Media Releases - 21 May 2020

The Environment Award for Children's Literature 2020 Shortlist announced!

From the bizarre and beautiful creatures that inhabit our world to rollicking stories where kids are superheroes for nature the shortlist for the Wilderness Society's Environment Award for Children's Literature (EACL) celebrates excellence in picture, fiction and non-fiction books for all kids.

The EACL award has been celebrating excellence in nature books for over 25 years. This year the award received more than 70 entries. The 10 books that made the 2020 shortlist was announced today on Facebook Live with our judges.

See our full breakdown of the books in the shortlist and the live unveiling by our three judges. And below, the books listed by category.

"Looking at the books shortlisted this year, we have fun comic books, beautiful Aboriginal folklore stories and everything else between," says TV star, children's author, and 2020 EACL judge, Rove McManus.

"I'm really pleased to be part of this award. I've been part of conservation initiatives before but nothing like this that is tailor-made for the next generation.

“I think it is important that there are people out there who are trying to share the idea of how important it is to take care of our planet.

“To be able to share that message in a way that's also entertaining and creative is not easy to do. So I think it's supremely important to have a prize like this that recognises those that can," says Rove.

Candice Lemon-Scott, author of the 2020 shortlisted fiction book Eco Rangers Microbat Mayhem was thrilled to get the news.

“The Wilderness Society does such important work for conservation, and advocating this through my stories is my goal with the Eco Rangers books,” says Lemon-Scott.

“My hope is to share and pass on my love of nature to children through the stories, especially those who may not have access to nature due to living in urban or city regions. I’m also a qualified wildlife carer, so I enjoy sharing some of that knowledge through the stories as well.”

Joining Rove in the unenviable task of judging this year's shortlist are award-winning children's author, David Lawrence and science communication expert, Dr Jen Martin.

The ten books on the 2020 shortlist paint a vibrant picture of Australia’s wildlife, wild places and Indigenous culture. They also aim to inspire action, from superhero characters in Super SideKicks 2: Ocean’s Revenge to the practical environmental activities in You Can Change the World.

"Books can teach you about nature, but they can also convince you of the power that you have in the world," says Dr Martin, senior lecturer in Science Communication at Melbourne University.

“Kids need to feel empowered to make change. Books can often do that because characters in a great story can sometimes enact incredible changes in the world.”

Past winners of the award include acclaimed Australian children’s authors Tim Winton, Paul Jennings, Jackie French, the late Narelle Oliver, Coral Tulloch, Graeme Base and Wendy Orr.

The winners of the fiction, non-fiction and picture fiction categories of the award will be announced in September. 

All books on the 2020 shortlist can be purchased online from 21 May from Gleebooks.

The EACL is now in its 26th year! Click here to check out the 2019 winners. 

For further comment contact Micaela Jemison on 0457 111 640.

Interviews with the judges and the shortlisted authors and illustrators can be arranged on request.

The winning titles in each category were as follows: 

Picture fiction 

One Careless Night by Christina Booth Publisher: Walker Books Australia

Wilam by Andrew Kelly & Aunty Joy Murphy Illustrator: Lisa Kennedy; Publisher: Walker Books Australia

The Fate Of Fausto by Oliver Jeffers Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

One Tree by Christopher Cheng Illustrator: Bruce Whatley; Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia


Eco Rangers: Microbat Mayhem by Candice Lemon-Scott; Illustrator: Aśka; Designed by Rachel Lawston Publisher: New Frontier Publishing

Super Sidekicks 2: Ocean's Revenge by Gavin Aung Than Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia


You Can Change the World by Lucy Bell Illustrator: Astred Hicks; Designer: Elysia Clapin; Publisher: Pantera Press

Australia's Most Curious Creatures by Tania McCartney Publisher: National Library of Australia (NLA Publishing)

A Hollow is a Home by Abbie Mitchell Illustrator: Astred Hicks; Publisher: CSIRO Publishing

Explore Your World: Weird, Wild, Amazing! by Tim Flannery Illustrator: Sam Caldwell; Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont