The longest running nature book award for kids

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My name is Zindzi—you might have seen me on Play School or with my band Zindzi and the Zillionaires.

I’m one of the judges for the 2024 Karajia and Environment Awards for Children’s Literature. I am so happy to be a part of it this year in particular because the Environment Award is turning 30!

That’s 30 years of sharing and celebrating stories that promote a love of nature in kids. It was in 1994 that a group of environmental educators in Lutruwita / Tasmania came to the Wilderness Society with the idea of the Award. In 2022, the Karajia Award for Children’s Literature was added to celebrate this continent’s First Nations authors and illustrators. These books honour stories about connection to Country, language and culture.

This year 18 books have been shortlisted across the Karajia and Environment Awards for Children’s Literature. The Wilderness Society is partnering with Harry Hartog, and for every shortlisted book purchased they’ll donate 10% of sales back to the Wilderness Society to help protect nature for future generations.

Head over to Harry Hartog to check out the shortlist!


30 years Karajia and Environment Award for Children's Literature the 2024 shortlist. and then it has the 18 book covers of the shortlisted books.

In my 10 years at Play School, I have learned so much about early childhood education and how to relate to kids in a way that inspires and empowers them. 

This year’s shortlist does exactly that. Each book shares a different message about how to connect to nature, protect nature or learn about Australia’s First Nations culture, connection to Country and language.

Does the reader or listener in your life love:

Tales of adventure? Then try Ruby and the Pen or The Littlest Penguin
To learn about what nature is telling us? Try Turtle and the Flood or Ask Aunty: Seasons
To explore the secrets within nature: Try How We Came to Be: Creatures of Camouflage and Mimicry or The Trees
First Nations stories exploring language and culture: Try In My Blood It Runs or Gurril Storm Bird

And that’s only to name a few, head to Harry Hartog to inspire the child in your life (or fuel your inner child) with the 2024 shortlist!

Through my music and acting, I always aim to tell a story that empowers children. I want stories that demonstrate kindness, curiosity and empathy for each other, for ourselves, and for nature. All the books shortlisted here do just that.

The rest of the judging panel—Jasmine Seymour, Jess McGeachin, Kylie Soanes, Amy Thunig, Danae Coots—and I have a tough job ahead of us in choosing the winner.

The winner will be announced during Nature Book Week 14-20 October.


Zindzi Okenyo
2024 Environment Award for Children’s Literature judge

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