Kids' Book Review - Interview (August 2019)

Kids' Book Review - Interview (August 2019)

Tania McCartney: KBR Founder Editor in Chief

Dimity Powell: KBR Managing Editor

How did Kids’ Book Review get started?

Tania: It all began with my picture book obsession. I had been living in Beijing with my family and when we returned to Australia in 2009, I threw myself into the kidlit industry. KBR actually started as a blog. I began with reviewing from my own collection, and over time, as I became more and more industry involved, colleagues expressed interest in being involved in the site. So I started approaching publishers for review copies. Fast forward ten years, and we now have a slew of local and international publishers sending us books.

What are Kids’ Book Review’s goals?

Tania: Essentially, to provide a platform for children’s books and their creators, but also to inspire, uplift and educate, provide resources and opportunity. To celebrate children’s works and people in all their forms.

Dimity: As the Managing Editor for the last two and a half years, it’s my intention to support that premise at every level and to continue to deliver content that cements KBR as one of the most respected and well visited children’s literature and book reviewing sites in the world. There have been gentle shifts in the ways children access and enjoy stories over the past few years. KBR endeavours to highlight the best of these new media platforms of storytelling to encourage the strongest possible appreciation of children’s literature as possible.

Who is your intended audience?

Dimity: Teachers, librarians, industry professionals, and of course - parents and kids. I regularly receive messages of thanks from grateful carers and parents after they’ve scoured our site for useful reading recommendations. There’s a story out there for everyone. KBR simply gathers them neatly together for easier inspection.

What resources do you provide?

Dimity: Apart from reviews, we feature Guest Posts from creators, kids’ lit enthusiasts, and industry professionals, which cover a range of fascinating, insightful, literary-centred topics including: story genesis, writing advice, children’s mental and physical well-being and the virtues of book reading to name but a few. We also have comprehensive collections of Teachers’ Notes and Book Lists, and regularly feature articles on education, literacy, bookish places to visit, festivals, conferences and, the perennial favourite, interviews with your favourite book writers, illustrators and industry notables. Because who doesn’t love discovering quirky, curly details about their book heroes!

How do you choose your review titles?

Dimity: The majority of our review titles are solicited through major publishing houses both in Australia and internationally. We also receive titles from a huge number of smaller independent traditional publishers. Every so often we invite self-published and indie published book creators to submit their books for review. These unsolicited shout outs are an attempt to feature as many quality children’s stories on our site as physically practicable, although this is not always possible. So many books, never enough reading time! Comprehensive review submission guidelines are all on our site.

How can people get involved with Kids’ Book Review?

Tania: Read and share. Comment on Facebook and Twitter. And most of all, buy the books we yell from the mountaintop about! The children’s book industry is only as successful as those who buy or borrow its books and share them with children. And KBR will continue to take pride in sharing the books and the creators and the kidlit champions who produce children’s books … for both literacy and sheer enjoyment.

Dimity: Lovers of children’s books and those forever on the lookout for the next Harry Potter like we are, can simply follow our website or KBR Facebook page; every review or article we post appears there. You can find us on Twitter and Pinterest, as well. We regularly run Giveaways to coincide with new book releases or simply to celebrate old favourites. These are free and simple to enter and the prizes are always phenomenal! I wish I could enter.

If you have something to add to the discussion about children’s literature, you can drop us a line anytime with a guest post proposal - the criteria guidelines and contact details are listed on the website – because as Tania says, we just love sharing and caring about the books our children read.

Tell us a little about the Kids’ Book Review team.

Tania: Originally a team of one, we grew to three then a brilliant core team of five for quite a while. As my book career took off, I found less and less time to dedicate to the site, so I gradually stepped away and most recently almost fully stepped away thanks to the amazing Dimity and our current team. We’ve had reviewers and editors come and go over the years. Some have stayed a wee while, some have stayed for years (Sarah Steed is our veteran right now!) and some have gone and returned again, as life has its way with us. But all have contributed invaluably to our kidlit industry, and all have touched KBR in a glorious way.

Dimity: The privilege of working within the KBR family is a fiercely contested and sought after one. Although 100% voluntary, KBR has exacting expectations of every team member; to deliver a requisite number of high quality posts per month. This is not always an easy task given the number of variables preventing quotas being met (that life thing again), however our dedicated current team of 12 (including one junior reviewer), never disappoints.

Their diligence and enthusiasm constantly floors me as they strive to deliver reviews with ‘insight and charm, but without compromise’. Without them, there simply would be no KBR.  Between us all, there are decades of experience in the children's book industry, with backgrounds as authors, publishers, editors, illustrators, booksellers, bloggers, speech pathologists, clinical psychologists, teachers, librarians, children's literature academics, early childhood educators, education specialists, mothers and or course, book-loving nuts.

What’s next from Kids’ Book Review?

Tania: With the way our team are travelling in this book industry, juggling book contracts left right and centre, I would say we’ll continue to be up for a team shuffle! Of course, I never want to lose anyone, but it’s pure joy to see our team do so well creatively. Because we are all busy professionals, mums, teachers, librarians, creators, etc etc, I can’t see any kind of expansion for KBR in the coming years, as much as we’d love to branch out. It’s all about manpower, really. We work voluntarily and we have to be sensible. But thankfully, we have an incredible, comprehensive backlog of content, with stacks of resources, and we continue to have brilliant people posting brilliant reviews and articles about brilliant books and creators. So I think we’ll do. We’ll do.

Dimity: If we could wedge another day or two into the week, then I foresee numerous possibilities for expansion of this site; the reintroduction of competitions, more resource-centred content and the like, but for now, as Tania pointed out, our ability delivery is at maximum capacity. No other reviewing platform for children’s content consistently delivers at least two reviews a day, showcasing the best and newest releases available than Kids’ Book Review. I am immensely proud to be at the helm of such a revered ship.


  • 'The details available on this site, for emerging writers (or those emerged) is incredibly helpful. From creating stories- plotting, dialogue and character building- to the support writers can seek for their work, be it mentoring or seeking a publisher, it’s all there. An excellent easy-to-access writers’ site!'


    Libby Hathorn

  • 'Thanks for being such a strong advocate for children’s literature, the power of stories, and reading.
    Keep fighting the good fight and call on me anytime.'

    Tristan Bancks
  • 'Creative Kids Tales would’ve been mighty handy to know about back when I was sitting about drawing and writing and having no idea what to do with any of it! Go explore and create knowing you have such an amazing resource at your back!'


    Heath McKenzie

  • 'Creative Kids Tales offers new writers the joy of publication on their journey of craft and creativity.'
    'It’s a warm and wonderful home.'

    Susanne Gervay
  • Creative Kids Tales offers a brilliant platform for established and emerging creators to keep in touch and learn from each other. That is a great thing for this most isolated of all professions (apart from On-site Antarctic Penguin Imitators). -

    Terry Denton
  • 'Wow! Creative Kids Tales is a fantastic resource for writers, no matter what stage of their writing journey they are at. Congratulations, Georgie, on your attractive, easy-to-navigate website, your generosity to your fellow writers and your constantly evolving ideas. Thanks on behalf of all of us.' -

    Wendy Blaxland
  • 'Once you find an easily-accessible, up-to-date and vibrant source of writing help and encouragement, you should value it and use it! Thanks to Creative Kids Tales, that’s all available, just with the tap of your finger:
    Well done, CKT team!' -

    Janeen Brian
  • 'What a great asset you are to the children's book industry, Georgie.
    Long may Creative Kids Tales rule!'

    Paul Collins
  • 'If there's anything emerging authors struggle with (beyond the dreaded writer's block), it's receiving recognition or even acknowledgment of their work – battling for a slice of that incredibly elusive publishing pie. Georgie Donaghey has created a priceless promotional and networking station that allows new authors to not only share their work, but gain the courage and nous to take their work to a whole new level. Creative Kids Tales is a valuable addition to Australia's burgeoning children's book market.' -

    Tania McCartney
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a unique and valuable online resource for new and established authors. The site provides a wealth of information and insight into the children's writing world.' 'Thanks for all your support, Georgie, and keep up the good work.' -

    Aleesah Darlison
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is such a great website for navigating this industry – not just for authors and illustrators, but for parents and teachers and librarians and publishers and kids and storytellers of all sorts. It’s awesome!' -

    Jules Faber
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a fantastic resource for aspiring writers that showcases emerging and published authors and illustrators and provides links to publishers' websites, helpful hints and competitions.'

    Rachel Keyes
  • 'This is a great website. Nowadays, when getting published is so hard and staying published not much easier, everyone needs all the help they can get. And here's Help with a capital H!' 'Go Georgie! Creative Kids Tales is an inspiration for all writers of children's and YA fiction.' -

    Richard Harland
  • 'Thanks for having me on Creative Kids Tales. It's a great resource for emerging writers and illustrators and I hope it will have a long future.'

    Sally Rippin
  • 'Creative Kids Tales has inspired, encouraged and supported not only the published, but also us hopefuls still learning the ways of the publishing world. Thanks for providing not only an amazing site to scroll and learn through, but also providing friendship and a real sense of chasing our dreams.' -

    Kelly McDonald
  • 'Creative Kids Tales contributes a wonderful sense of community to the Australian kids’ book scene, from sharing insightful interviews, to writing competitions and now a conference. It’s a great organisation to follow online and be a part of!'


    One More Page podcast

  • 'The long-distance marathon of writing, illustrating and publishing usually begins along a very foggy road, in the dark, shoeless. But wait! What's that light on the horizon? A glowing little cafe, full of a bunch other runners plotting out mud-maps on napkins and exchanging anecdotes, warning about ditches and praising short-cuts. Stop for a while, have a cup of tea, maybe even a shoe-fitting, then get yourself back on the road for the long slog to sunrise.' -

    Shaun Tan
  • "What a wonderful website and wealth of resources. I wish I’d discovered it sooner - but I can still enjoy it now, and have added it to my list of resources for new writers."
    "Keep it up, Georgie!" -

    Wendy Orr
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is great. You can pick the brains of people who make stuff without having to stalk them or do anything illegal.' -

    Aaron Blabey
  • 'Wow! What a wonderful resource.
    Congrats to everyone involved with Creative Kids Tales.'

    George Ivanoff
  • Writing can be a lonely profession. By necessity, you need to work alone much of the time. But it is wonderful to have a website which eases that by connecting creators with each other and with a wealth of information and resources.
    Bravo! -

    Sally Murphy
  • 'If a website can be described as 'homely' or 'a friendly place for emerging writers to visit' then that's how I would describe Creative Kids Tales. It's probably the only Australian website for children's writers that I visit regularly and actually feel part of. When I need motivation, interesting writers to read about, or just a peek at my own 'baby steps' towards being a published writer, I visit the Creative Kids Tales family.' A big thank you to Georgie and Rod for a great website. -

    (Pat) Patricia Simmons
  • 'Buckets of thanks to Georgie for creating Creative Kids Tales. There’s a wealth of wonderful information and resources for everyone interested in creating books for kids – and a warm sense of community.'

    Meredith Costain
  • 'Creative Kids Tales provides such a valuable service. Writing can be a lonely business at times, and seeking publication can be daunting. So it is especially wonderful for writers to be able to access such a comprehensive site where information, experiences and the ups and downs of writing for kids can be shared.' Well done, Georgie! -

    Sue Whiting
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a brilliant resource – for established writers and those just starting out. I wish it had been around when I was a new writer. There are lots of invaluable tips and great advice.
    Congratulations Georgie – it’s fabulous.' -

    Jacqueline Harvey
  • 'CKT is informative, relevant, recent and fun! It’s an exceptional resource for anyone involved in children’s literature.'


    Tim Harris

  • 'This site is such a wonderful resource for writers and illustrators at every stage of the journey. I've learned more about some of my favourite people in children's literature here, but also had the joy of discovering whole new worlds of talent.' -

    Anna Branford
  • 'What can I say? Well if you have clicked this far and uncovered these words you KNOW that this (Creative Kids Tales) is a terrific resource full of ideas and connections.
    SO dig deeper and get connected!' -

    Christopher Cheng
  • 'I stumbled on to Creative Kids Tales by accident. I thought it was kid's tails. I'd been doing some research about goats and how their tails were actually a fifth leg, a very long time ago. Or did I just dream that? In any case, I was bitterly disappointed at first to find not tails, but tales. However, while I was at the site I had a wander around, and soon discovered that it was even better than a goat's site - no kidding! This is a brilliant haven for writers, new and not so new; a place to showcase their work and to learn from others.' Well done, Georgie. You've done a fantastic job. -

    Bill Condon
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is an awesome resource you should totally check it out.' -

    R.A. Spratt
  • 'Having been a publisher and an author and now proprietor of Pinerolo, the Children’s Book Cottage, I am passionate about promoting children’s books. Creative Kids Tales is such a welcome part of this network and I salute them for their support and their inspiration to so many. On their seventh birthday I wish them many, many happy returns.'


    Margaret Hamilton

  • 'It's about time that we had something like Creative Kids Tales. It's a treasure trove for information and news, plus it showcases talent from aspiring writers. It's a wonderful springboard for anyone who wants to dive into the Children books world!'
    Keep up the fabtastic work! -

    Oliver Phommavanh
  • 'Congratulations to Georgie Donaghey for her hard work and enthusiasm in setting up a site that has been sorely needed to promote current Australian children's writing. Not just for the established, but for up and coming, Creative Kids Tales showcases talent and provides information essential for anyone in the industry.' -

    Dianne (Di) Bates
  • 'I’m thrilled to be Creative Kids Tales author of the month.' 'I hope in some small way by me taking part, I might help and inspire young authors and artists to follow their own artistic path.' 'The key I believe is to seek to enjoy what you do. Even though doing your best is a constant challenge I find it is a worthwhile one. So, get drawing and / or writing.' Good luck ! -

    Leigh Hobbs
  • 'CKT is such a valuable site for anybody wanting to learn a bit more about making children’s books. When time travelling becomes possible, I’ll steal all the info from this site and deliver it to my younger, aspiring self.'


    Peter Carnavas

  • 'CKT is a great resource for both established and emerging authors. I like the way you're always coming up with new and exciting initiatives at your site. And I love reading the fascinating journeys and achievements of the writers you profile here.' -

    Dee White
  • 'The thing I like about the Creative Kids Tales website is that the authors come across as real people who face the same problems that beginning writers do and that there’s plenty of practical advice.' -

    Duncan Ball
  • 'Everything you need is here, on Creative Kids Tales! Oh, how wonderful this would have been for the young Emma Quay, knowing she loved children’s picture books but not knowing a soul in the industry. Down to earth, comprehensive, friendly, realistic and encouraging advice — this is an invaluable resource. Bravo!' -

    Emma Quay
  • 'CKT is like the friendly and helpful colleague I could have done with when I started out. Back then I didn’t know anyone who was a writer or illustrator of books.'


    Tohby Riddle

  • 'What a wonderful website Creative Kids Tales is, supporting and helping Australian authors in their quest through the dark thorny forest of the publishing world. Georgie should be congratulated for all her hard work and fearless leadership!' -

    Kate Forsyth
  • 'Creative Kids tales is the perfect place to go for inspiration and to recharge the creative batteries.'


    Frané Lessac

  • 'I love the grumpy cat videos, hahaha it's so grumpy ... oh, wait, wrong website. Ah yes, Creative Kids Tales. Brilliant! Getting published is an amazing, frustrating, brilliant, lonely, creative journey, and is awesome in that it helps both published and pre-published authors by providing support, inspiration, a community, and by allowing authors to learn from other authors, and who better is there to learn from .. .except maybe that grumpy cat, hahaha, hilarious.' -

    Adam Wallace
  • 'I would have loved to have had access to when I was starting out! It's an invaluable source of information, inspiration and encouragement for both emerging (and fully-emerged!) writers.' -

    Andy Griffiths
  • 'Congratulations on a brilliant site, and a superb first year!'.
    Jackie French is Australian Children's Laureate for 2014 – 2015

    Jackie French
  • What a terrific, enthusiastic, informative and creative resource - of value and interest to so many people.
    I'm delighted to be a part of it.

    Ursula Dubosarsky
  • 'I wish Creative Kids Tales had been around when I was first starting out! What a brilliant way to connect with other authors and find out about the lovely world of kids books.' 'Go Georgie! I think you're amazing.' -

    Deborah Abela
  • 'The Creative Kids Tales site is great fun and full of information about authors and their books!' -

    Isobelle Carmody
  • 'Emerging from one's chrysalis of anonymity into the prodigious world of creative children's writing and publishing is a daunting prospect. Georgie Donaghey's Creative Kids Tales is a superlative source of inspiration and information for the bourgeoning writer and illustrator. She has created an invaluable platform from which writers, both developing and established, can view, promote and share each other's work, and most importantly aspirations. A fun, friendly, and informative forum that everyone in the kids' lit industry can benefit from.' Keep it up Georgie! -

    Dimity Powell
  • 'Georgie and the team at Creative Kids Tales have a wonderful passion for children’s stories, and this site is a wonderful place to visit to find and share ideas!
    Well done guys!' -

    Nick Falk
  • 'What a great site! We all tend to work in isolation in our own little caves. It’s great to see all the other cave dwellers out there and realise we are not alone. What a great resource!'


    Bruce Whatley

  • 'It's easy to feel alone when writing, and clueless about what happens next. Creative Kids Tales offers answers and community - invaluable resources.'


    Claire Saxby

  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a treasure trove of resources and insights, compiled with dedication and enthusiasm. A wonderful resource for anyone who is interested in picture books and children's literature.' -

    Sarah Davis
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is ambitious, specific and professional - the Top Tips section alone is a must-read for every aspiring children's writer.' -

    Jack Heath
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a fabulous community of passionate, hardworking and committed writers. If you're looking for new and exciting talent that's dedicated to the children's book industry - look no further than CKT!'


    Wai Chim

  • 'Creative Kids Tales deserves all its accolades. Thanks to its creator, the site provides brilliant support, inspiration and encouragement for anyone who loves creating children's books. I have no hesitation in passing on your link.'
    Well done, Georgie! -

    Sheryl Gwyther
  • 'Georgie Donaghey’s Creative Kids Tales is deservedly going gangbusters! What a wonderful forum and multi-storeyed resource for shiny new authors, legends of the industry and every writer in between!'

    DC Green
  • "Whether just starting out or with many books under your belt, Creative Kids Tales is the perfect place to go for all things writerly. Sharing the inner world is a wonderful thing for solitary writers, and it's all there on Georgie's website.
    Happy reading!" -

    Anna Fienberg
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a great forum for people who spend most of their working time alone. It is interesting and inspiring to see and hear what other authors and illustrators have to say.' -

    Lucy Cousins
  • 'Creative Kids Tales will jump-start adults seeking to become writers!' -

    Jeff Kinney
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a lovely online meeting space brimming with support and ideas for writers.'


    Katrina Germein