Meet Maria… 

Maria is a primary teacher, public speaker, journalist. She 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 as at 2017:

Prior… because she’s been around for a while

As a teacher for some 20 years – and still going, it’s light bulb moments when children say, ‘Ah! I got it now’ that has kept her in this profession. Her passion is for children to read, read, read because they are bursting to. With reading comes learning, self-confidence, knowledge and the power ‘to be who you to want to be’. 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 two front pages  — The Townsville Bulletin, ‘O Negative Blood for Premature Babies’ and The Sun Community Newspaper, ‘V8 engine drivers headbutting with Police’ (byline – by 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 local government 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’ in her Instagram. At Toastmasters International, she crushed her fear of public speaking after 5 years. She could probably talk underwater now. And with a passion for writing and as the oldest of seven she created her BigSisterBlogs personal blog. Of course as Aunt to 20 nieces and nephews and proud mother to one son, she has included a personal blog. One of her two philosophies are –

  • Be positive. Be productive. Be proactive.’ — If you’re not in the mood good, then leave the world alone.
  • ‘Get in. Get it down. Get it finished. ‘— For reluctant starters or finishers of any form of work (writing, cleaning your room etc.,).

Firm Friendships…  

Her 40+ year friendships from boarding school are worth sharing. It’s the one thing kids crave for in schools — to have friends, be resilient, to belong, understand relationship.



One day she’ll get around to filling this spot too, but don’t get her started she’ll probably start rambling for far too long.

Knowledge is Power

To quote her Dad, ‘Every Day above Ground is a Good Day.’ Her father passed 2 August, 2018, at home, the month before Father’s Day 2018. A palliative nurse offered this advice which Maria clasped with both hands. ‘They’re always in our hearts and by our side, no matter where we are.’ 

To quote her Mum’s father, ‘My father used to say, “Learn and put aside because one day you’ll need it.” Maria had done just that when she finally reached ‘end stage renal’. It scared her into realising, ‘Oh my God! I haven’t started that book I wanted to write.’ Hence AWC was engaged as above.

To quote her husband when asked what he wished for her. ‘I want you to be happy.’ He passed 21 June, 2018, at home on their farm on the Atherton Tablelands. They found something was amiss on 22 May, 2018 when he turned yellow. She set up an In Memory for research and ‘early detection’ for men and women. Also it’s the least publicised (compared to breast cancer…), yet highest and most painful killer. Ask Steve Jobs or Pavarotti – high profile people – with influence, who should have had the best chance of surviving.


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