The 2020 Environment Award for Children’s Literature Shortlist

The 2020 Environment Award for Children’s Literature Shortlist

We're proud to announce this year's shortlist for the Environment Award For Children's Literature, selected by our three incredible judges—TV star and children’s author Rove McManus, science communicator Dr Jen Martin and award-winning author David Lawrence.

Books we read as children become part of who we are, shaping our values and creating a connection to wildlife, rivers, forests and beaches.

That’s why since 1994, the Wilderness Society has been celebrating excellence in children’s nature books with the Environment Award for Children’s Literature. 

On 21 May, our three incredible judges—TV star and children’s author Rove McManus, science communicator Dr Jen Martin and award-winning author David Lawrence—announced the shortlist on Facebook Live. 

Our judges reveal the shortlist

Rove McManus, Dr Jen Martin and David Lawrence take us through their favourite books to have made the shortlist.

Our panel of judges announce the 2020 shortlist and run through the entries.

Through the generosity of Gleebooks, you can now purchase any of these shortlisted books and 10% of the profits will be donated back to the Wilderness Society to protect the places we love.

Books are shortlisted in three categories: Picture fiction, Fiction and Nonfiction.

Here is the 2020 Environment Award for Children’s Literature shortlist:


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

Kids are on a mission to make our Earth a better, safer, happier place, and you can join in!

Every day, we see problems we would like to fix. A piece of rubbish in a green, grassy park.

Plastic water bottles buried in the sand at the beach. A garbage bin overflowing onto the street. A skinny, stray dog. A homeless person on a cold day.

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

Did you know that platypus have retractable webbing on their hind feet to enable an easy transition from swimming to digging?

In "Fauna: Australia's Most Curious Creatures", readers are constantly introduced to facts that delight, amaze and induce sheer wonder at the clever design and adaptability of our much-loved native fauna.

The information on each individual species is presented in small 'bites' to hold the interest of younger readers, while the information taken in total gives a comprehensive summary of each species, including breeding and feeding habits, physical characteristics, habitat and other unique and quirky features.

"Fauna" also has a strong conservation message with an 'extinction roll call' and a rating for the vulnerability of endangered species.

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

Take a peek into the world of tree hollows and the animals that call them home. To you and me, a tree hollow is just a hole or tunnel in a tree or branch. But to an animal, that hollow may be a bedroom, a hiding place, nursery or shelter. It is the ultimate tree house! Find out how hollows are created, why they are threatened, and meet scientists who spend their time hollow-hunting.

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

Get ready for a whole new look at the world around you. You’re about to meet the weirdest, wildest and most amazing animals on the planet. Are zombie jellyfish real? Do frogs like opera? Which animals eat poop? (And more importantly, WHY?!) What’s it like to wrestle a python?

Buckle up – you’re about to find out!

Bursting with bizarre facts, packed with vibrant illustrations and guided by one of the world’s greatest living scientists, Professor Tim Flannery, this deep-dive into the natural world will enthral and enlighten readers. It will also make them laugh out loud … and squirm in disgust.




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

"The Eco Rangers, Ebony and Jay, are having so much fun at the local adventure park. But when they find two abandoned baby bats, they rescue them right away. Then they discover more microbats inside an old rollercoaster ride. Can the Eco Rangers save the animals in time before the ride is destroyed?

Eco Rangers is an action-packed series centred around two best friends, who rescue and rehabilitate sick and injured wildlife through their conservation centre. Ebony and Jay love helping others and looking after the environment. In each story, they meet new animal friends, solve mysteries and learn more about nature. Meet the Eco Rangers and dive into their brand new adventures!"

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

The Mother of the Seas is sick of humans using the oceans as a junkyard, so she decides to give the land dwellers a taste of their own medicine. Prepare for an unbelievable underwater menace that threatens to destroy the entire world!




One Careless Night by Christina Booth Publisher: Walker Books Australia; Category: Picture Fiction

"Where the mist swallows mountains and winds whisper through ancient trees, a mother and her pup run wild and free. They hunt, but they are also hunted. Carted away. Sold for bounty. And then, one careless night … The last thylacine is gone.

The beautiful but heartbreaking story of Australia's last thylacine (Tasmanian tiger), which died in captivity." 

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

As ngua rises, Bunjil soars over mountain ash, flying higher and higher as the wind warms. Below, Birrarung begins its long winding path down to palem warreen. Wilam – home.

Yarra Riverkeeper Andrew Kelly joins award-winning picture book duo Aunty Joy Murphy and Lisa Kennedy to tell the Indigenous and geographical story of Melbourne’s beautiful Yarra river, from its source to its mouth; from its pre-history to the present day.

The Fate Of Fausto by Oliver Jeffers Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers; Category: Picture Fiction

A stunningly presented modern-day fable from world-renowned talent Oliver Jeffers.

There was once a man who believed he owned everything and set out to survey what was his.

“You are mine,” Fausto said to the flower, the sheep and the mountain, and they bowed before him. But they were not enough for Fausto, so he conquered a boat and set out to sea…

Working for the first time in traditional lithography, world-renowned talent, Oliver Jeffers, combines spectacular art with powerful prose, hand set using traditional lead type, to create a poignant modern-day fable to touch the hearts of adults and children alike.

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

One tall tree on the mountain once marked Grandfather’s farm. Now there is a busy city and Grandfather lives with us in our apartment.

Once he told stories but now he stays silent. Until one day, in the city market, I find something precious . . . something that brings Grandfather’s memories alive again.