The Environment Award For Children's Literature

The Environment Award For Children's Literature

The Wilderness Society's annual celebration of Australia's finest children's nature authors

Every year the Wilderness Society shortlists the best children's nature books, before a panel of judges crowns a winner. Showcasing some of the best writers and illustrators working in children's literature, the award promotes a love of nature in kids.

We believe that children’s books have a profound effect in shaping who we become as grown-ups. The stories we read and enjoy as kids impact the adventures we take, the way we see and experience our landscapes, and sometimes our outlook on life.

In 1994, a group of environmental educators in Tasmania wanted to celebrate books that promoted a love of nature, a sense of caring for the world, and curiosity in children.

This group quickly realised that there was no such award for excellence in environmental writing for children, so they asked the Wilderness Society to help. Thus, the Environment Award for Children’s Literature was born.

Promoting a love of nature in children is one of the fundamental elements to building a society that respects and protects the places we love.

The 2020 awards

Taking place in the inaugural Nature Book Week, the winners of the Environment Award For Children's Literature 2020 have been announced in a special awards ceremony. Watch the full event below, hosted by the Wilderness Society's National Campaigns Director Amelia Young and this year's three incredible judges—TV star and children’s author Rove McManus, science communicator Dr Jen Martin and award-winning author David Lawrence.

The winners! 

From an extensive shortlist we are pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 Environment Award For Children's Literature.

In each category the winners are: 

Picture fiction: One Careless Night; written and illustrated by Christina Booth; published by Walker Books Australia. 

Christina Booth said: "I am very honoured to have my book, One Careless night chosen as a winner of this important award. Every book that was entered is essential in the telling of stories that help engage, educate, and inspire our younger generation and adults to foster a love, a concern, and awareness of our environment.

"The story of the journey of the last known living thylacine is the story of all animals who have become extinct. I hope that this story will help to change attitudes and inspire action to ensure it is not the story for our current endangered species."

Fiction: Super Sidekicks 2: Ocean's Revenge; written and illustrated by Gavin Aung Than; published by Penguin Random House Australia.

Gavin Aung Than said: "What an honour! To be honest, Super Sidekicks: Ocean's Revenge just started out as a way for me to draw a giant plastic trash monster destroying Sydney. Thankfully, I was able to weave in a timely message about ocean waste and political negligence. I'm so happy that now more kid's might find this story and enjoy a fun superhero adventure that hides a sneaky environmental theme."

Non fiction: Explore Your World: Weird, Wild, Amazing!; written by Tim Flannery. illustrated by Sam Caldwell; published by Hardie Grant Egmont.

Tim Flannery said: "I just can't believe that Weird, Wild, Amazing! has won this fabulous award! I'm just so delighted and humbled, and filled with joy at the thought of the award sticker on the book."

A rich back catalogue

You can check out the entire catalogue of more than 25 years of children’s nature books.

Last year's award-winning book.

Two authors who now find their work in this collection are Trent Maxwell and David Lawrence. They won last year's Environment Award for Children's Literature with their book in the Maxi The Lifeguard series, The Stormy Protest

The Stormy Protest shows kids that they can stand up in their local community and do what’s right,” says Trent. “And hopefully they can protect our oceans for years to come.”

Learn more about Trent and how he bore witness to the Deepwater Horizon disaster, something that inspired him to want to safeguard oceans for future generations. 

Take your children's love of nature further

With the help of amazing authors and illustrators, we’ve put together lesson plans to help spark curiosity in kids. Write or illustrate stories about nature and let us know how you get on! 

For the grown-ups 

Image: Dan Haley

For grown-up book worms, we've compiled a list of some of the best nature books of recent times that should be on your shelves. From a life philosophy based on berries in Braiding Sweetgrass to the amazing way trees communicate in The Hidden Life Of Trees, there are plenty of awe-inspiring reads to get stuck into.