Past Events & Photo Gallery


7 August 2017: Christmas Book Appeal Launch, Civic Library

The Annual CBCA ACT Branch Christmas Book Appeal Library Launch took place at Civic Library.

28 March 2017: And The Winner Could Be…& Short List Announcement

Tonight 32 people attended our annual “And The Winner Could Be…” event (previously known as Claytons Night) followed by the CBCA Book of The Year Awards Short List Announcement.

Julie Long OAM, Branch President welcomes everyone and opens the event.

This year our presenters were;

  • Kirrin Sampson – Eve Pownall
  • Rachel Richards – Older Readers
  • Bernadette Aitken – Younger Readers
  • Odette Holweg – Picture Books
  • Jill Howard – Early Childhood

Back: Rachel Richards, Bernadette Aitken and Kirrin Sampson
Front: Odette Holweg and Jill Howard

For more information about our presenters go here.

The presenters told us why they chose their books; they had an interesting story, fabulous illustrations, books of the heart, ones that made you cry, others that told a story you didn’t know before, books warning about the addictions of social media and books that made you laugh.
To see the presenter’s choices and links to teacher’s notes for the books go here.

Eve Pownall Award for Information Books – Kirrin Sampson

Older Readers – Rachel Richards

Younger Readers – Bernadette Aitken

Picture Books – Odette Holweg

Early Childhood – Jill Howard

Then Julie Long OAM, one of the Early Childhood Judges, announced the BOTYA Short List giving us an insight to the books that had not been talked about during the event.


We congratulated local author Gina Newton on her book Amazing Animals of Australia’s National Parks (NLA Publishing) for being one of the Short Listed books for the Eve Pownall Award for Information Books.

We were pleased that Pauline Deeves, Tony Flowers and Tania McCartney, our Notable Books authors and illustrators, were able to come to the event. Jack Heath was unable to join us as he is in Newcastle for the Newcastle Writer’s Festival.

Thank you to ALIA for the use of their facilitates for the event. Thank you also to James Redden, from Harry Hartog for bringing a wide range of the shortlisted books for the attendees to purchase.

As this was also Leanne Barrett’s last event she wanted everyone to know that your support for our events in the last 4 years has been wonderful! She looks forward to seeing everyone at the next CBCA ACT Branch event but as another audience member.

Leanne Barrett introducing Bernadette Aitken

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21 March 2017 : AGM and Laurie Copping Award Announcement

Tonight we held our Annual General Meeting with 16 people attending. We would like to welcome the new committee members Odette Holweg and Veronica Melville. Odette will be the new editor of our eNews. We would also like to welcome our new archivist Jane Black. To see the complete committee list see here.

Tonight we farewelled the fabulous Leanne Barrett. She has done so much for children’s literature in the ACT that she needs her own book to list it all. Thank you so much!

On the closing of the AGM we announced the 2017 recipient of Laurie Copping Award for Distinguished Service to Children’s Literature.

The winner of the Laurie Copping Award – The talented Tania McCartney!


To read the citation on Tania McCartney see the Laurie Copping Award webpage.

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28 February 2017: Book of The Year Awards Notables Announced

The CBCA Book of the Year Award Notable Books have been announced. Congratulations all of the authors, illustrators and publishers that have a book on the notable list. For the complete Notable List go to

Congratulations to the following ACT authors and illustrators;

Jennet Cole-Adams, Resource – Stories of Australian innovation in wartime (Eve Pownall)
Pauline Deeves,  Socks, Sandbags & Leeches: Letters to My Anzac Dad (Eve Pownall)
Tony Flowers, Hello! (Eve Pownall)
Carlie Gibson, The Sisters Saint-Claire (Picture Book)
Jack Heath,  Fail Safe (Younger Reader)
Janet A Holmes, Blue Sky, Yellow Kite (Picture Book)
Joanna Karmel,  Hello! (Eve Pownall)
Tania McCartney, Smile/Cry (Early Childhood)
Gina M. Newton, Amazing Animals of Australia’s National Parks (Eve Pownall)



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3 December 2016:  Chirstmas Book Appeal Packing Day

Many hands made light work on Saturday morning aka Packing Day. The 13 volunteers packed 1000 books in 1 1/2 hours. Books will be given to the recipents this week, 5-9 December 2016. Thank you to our volnteers.


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30 November 2016: Chief Minister’s Reading Challenge Award Ceremony

Congratulations to the 31,000 children who completed the 2016 Chief Minister’s Reading Challenge.

This morning at The National Library of Australia the schools were presented their awards from Yvette Berry MLA (Acting Chief Minister and Minsiter for Education and Early Childhood Development). The sponsors of the Challenge are the Manuka Paperchain Bookstore.

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The Reading Challenge ambassadors Irma Gold, Tracey Hawkins, Jack Heath and Tania McCartney also attended the ceremony.

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27 November 2016: First Christmas Book Appeal Delivery for 2016

The Christmas Book Appeal Coordinator Veronica Melville (on right) gives our first delivery of books to Child and Youth Protection Services, who will be having a joint Christmas Party with ACT Together.


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25 November 2016: Canberra Girls Grammar School Donation

Thank you Canberra Girls Grammar School, Junior School for your donation of books to the Christmas Book Appeal.



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28 October 2016 – National Library of Australia Publishing donation.

Thank you to the National Library of Australia Publishing for your very generous donation to the 2016 Christmas Book Appeal.
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26 October 2016 – 2016 Make Your Own Story Book Awards Ceremony

Make Your Own Story Book ACT CBCA banner

We had a joyous afternoon celebrating our next storytellers from the Make your Own Story Book Competition. Congratulations to all of the children who won an award today and congratulations also to all the 283 children who entered the competition. To see the list of award winners and their photos follow the link here.

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Our author guest speaker was Jackie French. Jackie spoke to an audience of around 90 people, she reminded us about the importance of reading and then reading more. Jackie was very generous with her time in signing books and talking to most of the award winning students about their stories.

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Thank you to our sponsors; Harry Hartog Bookseller, The Hellenic Club and ACT Children’s Week Committee
Thank you to ALIA for hosting the event at ALIA House.
Thank you to our logo designer Tania McCartney, author and illustrator.

Louise Maher, from ABC 666 interviewed Jackie French, two of the winning authors; Dana and Isabella, and the competition coordinator Krys.


For a complete list of winners and their photos follow this link.

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25 October 2016 – CBCA ACT Branch @ PlayFEST

PlayFEST is an ACT Playgroup stallevent for parents, carers and children under 6. It offers parents and carers the opportunity to gather important information and parenting resources. For children it offers free exciting, fun entertainment and activities. Previous days have had up to 1500 parent, carers and children attend the day.

Thank you to our volunteers and Libraries ACT Staff for helping talk to the 120 families we met today. We shared book lists, tips and many stories today.

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Thank You too to our Partners and Sponsors who made our show bag and 2 prize boxes of books possible!


Book Prize Box – Libraries ACT and National Library of Australia Publishing  – Winner a Bonner Family.
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Book Prize Box – Walker Books Australia and Fremantle Press – Winner a Dickson Family.
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August 2016 – Outreach & Book Appeal Donation Collections

Outreach – Vice President, Rosemary Thomas, visited Gunning Library and talked to local parents, regional library staff and some teachers about what is out there (books) to stimulate children to read.

Book Appeal Donation Collections  – Christmas Book Appeal Coordinator, Veronica Melville, has been travelling around Canberra collecting book donations from our collection sites.
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24 August 2016 – Children’s Seminar and Book Week Dinner

A fabulous afternoon that celebrated our local authors and illustrators and 70 Years of the CBCA Book of The Year Awards. Thank you to our wonderful authors and illustrators that met the children at the Children’s Seminar, hosted at Tuner School.
To see more go to Tania McCartney’s Blog.

Stephanie Owen Reeder, Tania McCartney, Pauline Deeves, Harry Laing,
Craig Cormick, Jordan Morris (photo by Tania McCartney)

After the seminar dinner was held at a local restaurant where the talking and laughter continued.

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19 August 2016 – ACT Branch Celebrates the CBCA Book of The Year Awards

AnnounanceStephanieWinnerThe moment that Julie Long OAM, CBCA ACT Branch President, announces that local Stephanie Owen-Reeder is the winner of the Eve Pownall Award for her book Lennie the Legend, NLA Publishing.

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    ACT Branch President, Julie Long OAM                    Dawn Shield – Welcome to Country                Choir from Canberra Girls Grammar School

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Krys Saclier Introduces each category short list.




Children waiting to receive
their envelope that contains
the honour books and the
winning book announcement. AuthorsSue Lavery, Pauline Deeves (author), Jordan Morris (author), Jacequline de Rose-AhernKerry Malone (author), Cate Whittle (author),
Craig Cormick (author) and Tania McCartney (author & illustrator)

BookSigning  AuthorsBooks  MargaretMollieEmma Allen (author) with her children at the book signing.       Local author’s books.                           Margaret and Mollie enjoying the celebrations.

At the Sydney celebrations – Stephanie Owen-Reeders’s acceptance speech


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1 August 2016 – Christmas Book Appeal Launch

Supporters of the Christmas Book Appeal met with MLA Meegan Fitzharris, Minister for Transport Canberra and City Services, to officially launch the collection of new books for the Christmas Book Appeal. Thank you to our partners who attended the launch and our other supporters.


Photo: Veronica Melville (CBCA ACT Branch Appeal Coordinator), Diana Richards (ALIA), Sarah Steed (Libraries ACT), Minister Ms Meegan Fitzharris, Leanne Barrett (CBCA ACT Branch Vice-President), Jayne Murray (Yarralumula Primary School) and  James Redden (Harry Hartog Woden) – Photo taken by Tania McCartney (Author and Illustrator)

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July to August 2016 – Make Your Own Story Book Workshops

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Brindabella Christian School had their free Make Your Own Story Book competition workshop this week with Krys Saclier, Coordinator of the Make Your Own Story Book competition. We’re expecting big things from these fantastic students!

For more information about the workshops….

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7 June 2016 – Celebrate Story Creators Night

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Back: Harry Laing, Jack Heath & Tania McCartney                                                       Celebrate Story Creators Night Audience
Front: Cate Whittle, Kerry Malone, Craig Cormick & Pauline Deeves
(Missing creator, Emma Allen)

An appreciative group of 36 people attended the Creators’ Night at ALIA House in June. Emma Allen, Craig Cormick, Pauline Deeves, Jack Heath, Harry Laing, Kerry Malone, Tania McCartney and Cate Whittle shared their passions – creating Australian children’s literature.

A special thanks to Emma Allen for taking time out to come briefly to talk to us, on her way back to her sick daughter in hospital.
It was interesting to hear the different ways each has developed into an author and/or illustrator. We were held spell-bound by the way that each explained how she or he had embarked on the creative journey, tantalising us with the ‘about to be published’ works.

Thank you, too, to James from Harry Hartog books for providing the opportunity for buying books from our creators, as well as many of the short-listed books.
Written by Dawn Shield



More photos….

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19 -21 May 2016 – 12th National Conference: Read Myriad Possibilities

Welcome to the 12th National Conference: Read Myriad Possibilities with a function at Customs House Sydney. We were reminded about the importance of children having access to books to read for pleasure. “Have the courage and vision to provide: inclusive spaces and places to play…time for thinking, playing, talking, wondering, listening, storying, exploring, experimenting, creating… ” Professor Robyn Ewing.

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We also experienced part of the engaging story of Lola Montez and her Spider Dance at the Ballarat goldfields. This scene is part of the play Pioneers in Petticoats preformed by Blaxland and Daughter. For more information see

Some of the ACT Branch Members at the National Conference.

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Keynote Address: Libby Gleeson AM, Read: Myriad Possibilities. When giving children books they “….should include books of the highest quality. Give them the best, then give them more!”


Picture Book Partnerships:

  • Susanne Gervay & Anna Pignataro: Readers identify with characters. Repetition and patterns giving children time to reflect on the circle of life.
  • Janeen Brian & Ann James: Expose children to the love of language. Enjoy playing with mediums to create illustrations even if it is mud, icing and 100s &1000s.
  • Mark Greenwood & Terry Denton: Road Trips help in building stories. It is the experience of places and fist hand knowledge that adds to the creation of stories.

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2016 Book of The Year Awards Short List Announced.

Shortlisted creators who were present at the conference


Picture Books, Margrete Lamond. Quality literature and quality art gives the reader an emotionally rich experience.

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A Musical Celebration of illustrator Julie Vivas with composer and conductor George Ellis.

Cry, Laugh, excitement, hope and joy. An amazing emotional roller-coaster of story, illustration and music! Thank you Julie Vivas, Margaret Wild, Libby Gleeson for your quality literature.

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National Conference Dinner. Margaret Hamilton welcomed the guests. HarperCollins CEO James Kellow congratulates CBCA for 70 years of presenting the Children’s Book of the Year Awards. James informed us that HarperCollins will celebrate a major milestone in 2017 of 120 years of publishing children’s books. Guest speaker James Valentine entertained us with biographic stories of his life, creating roars of laughter.

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Jeannie Baker, Possibilities in creating children’s picture books. Jeannie travels to the locations of the landscapes in her stories. She creates tactile images that allow readers to discuss environmental issues. The mediums used to create the illustrations create a wonderful texture of possibilities.


Has the internet killed non-fiction or created myriad possibilities?

Sarah Foster, Mark Norman, Carole Wilkinson & Claire Saxby. Narrative Non-fiction rather than Faction is a better term for stories that are created using several people’s lives creating a new character. Remember to read non-fiction aloud.

  • Mark: I have begun to write books for younger children that are unable to search the internet. The internet can be a book’s competition.
  • Claire: We need teacher librarians and librarians more than ever to help children to access the information that they are looking for. How can promote non-fiction creators in schools?
  • Carole: As a researcher the internet can be a beginning point but the internet pages can repeat mistakes. What are their sources? I tell stories with words that create picture for the readers.

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Possibilities to hook young readers. James Roy, Jack Heath, Deb Abela & George Ivanoff.

  • Jack: Good stories and imagination create empathy for others.
  • George: When creating stories George likes to recall what he read when he was younger and he also likes writes what his readers ask for.
  • Deb: It’s about story. Deb creates stories that are exciting and intense but not too scary.
  • James: Books need to be relatable.


Possibilities for YA Readers. Will Kostakis, Melissa Keil, Gabrielle Tozer & Ellie Marney

  • Write what the author wants to write and read.
  • Location is part of stories eg. The Australian sun.
  • There can be road blocks for access to books due to censorship by gatekeepers.
  •  Australian children like Australian stories because it relates to them.
  • Readers like the Australianness of these books.
  • A balancing act of what teens want but thier age needs to be considered for controversial topics.

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Leigh Hobbs – Australian Children’s Laureate

1. Stick up for school libraries and librarians.
2. Raise the level of respect for children’s literature.
3. Go into bat for authors and illustrators.


Belle Alderman AM – The National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature.


Publishing: Myriad Possibilities – or not? Laura Harris (Penguin), Anna McFarlane (Allen & Unwin), Stephanie Speight (Text Publishing) & Cristina Pace (Windy Hollow Books)

  • The golden rules of publishing does not predict what will sell well. Publishers take risks.
  • Publishing books support people with their creative pursuit, creativity is unpredictable.

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Possibilities for a better world. Nadia Wheatley, Sarah Ayoub & Dub Leffler

  • Readers want to read books that mirror their life but also experience stories that are not their own.
  • Diversity is important as it creates empathy in readers that can inspire actions.


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Graeme Base, Illustration: Myriad International Possibilities

Life is a handful of things, accidents and flukes, which may be the beginning of something incredible. Animalia is 30 years old. Graeme’s ideas come from travelling and exploring different environments. If you are good at something start doing it. Allow your children to dream, if you can.


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11 May 2016 – And the winner could be… & Make Your Own Story Book Competition Launch

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        Rachel, Kirrin, Jill, Sonia & Odette                                       Krys, Julie and James

A group of about 30 children’s literature enthusiasts gathered together at ALIA House, Deakin, on Wednesday 11 May at 6.00pm to listen to several speakers give their views on some of the Notable Books from Shortlisted Books for 2016.

Jill Howard began the evening, speaking on the Early Childhood category. She is a librarian with Libraries ACT and before that was a Teacher Librarian in Victoria. She has been involved with many of the children’s programs held by Libraries ACT and has a special interest in children’s literature.

Jill chose six books from the Notables as her favourites. Worthy of a mention,are What Do You Wish For? by Jane Godwin and Anna Walker As Big As You, by Sarah Acton

The Eve Pownall Award for Information Books followed,with Kirrin Simpson, currently the Training and Strategic Programs Manager at ALIA, where she oversees National library based literacy initiatives and programs. Kirrin also chose six books and spoke enthusiastically about them, naming Tania McCartney’s Australian Kids Through The Years as an excellent factual book for younger readers and a great resource for teachers.

Sonia Brown, a teacher librarian at St Monica’s Primary School, spoke about the Younger Readers category. One book Sonia chose was Bridget, A New Australian by James Moloney, which relates the feelings that migrant families have when leaving their homes and arriving at a new country. Sonia feels that it’s good for younger readers to realise these things as they grow up in a multicultural society such as Australia.

The Picture Book category was Odette Holweg’s topic. Odette is currently the teacher librarian at Canberra Girls Grammar School. She chose such books as Perfect, by Danny Parker and Freya Blackwood, My Gallipoli, by Ruth Stark and Robert Hannaford, Bob The Railway Dog, by Corrinne Felton and Andrew McLean and Adelaide’s Secret World, by Elise Hurst.

The final speaker was Rachel Richards on the Older Readers category. Rachel is working as Director of Information Resources at Brindabella Christian College and is a teacher librarian. She spoke with passion about such books as The Pause, by John Larkin, Cloudwish, by Fiona Woods and Talk Underwater, by Kathryn Lomer.

A delicious supper was provided along with a Lucky Door Prize. Many thanks to Harry Hartog Books, Woden, which provided a display and sale of books mentioned by our speakers.
Written by Chris Roffey.


More photos….

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23 March 2016 – World’s Biggest Playgroup

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7-8 March 2016 – Australian National Early Literacy Summit


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3 March 2016 – AGM & Buk bilong Pikinini


Julie Long OAM, President 2016

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Anne-Sophie Hermann, Buk bilong Pikinini founder and chairman explains the program of creating Children’s Libraries in Papua New Guinea.

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More 2015 Photos Coming Soon…

30 July 2016 – Christmas Book Appeal Launch

The Christmas Book Appeal Launch was held at Libraries ACT Civic Library on 30 July 2015.

We would like to thank Minister for Territory and Municipal Services Mr Shane Rattenbury for attending the launch.

Thank you to our partners who attended the launch and our other supporters; local author Tania McCartney and 2cc Canberra. To read more see CityNews.

Christmas Book Appeal Launch  1000 books

Photo: Jaz Beer (Libraries ACT), Kirrin Simpson (ALIA), Mel Thompson (CanFaCS), Minister Mr Shane Rattenbury, Leanne Barrett (CBCA ACT Branch President) and James Redden (Harry Hartog Woden) – photo taken by Tania McCartney

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September 2015 – School Donations for the Christmas Book Appeal

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27 October 2015 – ACT Playgroups – PlayFEST


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Our Show Bag

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28 October 2015 – Libby Hathorn Dinner

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5 December 2015 – Christmas Book Appeal Packing and Distribution

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