The Environment Awards for Children’s Literature — Shortlist 2021

  • Published on September 3, 2021

The Environment Awards for Children’s Literature — Shortlist 2021

When I was recently approached by the Wilderness Society to Share information about this year’s Environment Award for Children’s Literature, I didn’t hesitate. I have previously interviewed two authors whose books have won Environment Awards: Rebecca Johnson and Aleesah Darlison. I have also published a list of picture books with environmental themes and am keen to promote the environment and what we can do to preserve and protect it. Picture books and the environment — what’s not to love?

Now, over to the Wilderness Society — the following information was provided by them.

Every year, the Wilderness Society celebrates Australia’s finest children’s nature authors through their “The Environment Award for Children’s Literature.”

2021 shortlist is now out, with 13 books ranging from the fiction, non-fiction and picture fiction genres.

These books tell stories that encourage children to appreciate nature, take action and feel proud in understanding the great movement they all are a part of.  Each author in this shortlist has crafted unique stories that celebrate their love for children, the environment, country, space, wildlife, and story-telling!




The Wilderness Society’s annual celebration of Australia’s finest children’s nature authors, The Environment Award for Children’s Literature , has announced the 13 books that have made the 2021 shortlist, from 100 entries.

Every year, the Wilderness Society shortlists the best children’s nature books, before a panel of judges crowns a winner for three categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Picture Fiction. The award showcases and celebrates some of the best writers and illustrators working in children’s literature.

The winners will be announced in September at a special event during Nature Book Week (6 – 12 September).

The 13 books on the 2021 shortlist paint a vibrant picture of our environment – from astronauts longing for a life on earth, to First Nations stories and adventurous fairy possums.  They also highlight the current climate issues facing the world today, with one book featuring a child’s desperate pleas for action falling on deaf ears as the seas rise around her town.

The Nature Book Week and Environment Award for Children’s Literature Ambassador is ecologist and science communications expert, Dr Jen Martin. Joining her as judges of this year’s Award are acclaimed playwright and children’s author, Hilary Bell; the New York Times bestselling cartoonist and creator of last year’s Fiction Winner, Gavin Aung Than; as well as sustainability advocates, Sadie Chrestman and Matthew Evans, who were both featured on SBS’ TV series, Gourmet Farmer.

‘Books for children about nature hold an incredible position of power in the world right now. At a time when many kids are spending more time indoors as a result of the pandemic, books have the power to connect us to nature, even when we can’t be in it,” said  Nature Book Week and Environment Award for Children’s Literature Ambassador Dr Jen Martin.

“The Environment Award for Children’s Literature celebrates the superbly talented authors and illustrators who are ensuring our kids have the opportunity to get lost in nature without leaving home,” said Dr Martin.

Maree McCarthy Yoelu, 2021 shortlisted entrant and author of Brother Moon said, “It’s such an honour to be shortlisted in the 2021 Environment Award for Children’s Literature. Brother Moon shines a light on the important relationships our First Nation’s people have had with nature all along and it’s what I hope for all our children to acquire – a true connection with the natural world.”

Never before has such an award been more necessary, said Hilary Bell, Award judge and acclaimed playwright and children’s author. “We are facing the greatest challenge in human history – that of protecting our planet and ensuring for our children a future that’s worth living.

“Authors of children’s books are tasked with addressing this fact in a way that doesn’t scare young readers but rather, inspires them. A book that is beautifully illustrated or written with wit and charm encourages children to appreciate nature, to enlist their adults into action, and to take comfort in knowing they’re part of a greater movement.”

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

To purchase any of the books, pop in to independent booksellers Harry Hartog or head to their website.

2021 Shortlist

Picture Fiction

2021 environment awards Fiction shortlist

The Giant and the Sea by Trent Jamieson, illustrated by Rovina Cai. Hachette Australia.

Bandits by Sha’an d’Anthes. Hachette Australia.

Give Me Some Space! By Philip Bunting. Scholastic Australia—Omnibus Books.

Brother Moon by Maree McCarthy, illustrated by Samantha Fry. Magabala Books.

Larry Leadbeater: Field notes from a Fairy Possum by Jo Watson. Little Steps Publishing.


2021 environment awards non-Fiction shortlist

The Wonderful Wisdom of Ants by Philip Bunting. Scholastic Australia—Omnibus Books

Hold on! Saving the Spotted Handfish by Gina Newton, illustrated by Rachel Tribout. CSIRO Publishing.

Tree Beings by Raymond Huber, illustrated by Sandra Severgnini. Exisle Publishing (EK Books Imprint).

Ninja Bandicoots and Turbo-Charged Wombats by Hazel Flynn. Piccolo Nero (Black Inc Books)


2021 environment awards Fiction shortlist

Edie’s Experiments 2: How to Be the Best by Charlotte Barkla, illustrated by Sandy Flett. Penguin Random House Australia.

The Carbon-Neutral Adventures of the Indefatigable EnviroTeens by First Dog on the Moon. Allen & Unwin.

The Power of Positive Pranking by Nat Amoore. Penguin Random House Australia.

Weirdo #15: Planet Weird by Anh Do, illustrated by Jules Faber. Scholastic Australia


You can find out more about these books and the awards on the Wilderness Society’s website.

You can also find some wonderful lesson plans on their website.

Check out this page for Nature Book Week Events, including story readings, which begin on 6 September.

The Award winners will be announced on Thursday 9 September.

I hope you enjoy the rich resources made available by the Wilderness Society.

readilearn teaching resources for the first three years of school

While you are here, remember to check out the complete readilearn collection of

over 480 teaching resources for the first three years of school
Resources beyond worksheets – lessons for teachers made by teachers.
Let readilearn lighten your workload.


Browse resources now

If you haven’t already, follow @readilearn on Twitter and readilearnteachingresources on Instagram and like the readilearnteachingresources Facebook page.

I appreciate your feedback and comments. Please share your thoughts below.

Follow Blog By Email

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new readilearn posts by email and stay up to date with new resources.


    What a great list. So important to get them into the hands of children! Looked a couple of them up on Amazon. Do American books cost more when you purchase them on Amazon? Just curious.

    They are great books, Patricia. I don’t know the answer to your question about Amazon. I either buy books locally or through the Book Depository which has free shipping world wide. I guess you could compare the prices on Amazon and the Book Depository. BD is speedy in delivery too.

    What a worthwhile award for children’s books, Norah. It gives children and families opportunity to engage in the natural world and become committed to the acting as stewards of our environments. These authors give children character who can also be role models.

    Hi Norah, these are all great sounding books. Teaching children about nature is so important. My sons learn about global warming and plastic pollution. If we’d learned about these things maybe the world would be in a better place right now.

    I agree with you, Robbie. Funny thing is, I’ve been looking at a book today that I’m considering having restored for my granddaughter for her tenth birthday. It was one my mother had when she was about that age. The dedication is beautiful: “To the children of Australia in the hope of enlisting their sympathies for the many beautiful, amiable, and frolicsome creatures of their fair land; whose extinction, through ruthless destruction is being surely accomplished.’
    Beautiful isn’t it? The book was written in 1899!

    This is a wonderful list, Norah. Our grandchildren are at the age where they love getting out in nature and in awe of everything around them. As you say, all we can learn to preserve and protect our environment. I had not thought about how these books for children “…hold an incredible position of power in the world right now.” Thank you for this! Great gift suggestions. Heading out for a hike with our 5 and 7-year-old this morning. Your words will stay with me. (an aside: had to refollow you – seems to be happening often on wp)

    Thank you for your lovely comment, Erica. I’m sure you enjoyed your hike with your grandchildren. Such precious moments. So nice to get them out into nature. That’s probably one of the most beneficial experiences in many ways. I agree with you about that statement about books too.
    Thank you for refollowing. I have noticed from time to time that different blogs appear and disappear from my inbox with no explanation. I know I’m still following you. I received a notification recently (I’m pretty sure) – just haven’t got to it yet, but I will. 🙂

Please share your thoughts. I love it when you do.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: