News - 12 August 2017

And the winners are…

At a ceremony at The Little Bookroom in Melbourne today, authors, illustrators, publishers and members of the public came together in celebration of an incredible shortlist of books, and to find out the winners of the Environment Award for Children’s Literature (EACL) 2017.

And those winners were: Chooks in Dinner Suits by Diane Jackson Hill and Craig Smith (picture fiction category); Welcome to Country by Aunty Joy Murphy and Lisa Kennedy (nonfiction category); and Rainforest Camp: Juliet Nearly a Vet by Rebecca Johnson (fiction category).

Guest speaker Trace Balla—winner of the 2015 Award for her picture book Rivertime—spoke about the moment she first wandered into a logging coupe as a child. This was the catalyst for lifelong involvement in conservation—including an association with The Wilderness Society that dates back decades. Trace eventually came to the realisation that the best way to get her message across, and make the biggest impact, was by creating picture books about the natural world for children to learn from and enjoy. It turned out, all she had to do was add a dash of fiction to her sketches!

In her acceptance speech, winner of the fiction category, Rebecca Johnson, noted that combining science and fiction was one of the best ways she had found to engage with younger people about sustainability and conservation.

Lisa Kennedy—one of the winners of the non-fiction category, with author Aunty Joy May—spoke about how environment is country and people are country. She also touched on the Indigenous connection to native wildlife—even animals that have gone extinct, which she said continue to live within them. A connection like this, and the connection to country, she said, is not biological but spiritual.

Not many people get to interview and pet the subject they’re writing about, but this was true for Diane Jackson Hill and Craig Smith. Their book, about Little Penguins, won this year’s picture fiction category.

Congratulations once again to all the winning and shortlisted authors, illustrators and publishers. And a huge thanks to The Little Bookroom, for providing the ideal venue for this event.

We look forward to seeing you next year!