2018 Awards Day

Here are the winners, the KOALA Legend and Honour books that were announced at Cranbrook Junior School on Thursday 8th November 2018. More details and photos of the day will be posted soon.



Book your seats now!

School bookings are now open for the 32nd KOALA Awards Day.

Date: Thursday 8th November 2018

Venue: Cranbrook Junior School 6 Kent Rd Rose Bay

Time: From 9.30 for 10.00am start



2017 Awards Day

The winners, honour awards and KOALA Legend were announced at North Rocks Public School today.

Here are the ceremony presentation slides with videos. Run your own awards announcement at school!

The stage was set, the amazing displays in preparation for what was about to unfold in place.  North Rocks Public School was ready.  Students warmly welcomed visiting students and their teachers; proud to talk about their school and show-off their beautiful projects.

The Children’s Bookshop was set-up and ready to sell.  Slowly and tentatively students stepped forward.  How would they spend their money at the bookstall?  Which book? Which author?  Who would they meet? Who would they see?  Which is your favourite they asked of each other? This one’s great, they were selling their favourites to each other. They chatted quietly (it was a library after all!) amongst themselves as they paced the displays.

The tension was high as they entered the hall. Who would win this year? Would it be their favourite?  So many questions unanswered…

Tony Flowers had his back to the audience while he created magic with watercolour and pen. The children all polite and quietly filed in neat rows.  Their cheers of hello were demure and respectful, but laughter soon erupted as the special guests told us their favourite words. ‘Stupid pineapple’ or was that ‘Super pineapple’, ‘Delightful’, ‘Joy’, ‘Serendipity’, ‘Memories’ and more.  Trust those clever authors and illustrators to come up with ones that spoke to us all.

The drum roll rumbled and there were shouts of joy as Andy Lee’s ‘Do not open this book’ was announced as the favourite picture book for 2017. 

Quietly sitting again for the next, the drum roll came, louder this time… Aaron Blabey’s ‘Bad Guys episode 2’ had won the younger readers' prize.

They were well and truly ready for the older readers, on the edge of their seats the children sat before exploding in noise, the ‘78-storey treehouse’ by Andy and Terry had won the older readers' category.

The final award, went to Jackie French’s ‘Pennies for Hitler’.  A clear favourite with the older members of the audience.

The thank you messages were in person and on screen.  It didn’t matter which, the students loved each unique one.  But perhaps, the standout was dead bunny Brad’s surprise on-screen appearance!

Excitement rippled through the audience once more as the LEGEND for 2017 was announced. Deborah Abela, favourite to so many, is ushered into the title by very enthusiastic St. Andrew’s Cathedral and Blackheath Public School students.  An honour well deserved, as many a young reader has been made by her wonderful books.

The fun continued as students rummaged under their chairs, desperate to find stickers for free books.  Lucky schools won book packs and Tony’s completed artworks.

Still more to come as the authors and illustrators made their way to sign books. Students stood in tidy lines and waited their turn, eager to meet the heroes before them.

What did they say to them?  What did they ask in return?  Students came away beaming and giggling and the feedback to staff?  Can we come next year?

From Svetlana Paul and the students, St. Andrew's Cathedral School





The votes are close so make sure all of your students have their say by this Friday, 22nd September.

Awards Day at North Rocks Public School is shaping up to be a wonderful celebration of Australian children's literature. Here is a short video of last year's proceedings at Blackheath to get you inspired. 





30th Birthday - Awards Day 2016


Good morning everyone, my name is Megan Light and I am the 7th President of the Kids Own Australian Literature Awards. It is my great pleasure to welcome you to Blackheath today to celebrate the stories that you all love and to acknowledge and honour those who create and bring them to us.

This year is a special milestone for KOALA – 30 years.

KOALA began in 1986. It was the creation of a group of motivated volunteers who valued both children’s opinions and the promotion of Australian books and authors. After a great deal of work and the involvement of just about every school, library and publishing body they could muster, the scene was set for the first awards ceremony at Taronga Zoo in 1987.

We have come a little bit closer to the bush for awards day this year, and warmly welcome some very special guests to help us celebrate.

A number of past KOALA Council members have joined us today including Janet Sorby – the first KOALA president, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Presidents Miranda Harrowell, Val Noake and Antonina Fieni; past council members - Yvonne Louis, Cathie and Alan Tasker from KOALA books, Di Simpson, Marita Thomson and Judith Ridge. I also wish to acknowledge the contributions of the many Council members who have sent their apologies today. And of course the current KOALA council! We also welcome and appreciate the support of Jackie Hawkes from the CBCA NSW, Margaret Hamilton who is highly respected and honoured in the world of children’s literature, Melanie Elkan from Blackheath Public Library and two awesome KOALA Legends, Duncan Ball and Richard Tulloch (Richard Tulloch's Birthday Song).

Richard Morecroft presented the first awards in 1987, which went to Possum Magic by Mem Fox and Julie Vivas and Hating Alison Ashley by Robin Klein. Unfortunately, Richard couldn’t be with us today but has sent us a message (see presentation slides).

I would like to share with the children of NSW the top 10 primary books in 1987. I wonder how many of them you have read? I’m sure quite a few. They are stories of endurance indeed. (See presentation slide 8)

KOALA is about kids’ choice and giving the readers a voice – we received almost 7000 votes from the children of NSW this year. Please welcome Alyson Simpson to introduce the voices that are here today - both the children’s and our shortlisted authors and illustrators. Thank you.

KOALA Awards 2016 from KoalaAwardsNSW

Thank you videos from interstate and overseas


Blackheath Public School

St Andrew's Cathedral School

Mount Annan Christian College

Wentworth Falls Public School


Illustrator David Legge drew a marvellous picture of Parsley Rabbit during the ceremony. He took around 40 minutes to create this drawing. The recorded footage was sped up (16 times faster) to make this time-lapse video.


Finally, here is a short video to remember a great day!