Meet Maria… 

Maria is a primary teacher, public speaker, journalist and has also worked in public relations (PR) communications and administration. She started Big Sister Blogs to write, write, write. In Writerly Wisdoms, she shares tips from author, illustrator and storyteller workshops. Her picture books reviews are from a teacher’s perspective. Why? ‘Because Picture Books are the linchpin in developing a child’s first interaction with literacy and the world around them.’


Achievements – From 2017… 

  1. Longlisted Greenleaf Press Picture Book competition with Cecilia Cicada
  2. Published an ekphrastic poem, ‘We Are Travellers’ — in Dr June Perkins’ Ripple Poetry.
  3. Published over 100 stories in Townsville Bulletin and The Sun Newspaper during  her Journalism degree.
  4. Writerly Wisdom blog posts
  5. Picture book Reviewer
  6. Blogs about life within her space – Personal Blog

She believes writing communities offer a sense of place for writers. Her groups include:

Prior… because she’s been around for a while

As a teacher, it’s the light bulb moments when children say, ‘Ah! I got it now’ that has kept her in this profession for some 20 years. The Australian Writer’s Centre was the culprit who started her path to publication. And their podcast, ‘So You Want To Be A Writer’ was the instigator.

In-between… because she could

Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Journalism. She wrote over 100 stories including front pages for — The Townsville Bulletin about ‘O Negative Blood needed for premature babies’ and The Sun Community Newspaper about ‘V8 engine drivers headbutting with Police’ (byline Maria Gibbs). Publicity assistant during Townsville’s VP50.  She interviewed Vietnam Veterans and wrote stories for the Townsville Bulletin (Dear John Letter, Nurses of War etc.,).

Prior prior… because she’s lost track

She worked in administration for 18 years – Public Relations, payroll (days of counting cash), cashiering, market co-ordinator etc.,

She’s travelled extensively, written numerous reviews on ‘Tripadvisor, mpare5‘ and according to their stats some 50 000 travellers have seen her reviews as at Sept 2017.

Along the way…

She loves taking photos which ‘make her look twice’. See Instagram. At Toastmasters International, she crushed her fear of public speaking after 5 years. She could probably talk underwater now. And because she’s apparently the oldest of seven, Aunt to 20 nieces and nephews and proud mother, she has included a personal blog about things they enjoy. One of her philosophies is – ‘Be positive. It’s productively proactive’.

Forming Firm Friendships…  

Her 40+ year friendships from boarding school.



One day she’ll get around to filling this spot too.

Knowledge is Power

To quote her Dad, ‘Every day above ground is a good day.’

To quote her Mum’s father, ‘My father used to say, “Learn and put aside because one day you’ll need it.”



Maria Parenti-Baldey, primary teacher, writer, amateur photographer and blogger at  www.bigsisterblogs.com