Nature books: 2021 and on

Nature books: 2021 and on

Karajia and Environment Awards for Children's Literature: Winners and Shortlisted Books

Browse the most recent winning titles of both the Environment Award For Children's Literature and our new Karajia Award for Children's Literature, launched in 2022.

This webpage contains affiliate links with retailer Booktopia. By clicking any of these buttons and purchasing a book, you’re helping support the Wilderness Society’s work.


Environment Award for Children's Literature

Picture Fiction (co-winners)


Written by Aunty Fay Muir and Sue Lawson, illustrated by Leanne Mulgo Watson
Magabala Books

“Can be used and read across all of Country, benefitting all children, beautiful illustrations.”—judge Corrina Eccles

The River

Written by Sally Morgan, illustrated by Johnny Warrkatja Malibirr
Magabala Books

"Sophisticated graphic and illustrative design—exceptionally high quality. Lyrical prose which is age appropriate and encourages young readers of all ages to use their senses to explore the natural world.”—judge Megan Daley


The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Peculiar Pairs in Nature

Written and illustrated by: Sami Bayly
Hachette Australia

“Beautiful detailed images of animals and insects supported by amazing, sometimes very funny stories of the interconnectedness of nature.”—judge Paul McDermott.


Baily Finch Takes a Stand

Written by: Ingrid Laguna
Text Publishing

“The best kind of environmental messages for this age group are hidden within a story and characters that the reader will fall in love with – and Bailey and Sheba are just that. A beautifully written story about love, loss and the realisation that you can make a difference in the world no matter how close to home that is. Beautifully crafted characters with an environmental message that resonates long after you wipe away the tears. A brilliant example of weaving caring for our environment into a story about caring for each other.”—judge Nat Amoore

Karajia Award for Children's Literature (co-winners)


Written by Aunty Fay Muir and Sue Lawson, illustrated by Leanne Mulgo Watson
Magabala Books

Somebody's Land: Welcome to Our Country

Written by Adam Goodes and Ellie Laing, illustrated by David Hardy
Allen & Unwin

Somebody’s Land: “Somebody’s Land really stands out as a book of meaning and education not just for Indigenous kids to learn but non-Indigenous to learn and understand the history of this country. And it soothes my soul.”—judge Bunna Lawrie

Environment Award for Children's Literature

Picture Fiction

The Accidental Penguin Hotel

Written by Andrew Kelly, illustrated by Dean Jones
Wild Dog Books

The penguin colony at St Kilda Breakwater is famous, but does anyone know when and how they got there? The Accidental Penguin Hotel tells the story of the colony's establishment and the human intervention that enabled it. Following the first penguin to call the Breakwater his home, read along as he builds his burrow, finds a mate and starts a family. With gorgeous illustrations by Dean Jones, this is a positive environmental story that readers will love.

9 things to remember (and one to forget)

Written and illustrated by Alison Binks
Berbay Publishing

"Did you know that polar bears have smelly feet? Their footprints in the ice carry scent messages for other bears. Remember never tickle a polar between his big, furry, smelly toes. You’ll scramble the message!”

9 things to remember (and one to forget) is an ode to nature. Each turn of the page reveals a small wonder, something to investigate, discover and embrace.

One Potoroo: A Story of Survival

Written by Penny Jaye, illustrated by Alicia Rogerson
CSIRO Publishing

This is a beautifully illustrated book about the world's most endangered marsupial, the Gilbert's Potoroo. When a bushfire destroys Potoroo's home, he becomes one of the last surviving Gilbert's Potoroos at Two Peoples Bay in Western Australia. Frightened, hurt and alone, Potoroo needs a new home – luckily, a team of conservationists know where Potoroo can go to be safe.

Saving Seal. The Plastic Predicament

Written by Diane Jackson Hill, illustrated by Craig Smith
Museums Victoria Publishing

In a small coastal town, Lizzie and Grandpa Dave rescue Seal whose flippers are tangled up in a plastic bag. How many more times will they have to save Seal? How can Lizzie and Grandpa Dave stop more plastic rubbish clogging up their Bay?

This is a story about people working together to make the right choices and about making them now.


Written by Polly Marsden, illustrated by Chris Nixon
Hachette Australia

An accessible and reassuring picture book that teaches children about the specific challenges of climate change for Australia so they can be informed and make a difference.

Australia is a unique and incredibly diverse natural environment and we are oh-so-lucky to live here. Our country is home to a great number of amazing ecosystems. But things like fossil fuels, greenhouse gases and deforestation are creating imbalances in our ecosystems and causing climate change. Climate changes leads to all sorts of crazy weather and damage to our natural environments and wildlife habitats.

But it's not too late to fix it! Even small steps can make a difference and you have the power to help.

A practical and reassuring book for children to help them understand climate change and the ways in which they can make a difference.

The Way of the Weedy Seadragon

Written by Anne Morgan, illustrated by Lois Bury
CSIRO Publishing

Do you believe in dragons? The weedy seadragon is an amazing fish with a talent for camouflage, weird eating habits and a unique courtship dance. But its habitat and future are threatened. This enchanting story takes you under the sea to meet this mysterious sea creature, and reveals its weird and wonderful ways.

The Gentle Genius of Trees

Written and illustrated by Philip Bunting

What could we clever humans ever learn from trees? Take an unashamedly anthropomorphic wander through the woods to learn a few life lessons from our foliaged friends.


Fish Kid and the Turtle Torpedo

Written and illustrated by Kylie Howarth
Walker Books Australia

Fish Kid’s third epic ocean adventure is set on a small island in the Maldives, the perfect place for Fish Kid to supercharge his fish powers. His friendship with bestie, Emely, soon hits a snag during a tricky sea turtle rescue. Secretly wishing for powers of her own, Emely’s strange behaviour leaves Fish Kid wondering if their friendship and the super-sick turtle will survive. And if things weren’t bad enough, another turtle from the sanctuary goes missing. Can this super hero-in-the-making use his fishy powers to save the day?

The Good Times of Pelican Rise: Save the Joeys

Written by Samone Amba
Affirm Press

Grade sixers Sunday Moon and her besties Ockie, Kirra and Lottie are MAROONED in after-school care at Club Koala with the karaoke-loving grade twos and nit-infested preppies for company. It’s not exactly the way these legends thought they’d be ending their time at Pelican Rise Primary!

But after the worst summer of bushfires ever, Sunday is determined to use her last year at Club Koala to make a difference: OUT with the headstand competitions and IN with knitting pouches for injured wildlife!

And when Mr Guclu tells the grade sixers to build a legacy project for their final year of primary, Sunday and her friends decide to keep the good times rolling with a website that will spread the word about their pouch project.

With the help of her friends, a radio station, a whole bunch of wool from the op shop, a LOT of animal memes and their legacy project, The Good Times, Sunday is going to save as many joeys as she can.

Welcome to The Good Times of Pelican Rise … a fun series that explores growing up, finding community spirit, and using your voice to Be the Change.

Karajia Award for Children's Literature

Sea Country

Written by Aunty Patsy Cameron, illustrated by Lisa Kennedy
Magabala Books

In this delightful children’s picture book, Aunty Patsy Cameron generously shares the stories and traditions from her family’s seasonal island life in Tasmania. With evocative text and stunning illustrations, Sea Country lets the reader know when to pick ripe wild cherries, when the moon (mutton) birds fly home and how the nautilus shells smell like the deepest oceans.

Aunty Patsy Cameron, who is a descendant of the Pairebeenne Trawlwoolway clan in Tasmania, weaves a cultural homage to life on Flinder’s Island, with stories of collecting shells, fishing in wooden dinghies with long oars, and watching clouds snake their way down Mt Munro. Alongside this tender story, Lisa Kennedy reveals the love and connection to sea and Country through her intricate collages and delicate illustrations that sing country alive.

Warna-Manda Baby Earth Walk

Written by Susan Betts, illustrated by Mandy Foot and Susan Betts
Little Book Press for Raising Literacy Australia Inc

Follow Allurru as she is guided across the land on a journey to discover her connection to Mother Earth and find her way home. An ode to earth, sea and sky, Warna-Manda Baby Earth Walk is a gift to future generations to help them connect, care and understand the world around them.

This book is a beautiful story about connection to country. Susan Bett’s lyrical text soars across the pages as does the ever-protective Waldya (eagle). The combination of Susan Betts and Mandy Foot’s illustrations provide a rich backdrop to Susan’s enveloping, warm words. The subtle message to embrace our natural world as it embraces us flows effortlessly throughout the pages.

This picture book is rare in the fact that it can be used in different ways. It can encourage parent and baby to copy Allurru’s actions as she mimics her companions. Whilst also being a soothing bedtime lullaby story to snuggle up with.

Wiradjuri Country

Written by Larry Brandy
National Library of Australia

Welcome to Wiradjuri Country.

The Wiradjuri are the people of the three bila (rivers) and their nguram-bang (Country) is the second largest in Australia. Come with Uncle Larry Brandy on an enlightening journey through his Country's rivers, woodlands, grasslands and rocky outcrops, as well as the murri-yang (sky world).

Along the way, young readers will encounter animals such as bila-durang (platypus), and maliyan (wedge-tailed eagle), plants like the maybal (grass tree) and yirany (yam daisy), and discover stories like that of Tiddalik the giant frog. They will learn how Wiradjuri people lived on their Country, using the flower spikes of the grass tree as spears, soaking its flowers in water to make a sweet drink and weaving its leaves into baskets.

This is a unique book combining language, culture, Indigenous history and storytelling, written by a Wiradjuri author. It features colour photographs of animals, plants and habitats, as well as illustrations by Indigenous artists Kristie Peters and Scott 'Sauce' Towney.

The Story Doctors

Written by Boori Monty Pryor, illustrated by Rita Sinclair
Allen & Unwin

This is a book for everybody. Welcome! Take a seat! And listen carefully, because this story has a heartbeat. Can you feel it, there in your chest?

Legendary storyteller Boori Monty Pryor invites us to travel with him from the first footsteps through 80,000+ years of strength, sickness, and immense possibility.

From the very first stories and art, to dance, language, and connection with the land, Boori offers a powerful, beautiful, and deeply rich account of Australia's true history, drawing on a lifetime of wisdom, and on his generous instinct to teach and heal.

An exquisitely illustrated celebration of the power of storytelling to unite us, how nature connects us, and the wonderful truth that the medicine needed for healing lies within us all.

Walking in Gagudju Country: Exploring the Monsoon Forest

Written by Diane Lucas and Ben Tyler, illustrated by Emma Long
Allen & Unwin

Diane Lucas, Ben Tyler and Emma Long share their knowledge and love of the Top End in this enchanting and accessible book about one of Australia's most ancient and beautiful ecosystems.


Picture Fiction

The Giant and the Sea

The Giant and the Sea

Written by: Trent Jamieson
Illustrated by: Rovina Cai
Hachette Australia

A giant stands on the shore, watching the sea. She never moves, never speaks, until the day she turns to a little girl and says, ‘The sea is rising.’

The brave girl takes the message to the town. But when the people refuse to listen, the giant must find another way to save them.

Perfect for the children of the Climate Strike, this is a lyrical and deeply moving story about climate change, standing up for what you believe in, and the power of hope.


Tree Beings

Tree Beings

Written by: Raymond Huber
Illustrated by: Sandra Severgnini
Exisle Publishing (EK Books Imprint)

We depend on trees for our survival, yet few of us understand just how fascinating these beings really are. With a foreword by the world-renowned anthropologist Jane Goodall, Tree Beings is an adventure through the secret world of trees.

You’ll also learn the science behind trees, including discoveries about how they ‘talk’ and why they are our best allies in the fight to slow down climate change. Explore tree wisdom from many different cultures and some famous and fascinating tree species, brought to life in a vibrant combination of illustrations and text.

Trees are essential to our world. Tree Beings is your guide to appreciating trees through the stories of people who love them. So strap on your hiking boots, and enjoy this informative adventure through the wonderful world of Tree Beings!


The Power of Positive Pranking

The Power of Positive Pranking

Written by: Nat Amoore
Penguin Random House Australia

Green Peas is our name and pranking’s our game! A symphony of alarm clocks at assembly? Yep, that was us. A stampede of fluffy guinea pigs? It’s next on our agenda. But for me, Cookie and Zeke, it’s about more than just fun. We’re determined to make a difference. And when the adults won’t listen, us kids will find a way to be heard—as long as we can stay out of detention! No activist is too small, no prank too big… and things are about to get personal.

Picture Fiction

Brother Moon

Brother Moon

Written by: Maree McCarthy Yoelu
Illustrated by: Samantha Fry
Magabala Books

Beneath the dark sky of the Northern Territory, Hippy-Boy is captivated when Great-Grandpa Liman tells him the mysterious story of his brother and how it guides his connection to Country.

Great-Grandpa is a masterful storyteller and, as the tale unfolds, he finally reveals his brother is the moon—a wonder of the universe. Hippy-Boy learns how his great-grandfather uses the phases of the moon when he goes hunting and fishing, and why it is important for us all to have an understanding of the natural world.

Liman (Harry Morgan), the author’s grandfather, was a respected Wadjigany man, a leader amongst his people and the community. Liman was born at Manjimamany in the Northern Territory in 1916. He was a canoe maker, hunter, community mediator, and a family man who lived off the land and travelled the seas. Liman spoke Batjamalh, his first language, and other languages from the Daly River area

Larry Leadbeater: Field notes from a fairy possum

Larry Leadbeater: field notes from a fairy possum

Written and illustrated by: Jo Watson
Little Steps Publishing

Larry is a tiny fairy possum with a tremendous problem.
He’s on a mission to find a home that’s just right for him.
Brimming with friendship and optimism, his adventure invites us into a world where even the most challenging circumstances can be overcome.



Written and illustrated by: Sha'an d'Anthes
Hachette Australia

Fern lives in a colourless, lifeless city and has only ever seen trees as pictures in her books. Fern is told that the bandits who come in the middle of the night to steal from the city dwellers are bad guys, but when she follows them back to their home she discovers a land of colour, life, friendship and a future she believes in.

is the second picture book from Sydney-based artist Sha’an d’Anthes, whose career has seen her travel, show and sell her work all over the world.

Give me some space!

Give me some space!

Written by: Philip Bunting
Scholastic Australia - Omnibus Books

Una dreams of a life in Space.
Life on Earth is just so so-so.
But how will she get there? And will she complete her mission to discover life in Space? And did she remember to feed Neil the goldfish?


Hold on! Saving the spotted handfish

Hold on! Saving the spotted handfish

Written by: Gina M. Newton
Illustrated by: Rachel Tribout
CSIRO Publishing

This is the story of a quirky and primitive little fish that is famous for two reasons: walking on its ‘hands’ (pectoral fins), and being one of the first marine fish in the world to be listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Dive into the undersea world of this quirky little species and discover how scientists are stepping in to help save them.

Ninja Bandicoots and Turbo-Charged Wombats

Ninja Bandicoots and Turbo-Charged Wombats

Written by: Hazel Flynn
Piccolo Nero (Black Inc Books)

Why are 1,000 trees needed for every koala in a zoo? How do you check a tree-kangaroo’s pouch for joeys? Why is a wombat’s poo really square? And how do dogs help look after ‘extinct’ bandicoots?

In this factual, involving book, 9-12 year-olds learn about endangered Australian wildlife, including Leadbeater’s and Mountain Pygmy possums, Baw Baw frogs, wedge-tailed eagles, orange-bellied parrots and Guthega skinks, and they meet the zookeepers and conservation experts working hard to save them.

The Wonderful Wisdom of Ants.

The Wonderful Wisdom of Ants.

Written and illustrated by: Philip Bunting
Scholastic Australia - Omnibus Books

The answers to life’s biggest questions can be found in the smallest places, once you’re ready to look.

Get set for an insightful (and hilarious) peek into what we can learn from the world of the ant.


The Carbon-Neutral Adventures of the Indefatigable EnviroTeens

The Carbon-Neutral Adventures of the Indefatigable EnviroTeens

Written and illustrated by: First Dog on the Moon
Allen & Unwin

Meet our superheroes:

– Binky, aka The Monotreme!

– Worried Norman, once bitten by a radioactive croissant and now Pastry Person!

– Letitia, an occasionally bossy science-wombat and genius inventor!

Together, they are the EnviroTeens and they are about to get very, very angry. Singleuse Plastic Brendan may have an evil plan to destroy all the world’s turtles with his dastardly tur-tele-pooter but, believe it or not, there is something even more sinister than an angry plastic bag on a garbage island in the middle of the ocean … Climate change! Oh no! The EnviroTeens will do anything to stop this impending disaster: scale slippery volcanoes, scurry through forests full of poisonous armpit monsters, even meet Senator Ian, the Climate Denialist Potato. But can three teenagers and a chicken save the whole world? Why not, nobody else is! Maybe they are in with a chance? I can’t look, it’s too exciting! A hilarious graphic novel about a group of teens who are determined to clean the planet and clear the air

Edie’s Experiments 2: How to Be the Best

Edie’s Experiments 2: How to Be the Best

Written by: Charlotte Barkla
Illustrated by: Sandy Flett
Penguin Random House Australia

I’m Edie and I’m obsessed with science.

So I was sure that Annie B and I would win the Eco Fair competition.

Then Dean Starlight arrived and started sabotaging our project.

Now the competition has become an epic science battle of robotic spider attacks, exploding foam and sneaky spying.

Dean thinks he’s the best scientist of Class 5Z, but we’ll show him…

Weirdo #15: Planet Weird

Weirdo #15: Planet Weird

Written by: Anh Doh
Illustrated by: Jules Faber
Scholastic Australia

Not only is it PLANET DAY,
it’s also Weir Do’s BIRTHDAY!
And his party’s going to be so HUGE
you’ll see it from space!
It won’t be easy . . . but it will be FUNNY!