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2005 Environment Award for Children's Literature winners

The winners for 2005:

Picture Book Award (joint winners) Belonging by Jeannie Baker (Walker Books Australia) and The World that we Want by Kim Michelle Toft (University of Queensland Press)

Non-Fiction Award The non-fiction winner this year is Greg Pyers

The Environment Award for Children's Literature is intended promote books which inspire a sense of wonder and a sense of caring for the natural world.

The annual Environment Award, inaugurated in 1994, is open to fiction and non-fiction children's books published in Australia. Award trophies and certificates are presented to authors and illustrators that best encourage an attitude of caring, wonder and understanding of the natural world, or those that promote an awareness of environmental issues.

Each year the award winners are announced on World Environment Day (5 June). In 2006 the presentation of awards will take place at The Reading Tree (children's bookstore), 5a Market Lane, Manly. You and your children are most welcome to attend.

We are pleased to announce the winners for 2005:

Belonging, The World that we Want

Picture Book Award

The joint Picture Book winners this year are two exceptionally beautiful books with novel forms of illustration.

Belonging by Jeannie Baker (Walker Books Australia) Jeannie Baker’s meticulous collages and message of caring for the environment have earned her the Environment Award for Children’s Literature for a third time.

Belonging is a cheerful reversal of a previous wordless picture book Window, which shows the relentless spread of urbanisation through a child’s bedroom window over the years of his growing up. Belonging begins with the window of a baby girl and the view of a barren city backyard. But over time the backyard and cityscape are transformed by people planting trees and gardens which bring back birds, insects and convivial urban living for the people who belong there.

The World that we Want by Kim Michelle Toft (University of Queensland Press) Kim Michelle Toft uses sumptuous silk paintings to illustrate her books. The World That We Want is a progressive poem showing the interconnection between earth, air, water and biodiversity in maintaining the world that we want, and need: ‘This is the river that weaves through the forest that filters the air that circles the world that we want.’ Each page brings more animals for readers to find and more information on how the balance of nature is achieved.

Non-Fiction Award

The works of Greg Pyers

The non-fiction winner this year is Greg Pyers, who is turning out to be a total legend with his natural history writing for children. This is his second Environment Award for his outstanding contribution in helping educate kids about the world that we need and want.

Series include: A Land of Diversity (Australia’s Rainforests and Australia’s Waterways); Life in a Gum Tree (also Desert Dune, Creek and Rockpool); the Habitat Explorer series (including Mountain, Forest, Desert, River, Ocean and Coral Reef) and the Life Cycles of Australian Animals series (Redback Spider, Red Kangaroo, Saltwater Crocodile and Spotted Grass Frog), all published by Heinemann Library.

The Shortlist

Shortlisted non-fiction includes another Heinemann Library series: Amazing Australian Animals written by Barry Silkstone. Titles include Mammals, Birds, Invertebrates, and Reptiles, Fish and Amphibians – and they are amazing too.

Also good for inspiring awe is a lively little book called It’s True! We Came From Slime by Ken McNamara, with illustrations by Andrew Plant (Allen & Unwin). The snappy title describes the content, but not the miraculous achievement of 3.5 billion years of evolving life. It’s true, we owe an awful lot to slime.

Each year Pauline Reilly’s accessible little books on Australian animals build into an impressive collection on our continent’s magnificent wildlife. This year Macrostis the Easter Bilby and Eudyptula the Little Penguin, with illustrations by Kayelene Traynor (Bristlebird Books), have been shortlisted.

Other shortlisted picture books include: the engaging story of an endangered Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat, Wombat Down Below by Jill Morris with illustrations by Lucy Everitt (Greater Glider); and Eyes in the Night by Jan Ramage, with illustrations by Laura Peterson (University of Western Australia Press), which tells the story of a boy who tries to help an owl injured by a cat.