We’re very lucky  to have three professionals involved in the children’s book industry as our special guest judges for this competition:


Sally Rippin was born in Darwin, but grew up mainly in South-East Asia. Sally and her family moved country every few years because of her father’s work, which meant she spent a lot of time in hotel rooms. This is where, when she had run out of things to read, Sally began to write and illustrate her own books. As a young adult, Sally spent three years in China studying traditional brush and ink painting and began writing short stories, many of which became the basis of her first YA novel, Chenxi and the Foreigner. Many of the books she has illustrated, such as Millie by John Marsden and The Rainbirds by David Metzenthen are heavily influenced by her Chinese painting studies.

Later, Sally moved to a village in the South of France with her own family and lived there for three years, where she began writing and illustrating full-time in an old farmhouse amongst the grapevines. Now Sally lives in Melbourne, near the Merri Creek, where she writes and illustrates for children of all ages, as well as speaking regularly in schools and festivals here and overseas. Sally has over forty children’s books published, many of them award winning. Her most recent titles include the Billie B Brown series and Angel Creek.


Jane Godwin is the Publisher, Books for Children and Young Adults, at Penguin Books Australia. She is also a highly acclaimed author of many books for children. Her work is published internationally and she has received many commendations. The Family Tree won the 2000 Queensland Premier’s Award (Children’s Books) Sebby, Stee, the Garbos and Me was shortlisted for the 1999 New South Wales State Literary Award (Patricia Wrightson Prize) and was a YABBA finalist and The True Story of Mary was shortlisted for the 2006 CBC Book of the Year Awards, Younger Readers. In 2009 her picture book with illustrator Anna Walker, Little Cat and the Big Red Bus, was a notable book in the CBC Awards and was also shortlisted for the Speech Pathology Australia Awards, Lower Primary division. Jane’s most recent novel is Falling From Grace, and her most recent picture book is All Through the Year, illustrated by Anna Walker, due for publication in October 2010. Jane also enjoys working creatively with school students, encouraging them to develop confidence in their own creativity, ideas and abilities.


Anna lives in Melbourne with her family, including a dog, a bunny, three chooks and three kids. A long time ago when reading a fairy tale, Anna knew she wanted to illustrate children’s books. For many years Anna has designed and illustrated everything from tissue boxes to gift cards. In 2007 the stars aligned and Anna illustrated her first picture book. She has been happily painting and telling stories since.