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Book Selection Committee

Booksinhomes.com.au > SUPPORTERS > Book Selection Committee

The Books in Homes® Book Selection Committee is made up of a panel of volunteer educational and literary experts. The committee meets three times a year to ensure the books on the Program are both educational and enjoyable. Our distribution partner Scholastic Australia presents the Committee with an extensive list of 72 titles that is gradually whittled down to 48 books for each term’s Preview Pack. It is a prerequisite that 25% of titles on the Program be either written or illustrated by Indigenous creators.

Susanne Gervay OAM

Book Selection Committee Member since 2012
Susanne Gervay is recognised for her writing on social justice, awarded an Order of Australia and Lifetime Social Justice Literature Award by the International Literacy Association. Her books are translated into many languages and include her young adult Butterflies, recognised as Outstanding Youth Literature on Disability and rite-of-passage anti-bullying I Am Jack books which have been adapted into a play that has toured Australia and USA. Susanne’s picture books address disability, inclusion, multiculturalism, while Elephants Have Wings engages with peace. Susanne’s books are endorsed by Room to Read, Cancer Council, Alannah & Madeline Foundation, Variety, Children’s Hospital Westmead, Life Education and many organisations. An acclaimed international speaker, Susanne heads the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (Australia East & New Zealand), is a Writer Ambassador for Room to Read, Ambassador for Premier’s Reading Challenge NSW, the patron of Monkey Baa Theatre, former Chair of NSW Writers Centre among other organisations.

Deborah Abela

Book Selection Committee Member since 2012
After finishing a teaching degree, Deb Abela produced and wrote a national kids’ TV show before leaving to write over 20 novels, including Max Remy Superspy and Jasper Zammit: Soccer Legend. Her book Grimsdon and its sequel New City, are about kids living in a climate-changed world, with sea monsters and flying machines. Teresa: A New Australian was inspired by Deb’s dad who was born in a cave in Malta during one of the heaviest bombing raids of WW2. Deb has won awards for her books, including the 2013 Maurice Saxby Award for services to children’s literature.

Christopher Cheng

Book Selection Committee Member since 2012
Christopher Cheng is the award winning author of more than 40 children’s books in print and digital formats. The picture book New Year Surprise! is his latest publication. Other titles include the picture books One Child, Sounds Spooky and Water; the historical fiction titles New Gold Mountain and the Melting Pot; and the non-fiction titles 30 Amazing Australian Animals and Australia’s Greatest Inventions and Innovations. His narrative non-fiction picture book Python, was shortlisted in the 2013 Children’s Book Council of the Year awards, and was listed as of “Outstanding Merit” in the 2014 edition of Best Books of the Year for Children and Young Adults, selected by the Bank Street College of Education Children’s Book Committee. In addition to his books, Christopher writes articles for online ezines and blogs, as well as the libretto for a children’s musical. He is co-chair of the International Advisory Board for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), an International Advisory Board Member for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC) and a recipient of the Lady Cutler Award for Children’s Literature. He is also the director of the digital publishing company Sparklight. He presents in schools, conferences and festivals around the world and he established the international peer voted SCBWI Crystal Kite Awards. Christopher is also (along with the wonderful Jackie French) an Ambassador for the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature. He dwells in an inner-city Sydney terrace and is often heard to say that he has the best job in the world!

Claire Stuckey
Children’s Librarian / IBBY Australia

Book Selection Committee Member since 2015
As a children’s librarian in a public library for 15 years, Claire Stuckey’s passion for promoting quality children’s literature is reflected though her active participation in organisations such as the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) Australia. Claire is a member of the National Executive and the current co-ordinator of the Ena Noël Award. Claire has been a Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Committee member of the Central Coast Branch since 1998. She judged the Andrea Pickney Award 2016 for the Society of Children’s Authors and Illustrators (SCBWI). In 2013 Claire co-ordinated the Australian World Through Picture Books list for the International Association of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) presenting at the 2014 Conference in Lyon. Claire also hosted the only Australian exhibition of this international project. Her popular travelling Jean Genies program expanded and has been adopted by many international libraries as a Sister Library project. Claire researched and present two successful early literacy library programs Sing, Read and Rhyme and 2-3 What about Me? and proudly supports Books in Homes®.

Jackie Hawkes
Retired Teacher Librarian

Book Selection Committee Member since 2014
Jackie Hawkes is a retired teacher librarian who loves learning and the magic of words. Teaching was a great job for Jackie because she got to share ideas back and forth with the students. Jackie grew up in America but made two great discoveries when she and her husband moved here—Australian children’s literature and school libraries are incredible worlds to be part of. Both of Jackie’s kids are grown up. She enjoys being Grandma Jackie, walks along the Nepean River, fantasy or really most kinds of stories, fresh air, and discovering dark chocolate in the cupboard. Her favourite colour is blue, her favourite book is Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge, her favourite food – most of it is quite okay – and favourite people are those who are genuine. Jackie is currently the coordinator of the CBCA NSW Kids’ Corner. Jackie thinks Books in Homes®. is a great way for everyone to share excitement about stories and ideas.

Jules Faber

Book Selection Committee Member since 2017
Jules Faber is a multi-award-winning illustrator and cartoonist. In his career he has worked as an animator, a comic book illustration teacher, an editorial cartoonist and a ‘live’ caricaturist, drawing people on the spot for entertainment at events. Currently, he works primarily in children’s books and has illustrated the WeirDo series for author Anh Do, the Kaboom Kid series for David Warner, as well as illustrating for authors Michael Pryor, Damean Posner, Alex Ratt and most recently, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki. Jules is a regular visitor to schools where he shares his knowledge on cartooning and illustration with the awesome kids who enjoy his illustrations. Having won numerous awards including three Rotary Cartoon Awards, four KOALA Honours and a YABBA Award, he recently added a career-long ambition in being named Best Children’s Book Illustrator for 2017 from the Australian Cartoonists Association. He is married with a twelve-year-old daughter who loves to read.

Dub Leffler

Book Selection Committee Member since 2017
Dub Leffler is a Bigambul man and is Australia’s premier Indigenous Illustrator of children’s literature. Dub has worked in many fields of the Arts including: Animation, Film, Muralism, Art Installation and the Performing Arts. He has written two books for children and illustrated over 20 publications. He has taught Illustration both here in Australia and internationally and has collaborated with the likes of Shaun Tan, Sally Morgan and Banksy. His first book, the award-winning Once There Was a Boy has garnered critical acclaim worldwide and is included in the permanent collection in The Library of Congress in Washington DC, USA and is soon to be published in Turkey, making him the first Bigambul person in the world to do so. Both he, his wife, Kelly and their six year old daughter, Minnie, now reside on beautiful Guringai country in Horsfield Bay, NSW where he is currently illustrating his first title for Penguin Random House entitled Rocky & Louie written by Raewyn Caisley and Phil Walley-Stack.

Emma Wenham
NSW Department of Education

Book Selection Committee Member since 2017
Emma Wenham is a proud Gamilaroi teacher, working within the NSW Department of Education for the last 11 years at schools in Nowra, Western Sydney and now in her current role as the K-6 Advisor for Aboriginal Education and Communities. Emma is passionate about books and the layered learning experience they provide for children. Books are tactile and introduce children to a rich wealth of written and visual literacy.

Maighan Downes
Scholastic Australia – Product Buyer

Book Selection Committee Member since 2018
Maighan is a Product Buyer for Scholastic Australia and is responsible for putting together the long list of books the Committee gets to evaluate and select from. Her early love of reading and studies in Communication, Sociology and Education have cultivated her passion for providing access to literacy, which she feels grateful to share in her work with Books in Homes. One of her favourite parts of the process is discussing the books with the Committee, whose expertise and love for literature ensure the Program participants have the best selection of books to choose from. But her most favourite part is watching excited students receive their orders, ready to join in the adventures of the stories inside.

Nat Amoore

Book Selection Committee Member since 2021
Nat Amoore is a Sydney-based writer and kidlit podcast host (One More Page) whose debut novel Secrets Of A Schoolyard Millionaire came out in 2019 with Penguin Random House. It had great success as both Dymocks and QBD’s ‘Kids Book Of The Month’, becoming Australia’s #1 bestselling debut Aussie children’s fiction in 2019 and has now sold into the UK, US, Italy, China, Estonia and Romania. Her second book The Power Of Positive Pranking was released in 2020, and was shortlisted for the Readings Children’s Book Prize and REAL Children’s Choice Book Awards. It went on to win the 2021 Environment Award for Children’s Literature. The Right Way To Rock came out in June 2021 and Nat’s fourth book We Run Tomorrow will hit stands in May 2022.

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