers, Grandpa Jones and the No-Company Cat (Cengage Learning) and The Secret in the Box (Wendy Pye Ltd) and has reviewed over 130 books for Buzz Words. She is presently writing the memoirs of an African Missionary.

Jo Antareau
Jo Antareau is an emerging children's author and mother of three. She also has fifteen years experience working as a psychologist in an Early Childhood setting, and is passionate about the benefits of quality children's literature, and introducing children to the enjoyment of books as early as possible.

Anastasia Gonis

Anastasia Gonis has been reviewing for over twenty years. It was when she started reviewing children’s books for Good Reading magazine that she realized she’d found the genre she loves best for she finds beauty in every piece of work. Her children’s reviews have also appeared in AllWrite Magazine and The Reading Stack. Anastasia has been a Buzz Words reviewer for many years. She has written two books in the series This Happened to Me for Watts Publishing which are used for educational purposes. Her dream is to write children’s fiction and picture books.

Emma Cameron
Emma Cameron is an author and editor of work for young people and anyone young at heart. She hopes the term ‘children’s books’ never discourages adults from reading them and wishes there was enough time in one lifetime to read every story ever written.

Vicki Thornton
Vicki works in a public library in Youth Services. Passionate about getting children to read, her job involves everything from introducing the joy of books to new born babies and their parents, reading and singing songs to pre-schoolers at Storytimes, to luring teenagers back into the world of books. She is the author of four children's readers, one collection of adult short stories and many poems. She is currently working on a young adult novel and dipping her toe into performance poetry. 

Nean McKenzie
Nean studied professional writing and editing at RMIT and now writes when she can in between working part-time as an optometrist and looking after her two active primary school children. Nean is currently working on a novel for older children and attempting to take up running.

Yvonne Mes
Yvonne Mes is a children’s author, illustrator and devourer of books. She writes short stories, picture books and junior novels. Her stories are published in the School Magazine, on the Kids Book Review website and as part of anthologies. She coordinates Write Links, the Brisbane children's writers group and is part of the team. Yvonne grew up in Amsterdam. Her three sons make sure she is never lost for inspiration. Her mission: sneak a quiet cup of coffee while reading a book. Result: cold coffee and noise.

                                                   Jacque Duffy
Jacque Duffy is the author and illustrator of picture book The Bear Said Please and the series ‘That’s not a …” learn to read books used in all Queensland State Primary Schools and one local history coffee table book. She lives in the far northern Queensland tropics with her two teenage sons, one cat, one dog, two one-eyed horses, and the wildlife that thinks her home is theirs too.

Jaquelyn Muller
Jaquelyn is an author and publisher of children’s picture books. Her second book Elizabeth Rose on Parade is the next in the ‘Elizabeth Rose’ series which will soon include early readers.  Jaquelyn is an author champion for the Let’s Read early childhood literacy program. She conducts literacy and publishing workshops for children from kinder to upper primary.  Jaquelyn is also the content director for a digital start-up and then if she gets bored she organises her spools of ribbon in colour order. 

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