The CCBC is made up of people with a passion for books and literacy. We strive to foster an environment of inclusivity and accessibility around Canadian books. We come from a variety backgrounds, but are united by a common goal: helping young Canadians build a lifelong love of reading.
Meghan Howe is the CCBC’s Director of Operations and is a bit of a “Jane of all Trades” at the CCBC: in the 20 years she has worked for the CCBC, she has done parts of every position here. Meghan went to the University of Toronto and has a BSc (Honours) in Biology and Sociology. She joined the CCBC team in 2003 after graduating and has been here ever since! Meghan handles our collections, awards, the TD Grade One Book Giveaway, Best Books for Kids & Teens and acts as the CCBC Liaison to IBBY Canada. She also oversees the day-to-day operations of the CCBC. She loves baking, cross stitching and spending summers at her cottage. Her favourite book for kids is Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress.
Carol-Ann Hoyte is the CCBC’s Program & Events Coordinator, as well as an avid papercrafter, children’s poet, school librarian, and mother to a 10-year-old son. For 16 years, she acted as the Quebec Regional Coordinator for Canadian Children’s Book Week before joining the CCBC as our Program and Events Coordinator. Since 2015, Carol-Ann has served on the board of Geordie Theatre which produces theatre for young audiences. When she is not busy with her projects and her boy, Carol-Ann dreams of musicals, New York City, England, and travelling someday soon.
Tara Mandarano is the CCBC’s Marketing and Communications Coordinator. Tara brings several years of experience as a marketer and product manager in the book publishing industry. She also has extensive experience editing manuscripts and managing online content. She holds a Bachelor in Journalism from Ryerson/Toronto Metropolitan University. In her spare time, she writes poetry and creative nonfiction, and her work has appeared The Washington Post, Today’s Parent, Canadian Living and Chatelaine. Tara lives north of Toronto and is the mother of one young reader and three cute-but-demanding cats. Her favourite book for kids is Willow’s Whispers.
Shannon Barnes is the editor of Canadian Children’s Book News. Shannon joined the CCBC team 21 years ago as an intern. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a BA (Honours) in English and Psychology and received a certificate in Book and Magazine Publishing from Centennial College. Prior to taking on the role of Editor for Book News, Shannon was the CCBC's Program Coordinator for 18 years. She has worked with over 200 Canadian children’s book authors and illustrators, and has assisted in the coordination of over 400 national Canadian Children’s Book Week tours. Shannon is the mother of two young readers: Molly (age 9) and Nathan (age 12).
Janis Nostbakken heads up the Bibliovideo team as well as our Accessible Books for Young Readers project. Founding Editor of Chickadee magazine, children’s book author, and writer/producer of award-winning TV shows for kids, she has been a syndicated newspaper columnist and on-air columnist for CBC Radio and CTV. Janis has served as a jurist for a number of grants and prizes and on the boards of several charitable organizations. She is co-founder of StoneBoat Arts Centre, a not-for-profit workspace for writers, theatre-makers, and other artists on a farm in Eastern Ontario.
Trish Osuch (she/her) is a bookworm and freelance marketing consultant who has been working with arts organizations, book publishers, and companies of all shapes and sizes for 15 years. She sits on the board of directors of IBBY Canada and is the founder of yourmarketingkit.com. Her favourite Canadian children's author is and always will be Kit Pearson.
Spencer Miller (he/him) is Bibliovideo’s Digital Media Coordinator, as well as a teacher, writer, reader and fan of the Toronto Raptors. He advocates for Canadian books in the classroom as the Editorial Coordinator of Top Grade: CanLit for the Classroom, a program of the Association of Canadian Publishers. Previously a features writer at Bookstacked.com and co-host of the BookmarkedYA podcast, he continues to spread his love of YA literature on Instagram @YACanadaBooks.
Board of Directors
Urve’s senior leadership and management career spans corporations, hospitals, and start-ups. Her experience includes working collaboratively with multi-disciplinary teams to develop creative and pragmatic strategies to create successful business ventures and manage complex change, whether in start-ups or in corporations. Organizations include Fortune 500 companies, hospitals, CCAC, home care, and start-ups.
She volunteers on a number of not-for-profit Boards, including Head Injury Rehabilitation Ontario, as well as Estonian community organizations.
Urve is also a published children’s author writing historical fiction about little-known events during World War II and the Cold War. She has been an active member of CANSCAIP, SCBWI, and TWUC for many years.
Zain Velji is the Vice President of Strategy at Northweather — a communications technology and branding firm specializing in branding, custom development and engagement. Prior to joining Northweather, Zain spent three years at Hill+Knowlton Strategies as a Senior Campaign Strategist specializing in campaign strategy, grassroots advocacy and behavioural economics. Prior to that, Zain was a Senior Public Policy Analyst at the Canadian Cancer Society and the Principal of a sole-proprietorship communications and strategy firm called Canspring Strategies.
Zain has just completed a term as the Volunteer Vice-Chair of External Relations for the Ismaili Council for the Prairies, and will now be taking on the new role of Special Projects Lead. In 2013, he was nominated to sit on the board for Calgary Reads, and became Chair of the organization in 2014. Furthermore, he sits on the board for the YMCA Calgary and co-founded the political podcast, “The Strategists.”
Anne Remmel is an organization development specialist with over thirty years experience in both public and private sectors. She holds a PhD. from University of Toronto focused on leadership and she has taught at the Rotman School of Management in both the Executive Education and MMPA programs. Her extensive experience includes senior roles in Fortune 500 companies, health care, government, and with major consulting firms.
She has been a board member of several arts organizations and has chaired committees with a focus on strategy development, sponsorship and community engagement. Her life-long commitment to the arts is expressed through her own art practice as well as in organizing exhibitions and supporting cultural initiatives in her community.
Nouran has nearly 10 years of experience working in finance, capital planning, budgeting and investor relations. She has worked in both an advisor capacity for various companies as well internally in financial planning and reporting roles. She is currently in a client facing investor relations role and adds value to the role through leveraging her financial acumen and strong communication skills.
She has also served on various boards and held many different roles over the years. While serving on the Board of Dress for Success Calgary she led a flagship fundraising event which provided significant financial cushion for the organization. She also has previously volunteered with the Canadian Cancer Society and the Alberta Diabetes Foundation. Nouran currently also serves on the Board of Art City in St James town in Toronto.
Nouran is a Chartered Financial Analyst and holds a bachelor of commerce from the University of Calgary.
Ayden has over 10 years of experience in the technology, finance and non-profit sectors, most recently advising clients on CSR at Benevity and helping the company grow from a small start-up to a unicorn when it sold its majority stake for 1.1 billion in 2021. Her client portfolio has included small, midsize and S&P 500 clients, exposing her to diverse corporate strategies and structures. Prior to this, Ayden was a Senior Associate with Ernst and Young (EY) in the audit practice, specializing in power & utilities and small enterprise.
In her spare time, Ayden advises non-profits, most recently holding the position of Chair of Dress for Success Calgary. In this role, Ayden successfully merged the charity with another local non-profit in Calgary to enhance impact in the community. She now serves as the Vice Chair of the merged organization, Making Changes Association.
Ayden is a Chartered Accountant and holds her Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Calgary.
Holly Bodger has worked in STEM Publishing for over 25 years, the last 21 of which have been in a member-based organization. She’s currently the Publisher of the CMAJ Group, where she’s responsible for managing complex budgets, production schedules and systems for both print and digital publications.
Holly is also a writer of young adult fiction and has been a long-time member of many industry organizations, including the CCBC. Her first novel, 5 to 1, was nominated for the CCBC’s prestigious Amy Mathers Teen Book Award.
With 25+ years of experience in publishing and book sales, Margaret brings a deep understanding of the book business to the table. Having served as a Category Manger on the bookseller side, and in several sales and marketing roles on the publishing side, she develops multi-faceted strategies to drive revenue and sustainable results. Margaret is currently the Sales Director at Orca Book Publishers.
Gabriela is a Senior Strategy Manager, Government Relations with Telus based in Calgary. She has eleven years of government and consulting experience, leading communications, advocacy, strategic planning and stakeholder relations in the technology, insurance and non-profit sectors. Prior to working in consulting, Gabriela worked for a Member of Parliament and for the Government of Ontario as a senior advisor. She is a currently a Public Affairs Association of Canada Alberta Chapter Board Director. She was a board member with Parkdale Community Legal Services in Toronto and was the Co-Chair of the Latin American Working Group for the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games.
Gabriela has a bilingual Honours Bachelor of Arts and a bilingual Master’s in Public and International Affairs from York University in Toronto. Gabriela experienced firsthand the importance of child literacy when she moved to Canada from Cuba with her family at the age of 13 and learned English and French. She is fluent in English and Spanish and has a working knowledge of French. When she is not volunteering or working, she is spending time in the Rocky Mountains with her young family.
Michael Martin and Margot Stokreef founded Martin and Associates Sales Agency in 1999. The agency’s core business is representing trade book publishers and distributors in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. They sell to a diverse customer base including bookstores, toy stores, gift shops, garden centres, tack shops, museums, public and school libraries. Martin and Associates Sales Agency attend the Toronto Gift Fair, Ontario Library Association Expo in Toronto, and regional book fairs in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada.
Prior to entering the book business, Michael worked for a direct marketing company that sold office supplies through a catalogue across Canada. The experience acquired in customer service and sales in both French and English has proven to be a valuable asset in creating opportunities for growth in the book trade.
Karen McMullin is the national publicist for Nimbus Publishing, working out of Toronto. Previously, she was the Publicity Manager for Dundurn Press, Publicity and Marketing Manager (Kids) for Penguin Group Canada, Promotions Manager for Stoddart Kids, and Promotions Coordinator for Owl Books (now Owlkids). Karen has appeared on BTV, and Canada AM, and has given presentations at CANSCAIP, Humber College, and most recently appeared as a panelist at the Eastbound conference in St. John’s, NL.
Gillian O’Reilly is a professional writer and editor and the author/co-author of two works of non-fiction for young readers. As editor of Canadian Children’s Book News from 1996 to 2016 (best freelance gig ever!), she covered the diversity of writing and publishing in Canadian children’s literature. She is the recipient of the 2016 Claude Aubry Award, given by IBBY Canada for distinguished service within the field of children’s literature.
From 2017 to 2023, Gillian sat on the board of Telling Tales, the Hamilton-based all-children’s book festival, serving as chair for two (pandemic) years. She currently chairs the Executive of the Friends of the Osborne Collection, which supports the Toronto Public Library’s extraordinary historical book and illustration collection. She is a member of CANSCAIP, IBBY Canada and The Writers’ Union of Canada.