Jane Godwin is the Publisher, Books for Children and Young Adults at Penguin and the highly acclaimed author of many books for children. Jane first joined Penguin in the mid 1980s, starting out as an editor in children's books. She became an author by ''accident'' after being asked to write a non-fiction book. Called Dreaming of Antarctica, it was published in 1997. That was followed by a Puffin Aussie Bites story that was shortlisted for the NSW Premier's Awards. Jane left Penguin to pursue a full-time writing career but was asked to come back to fill a maternity leave replacement position. ''That was four years ago and I'm still here,'' says Jane, laughing. ''I love being a publisher as well as a writer. I suppose I'm just very passionate about reading and kids and stories. I don't really have any logical, organised way of doing it. It works most of the time. I just need another 24 hours in each day.''
Jane's most recent novel is Falling From Grace and her most recent picture book is Today We Have No Plans, illustrated by Anna Walker.
Davina Bell is the in-house series editor of. As well, Davina is writing for the series. Called Meet Alice, it is set in WA and focuses on WWI and its impact on a family.
Born in Perth, Davina completed a law degree before arriving in Melbourne five years ago to take up the Professional Writing and Editing course at RMIT University. ''I didn't want to be a lawyer, didn't have the temperament for it.'' Davina planned to write a mystery novel but when that went awry she took up Short Story Writing. To her astonishment, her ''first attempt'' was selected by Robert Drewe for inclusion in Best Australian Stories 2007.
Halfway through 2007 Davina was hired as an editorial assistant at Pearson Education, proofreading and checking page proofs. ''I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.'' Davina then applied for a position as a children's book editor that was a maternity leave replacement at Penguin. ''It seemed like such an incredible job I was sure I would never get it.'' four years later Davina is still there and loving the job.
Rita Hart is the Consultant Editor on the series. Rita has been involved in the editing and publishing of children's books for nearly thirty years. She has worked with some of Australia's finest award-winning writers and illustrators for young people.
Rita presently lives in the United States as a reluctant expatriate, where she continues to edit Australian children's books, and has also begun to write her own books for young people.
"Our two daughters grew up with the American Girl books, and I was impressed and inspired by their quality, depth, and their memorable and complex characters. It is very rewarding to be involved in O A G, and I hope reading these books becomes an integral and joyful part of growing up in Australia. I am honoured to be working on this fresh, ground-breaking series, which brings to vivid life our unique history and society, while telling wonderfully compelling stories centred on believable and interesting heroines. While we enjoy living in the U.S.A., our daughters always identify themselves as our Australian girls!"
Author of the Grace books
Sofie Laguna was born in 1968 in Sydney and began her career as an actor. Her books have been named Honour Books and Notable Books by the Children's Book Council of Australia and shortlisted in the Queensland Premier's Awards. Her picture book with Andrew McLean, On Our Way to the Beach, was included in an annual selection of outstanding international children's books by the International Youth Library (Associated Project of UNESCO). Sofie's other books include My Yellow Blanky, Too Loud Lily, Surviving Aunt Marsha, Bad Buster and Big Ned's Bushwalk.
Sofie lives in Melbourne with her partner and new baby.
Author of the Letty books
Alison Lloyd is the popular and highly regarded author of several books for children, including Year of the Tiger, which was her first book, followed by Wicked Warriors and Evil Emperors. Alison speaks and reads Chinese. She studied in China for two years and has worked for the Australian Government in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Alison lives in Melbourne with her husband, two children, two grandparents and three chickens.
Alison likes making things, reading, the bush, beach and mountains, cycling - and dessert.
Author of the Poppy books
Gabrielle Wang is a much loved writer for young people. A fourth generation Chinese Australian born in Melbourne, Gabrielle studied graphic design and did an Arts degree at Melbourne University, majoring in Chinese. Gabrielle has worked as a sales girl, abalone sheller, dishwasher, waitress, graphic designer, English teacher and Chinese teacher.
Gabrielle's books include her bestselling Young Adult novel, Little Paradise, and the popular Ghost in My Suitcase, which won the 2009 Aurealis Award for young fiction.
Gabrielle is married with two children and lives with her husband, a dog called Saffy who does lots of tricks, a cockatiel called Cookie and a guinea pig called Ratty.
Author of the Rose books
Sherryl Clark is a prolific and popular writer who has had over 40 children's and Young Adult books published. Born in New Zealand on a dairy farm, Sherryl travelled the world before eventually settling in Australia after arriving here in 1978.
Sherryl, who has an Arts Degree from Deakin University, began writing for children in 1996 after being encouraged by a friend. Her first book, The Too-Tight Tutu was published by Penguin in 1997 as one of the first Aussie Bites. Sherryl's most recent Puffin book is Motormouth, is a companion volume to Sixth Grade Style Queen (Not!), which was shortlisted for the 2009 CBCA Book of the Year Award, Younger Readers.
Author of the Nellie books
Penny Matthews is the critically acclaimed and much-loved author of many books for young people. She's written junior novels, chapter books for beginning readers, and picture books for all age groups. A Year On Our Farm, illustrated by Andrew McLean, was based on her own country childhood and was the CBCA's Book of the Year (Early Childhood) in 2003. Her gripping historical novel A Girl Like Me was a CBCA Notable Book in 2010 and won the Sisters in Crime's 2011 Davitt Award for Young Adult Fiction.
Penny lives in Adelaide with her Canadian husband. They share their home with Eddie, a rather unusual cat who once saved the life of a baby ringtail possum. Penny has two grown-up children and a granddaughter, Immy, to whom the Nellie books are dedicated.
Author of the Alice books
Davina Bell is a young writer from Western Australia, who works in the world of children's books. Her short stories and essays have been published in various journals and anthologies, including Best Australian Stories. The Our Australian Girl books are her first novels.
Davina lives in Melbourne, and while she misses the beach, the good coffee (almost) makes up for it.
Lucia Masciullo grew up in Livorno, Tuscany, among smells of saltiness and rosemary. She always loved painting and after graduating in Biology she decided to pursue her dream career as an artist. In 2006 she moved to Brisbane and since then has been happily working as a fine art painter and freelance illustrator. She has recently illustrated Sonya Hartnett's The Boy and Toy and is currently working on several new projects, one of which is another picture book with Sonya.