First BLOG by Toni Brisland 8 June 2012

Welcome to my Blog! I’m so excited to be here!

I had to laugh ‘cos recently I attended the book launch of a special friend and introduced myself to the bookshop owner who repeated my name several times before saying, ‘I know that name. Are you a blogger?’

Ummm. ‘No,’ I said, smiling, knowing that I was about to be a blogger!

I’ve been called many nice and complimentary things (thank you world, I’m grateful!), and have been known by many job titles - like teacher, school counsellor, manager, personnel director, lawyer, business owner and children’s writer – but, I didn’t think I would ever add “blogger” to the list!

The bookshop owner knows my name because I’m active in the CBCA as Secretary of the Northern Sydney Sub-branch and email to a wide distribution list about CBCA activities. I’m also on the 4th International Australia and New Zealand 2012 SCBWI Conference Committee.

People often ask me the difference between the two organizations – the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) – and which one to join.

There is the obvious difference - one is an Australian organisation established in 1945 with State and Sub-branch Regions (CBCA) and the other is an international organisation established in 1971 with over 70 regional chapters worldwide and over 22,000 members (SCBWI). Their management structure is different and their method of operating is different.

But, both have annual membership fees and both are volunteer and not-for-profit organisations. And, there is such a similarity between the two in mission statements and philosophies, composition of membership and types of awards and publications and support resources available that I would refer you to their websites: and

I can only speak for myself (or blog my opinion, yippee!). The main difference for me is that the CBCA offers me the opportunity to connect to others in the Australian community who share a love of Young Australian’s Literature and who want to engage others in the same passion, whereas SCBWI allows me as a writer to connect to other writers and illustrators for networking support all over the world.

When I go to a CBCA meeting in Sydney other attendees are teacher librarians, pubic librarians, editors, booksellers, authors, illustrators and parents. Publishers are interested in what we’re doing and a representative of all the major publishers are on my distribution list.

When I go to a SCBWI meeting other attendees are authors and illustrators and those aspiring to be.

If an aspiring author or illustrator asks me which organisation to join I say join both. If they say they can’t afford it, I say they can’t afford not to and if they are serious about their writing and/or illustrating to give up coffee and wine for a while. It’s better for the health anyway.

Wish me happy blogging!

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