Wilderness Society Environment Award for Children’s Literature: 2021 shortlist announced
Encouraging children to take an interest in nature, and to feel a sense of responsibility for the unique fauna and flora we love, is one of the fundamental elements to building a society that respects and protects our unique landscapes. That’s why, since 1994, the Wilderness Society has awarded outstanding children’s books that promote a love of nature, and a sense of caring and responsibility for the environment.
We are thrilled to announce that Hold On! Saving the Spotted Handfish written by Gina Newton and illustrated by Rachel Tribout has been shortlisted for the 2021 Wilderness Society Environment Award for Children’s Literature in the non-fiction category.
The Spotted Handfish is an iconic and quirky little fish that’s been around since the time of the dinosaurs. It is famous for two reasons: walking on its ‘hands’ (pectoral fins), and for being one of the first marine fish in the world to be recognised as critically endangered. The species is now restricted to a small marine area off Tasmania and has faced a series of compounding threats, including invasive seastars, pollution and climate change.
Gina Newton is the author of Hold On! Saving the Spotted Handfish, and former National President of the Australian Marine Sciences Association. She was really thrilled to learn that her book was being acknowledged by the Wilderness Society.
“Being shortlisted by the Wilderness Society’s Environment Award for Children’s Literature represents the culmination and union of my two great passions – writing for children, and the conservation of Australia’s unique wildlife and environments. The Spotted Handfish is an amazing example of how science can help with a conservation problem” shares Gina.
“It is also an honour for me professionally as it helps children to recognise the importance of science and scientists. I hope this award takes me one step closer to achieving a personal goal that I have had for over twenty years – to make the Spotted Handfish a household name around Australia!”
Rachel Tribout is the illustrator who produced the beautiful illustrations in Hold On! and she was also excited to learn the news.
“It means a lot to me to be shortlisted by the Wilderness Society’s Environment Award for Children’s Literature. It is one of these great moments when work and passion are aligning perfectly on many levels! I am also happy that the Spotted Handfish and the work done by the scientific community are getting some attention, and I am glad to have participated positively in this outcome.”
We’d like to congratulate Gina and Rachel, as well as all the authors, illustrators, and publishers of the other shortlisted titles. We would also like to offer our sincere thanks and appreciation for the Wilderness Society, and all that they do to encourage children to take an interest in nature and recognise the importance of environmental writing for children.
If you are keen to learn more about the Spotted Handfish then you can order Hold On! Saving the Spotted Handfish from our website, or from all good bookstores. Teacher’s notes are also available to download free from our site.