'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.' - author Jackie French


Book lover, Bryce, getting some reading done (image: Paula Thomson)

Kids' Book Review is a 100% voluntary children’s literature and book review site that supports and features authors, illustrators and publishers Australia-wide and internationally. It is run by a small team of women who have decades of experience in the children's book industry, with roles such as author, publisher, editor, illustrator, bookseller, blogger, book designer and typesetter, speech pathologist, teacher, librarian, children's literature academic, early childhood educator, education specialist, mother and book lover.

We cover news, reviews, interviews, articles, guest posts, events, specialist literacy articles and much more, attracting readers from all over the world including teachers, librarians, industry professionals, and of course - parents and kids.

KBR falls into the top 800,000 websites worldwide (Alexa), and has almost 600 referring domains, with a PR Quality listed as 'strong'. It ranks #1 in a Google search for 'reviews, books, kids, children's books' and was recently ranked no. 23 in the Top 100 Review sites worldwide. We are currently proud to achieve as many as 80,000 hits per month, and are one of the most respected literary sites on the web.

We receive books from major Australian publishers, indie publishers and international publishers for review, and we use our considerable social networking skills to further promote and enhance any book appearance on KBR.

For more information on our review policy see POLICY. 

The Team

Kids' Book Review is run by a literary line-up of seriously book-loving women, with contributions from a number of other book-addicts. Keep reading to learn more about us, and see our CONTACT page for contact/book review details.

Who: Tania McCartney

Title: KBR Founder

Location: Canberra

A bit about: Tania has been writing professionally for almost 30 years, and is an author of adult titles and award-winning children’s books. An experienced editor, illustrator, magazine writer and independent publisher, she has an unholy addiction to picture books. She also loves travel, photography, and book layout and design.

Her most recent titles include Australian Kids Through the Years (illust Andrew Joyner), Smile Cry (illust Jess Racklyeft), her first self-illustrated book Australia Illustrated, This is Banjo Paterson (illust Christina Booth) and A Kiwi Year, A Canadian Year (illust Tina Snerling). She has received awards and shortlistings including two CBCA Notable Books, the CBCA Laurie Copping Award for Distinguished Service to Children's Literature, and the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award for Australia/New Zealand (2017) for Smile Cry.

Tania is an advocate for juvenile literacy, is a past ambassador for the National Year of Reading (2012) and a current ambassador for the Chief Minister's Reading Challenge. She is the founder of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge and currently lives in Canberra with her family, a forest of artwork and a mountain of books. See www.taniamccartney.com for more.

You can read all of Tania's KBR reviews and articles here and her responses to our 12 Curly Questions here.


Who: Dimity Powell

Title: Managing Editor

Location: Gold Coast

A bit about: Dimity loves transforming crazy ideas into children’s stories because she believes kids and great stories are life-essentials, like ice-cream.

Her word-webs appear in anthologies, junior novels, school magazines, picture books, and as creative content for digital apps. Several of her short stories have won awards and her digital locative narrative for the Story City app, The Chapel of Unlove was shortlisted for the Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards 2016. The Fix-It Man , illustrated by Nicky Johnston, is her debut picture book with EK Books with another to follow in 2018.

Dimity thrives on celebrating the profound art of story and is mildly suspicious of too much spare time so fills hers with reviewing great tales for kids and sharing writerly insights she’s collected along the way with any one who’ll listen.

Her writing ambitions are modest although she’d consider giving up sugar to hear one of her picture books read on Play School. Dimity lives on the Gold Coast where dreams sparkle. Visit her anytime at: www.dimitypowell.com

You can read all of Dimity's KBR reviews and articles here and her responses to our 12 Curly Questions here.


Who: Jo Burnell

Title: Senior Editor

Location: Melbourne

A bit about: Having worked with children for more than thirty years as a Speech Pathologist, Jo is passionate about story in all its forms. Reviewing everything from picture books to YA is her delight. Jo also organises author/illustrator events as part of her duties as SCBWI Vic committee member.

Jo's agent, Jacinta Di Mase is currently representing both a children's picture book and Concrete Slipper, a memoir of Jo's journey into and away from life as a nun in Mother Teresa’s Society, the Missionaries of Charity.

For more information about her writing, please contact Jo’s literary agent. Jacinta Di Mase: jacintadimase[at]jacintadimase[dot]com[dot]au

You can read all of Jo's KBR reviews and articles here and Jo's answers to our 12 Curly Questions here.

Who: Sarah Steed

Title: Consultant Librarian

Location: Canberra

A bit about: Sarah is a life-long booklover and self-professed library geek who comes from a family of readers. She has bookshelves full to bursting with books that fall into the categories of 'want to read', 'already read', and 'read again'. Sarah has twenty years experience working in various public library roles, starting out as a Children's and Youth' Services Librarian (which partly accounts for the large quantity of picture books and young adult novels on her bookshelves).

She has several ideas for novels and picture books percolating away in her imagination and the odd notebook

You can read Sarah's KBR reviews and articles here and Sarah's answers to our 12 Curly Questions here.

Who: Connie Spanos

Title: YA Editor

Location: Melbourne

A bit about:
Connie has been a KBR Young Adult Fiction reviewer since 2014 and a lover of books, and their transformative power, for as long as she can remember. She has a Professional Writing and Editing Diploma from RMIT and is an emerging writer and editor. She has undertaken freelance editorial work and online magazine editing.

Connie is also a Social Worker and lives in Melbourne with her husband, two teenagers and a really cute Cavoodle with emotional needs. She loves catching up with family and friends and has a weakness for bookstores, chips, ice-cream and English period dramas. Stephen King sums up her love of books: ‘Books are a uniquely portable magic.’

You can read Connie's KBR reviews and articles here, and see her answers to our 12 Curly Questions here.

Who: Devon Sillett

Title: Regular Contributor

Location: Canberra

A bit about: A radio producer in a former life, Devon's first children's picture book is due to be published in April, 2017 through EK Books. She is currently completing a PhD which focuses on Australian picture books. Additionally, she is a sessional academic at the University of Canberra, where she teaches in the writing department. Finally, she has a BA Arts (Eng, Language Lit), a BA Communications (Journalism), a Grad Dip Ed (Secondary English) and an Honours Degree (focusing on feminism in YA Speculative Fiction).

When not indulging in her picture book obsession, Devon can be found in the ACT, covered in chalk and blueberry fingerprint stains from her two favourite little people, sons Aaron and Jay.

You can read Devons's KBR reviews and articles here, and read her responses to our 12 Curly Questions right here.


Who: Rebecka Sharpe Shelberg

Title: Regular Contributor

Location: Sydney

A bit about: By a happy chance, Rebecka was able to follow her passion for books and reading into the workforce, working in book stores for a number of years before moving across into the publishing industry. Rebecka has recently completed a Bachelor of Information Studies and is now working towards her goal of becoming a children’s and youth librarian.

Rebecka's passion for children's picture books has filled many bookshelves in her home and combined with her love of writing, has led her to write many of her own picture book manuscripts. Her first picture book, Reflection (illustrated by Robin Cowcher), was released in April 2016, and her next picture book, Visiting You (illustrated by Andrea Edmonds), due for release in early 2018.
Outside the epic adventure of motherhood, Rebecka loves creating and selling handmade items to raise money for humanitarian organisations around the world, particularly those focused on providing education for children. 

See Rebecka's Facebook page for more information. You can read Rebecka's KBR reviews and articles here and read her answers to our 12 Curly Questions here.

Who: Penny Harrison

Title: Regular Contributor + 12 Curly Questions Editor

Location: Melbourne

A bit about: Penny Harrison is a children’s author, book reviewer, journalist and photographer.

For almost 20 years, she has been writing for magazines and newspapers, covering everything from gardening, wellbeing and sustainable living to art & design, interiors and books.

Nowadays, she is a regular contributor to the Herald Sun’s Home Living section, Country Life magazine and House of Wellness magazine. She also reviews children’s books for the CBCA’s Reading Time newsletter.

Her first children's picture book, Dance with Me, was released in October 2016 and her second is due out early in 2018.

Penny lives on the outskirts of Melbourne, by the Yarra River, with her husband and two young children, along with an ever-growing menagerie of dogs, cats, chickens and bunnies. When she is not reading or writing, you'll find her pulling weeds in the garden and attempting to meditate.

See Penny's website for more information. You can read her KBR reviews here and her answers to our 12 Curly Questions here.


Who: Shaye Wardrop

Title: Regular Contributor

Location: Canberra

A bit about: Shaye is a writer, reader and dreamer of all things children’s literature. Science fiction and fantasy obsessed, she is drawn to books about dragons, aliens and superhuman powers. Not surprisingly, she also likes to write about such things, so her stories tend to feature far away lands and magnificent beasts.

Always the daydreamer (even when she should be paying attention), Shaye dreams of, and is working hard towards, the day her stories sit on library shelves for everyone to enjoy.

For more information about Shaye, visit her website at shayewardrop.com or her Facebook page. You can read Shaye’s KBR reviews and articles here and read her answers to our 12 Curly Questions here.

Who: Sarah Wallace

Title: Regular Contributor

Location: Canberra

A bit about: Sarah has always loved literature and writing. She is a writer, author and education professional with a passion for children’s literacy.

She has a house full of books, which have multiplied exponentially since the arrival of her three children, with whom she adores sharing her love of literature. Whilst reading with them, she is thoroughly enjoying rediscovering some of her own childhood favourites, as well as finding some new favourites along the way.

Sarah is also a researcher with an interest in early childhood learning and development and works for the Australian Government as an Early Childhood Education Policy Manager. She is now trying to focus more on her creative pursuits and is enjoying getting back to writing for pleasure and penning children’s books.

Sarah has a BA in English Lit, a PG Cert in Education and is currently completing a Masters of Education. You can read her s KBR Reviews here and read her answers to our 12 Curly Questions here.

Who: Coral Vass

Title: Occasional Contributor

Location: Melbourne

A bit about: With a background in Media, Coral has always had a passion for writing and telling stories. Her first children’s picture book was published in 2011.  Coral’s latest titles include Goodnight Possum, Good Morning Possum, The Hottest Dingo and The Great Bird Poo War. Her writing style has a splash of rhythm, a dash of rhyme and is stirred with fun.

Coral adores children’s books, inspiring children with a love for literature, chocolate, good coffee, the theatre, a thesaurus, bookshops, libraries, the beach and travelling. She lives by the beach with her husband and four children. See Coral's website for more.

You can read Coral's KBR reviews and articles here and Coral's answers to our 12 Curly Questions here.

Who: Anastasia Gonis

Title: Occasional Contributor

Location: Melbourne

A bit about: Anastasia Gonis has been reviewing books for over twenty years. Her reviews and interviews have appeared in Bookseller & Publisher, Good Reading magazine, Australian Book Review, The Age, The Herald Sun, AllWrite, and many other publications.

Anastasia currently writes both articles and reviews. She loves all books, in particular children’s books which for her, contain beauty and joy between the covers.

Anastasia is a longtime and valued reviewer for KBR, who will contribute occasionally. You can read her KBR reviews and articles here.

Just a small handful of the impossibly wonderful things people say about KBR . . .

The best books, reviewed with insight, charm but without compromise. - author Jackie French

Just wanted to say thank you for the fantastic reviews you post. I utilise your blog as a trusted resource on a regular basis. As a bookseller, bloggers like yourself assist us so much in what we communicate to our customers. Your hard work is appreciated. Thank you for your passion. - Jacqui from Collins Booksellers and ABC Centre

You are doing a wonderful job with Kids Book Review and in a relatively short time have built a rock-solid reputation for excellent reviews and articles. - author Sandy Fussell

One of my favourite blogs, Kids Book Review was started by Canberra author Tania McCartney. It is full of interviews with authors/illustrators/librarians, book reviews, articles on literacy and reading, articles by children on why they like the books they like, profiles, links to other blogs, websites in the children’s literature world, writing tips, you name it! It is very easy to spend hours at this blog and everyone will get something out of it. I still marvel at {this} blog. It must take hours to provide all that content. It’s fabulous. - Buzz Words editor Vicki Stanton

I'm a big fan! - author/illustrator Felice Arena

I'm amazed by your site - there's a LOT of content on there. I've barely skimmed the surface, but I've already found so many interesting pieces and interviews. - author/illustrator Andrew Joyner

I really appreciate the obvious love and care you have for books and with which you put your website together. - British author/illustrator Grahame Baker-Smith

You have a really wonderful site and I have referred it to many friends with little people to buy for. - Karen Peace, mum