2018 Awards Day

A fabulous day at Cranbrook Junior School on Thursday 8th November 2018.

KOALA Awards Programme 2018 (2).jpg
2018 KOALA Awards List.jpg

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


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 videoto remember a great day!


KOALA Awards Day 2015



Awards Day 2015 was held on the morning of Thursday 5th of November at Newington College, Stanmore. The winners and honour books, authors and illustrators who attended the awards and the list of schools represented are featured in the presentation above.

Further down the page are video messages from winners who could not attend the awards ceremony: Aaron Blabey, Andy Griffiths, Fiona Wood, Susannah McFarlane, Morris Gleitzman and Ursula Dubosarsky.

Thanks to all the authors and illustrators who attended the day or sent a video message, and to their supportive publishers who went the extra mile. 

How did it go? We received the following message from SvetlanaPaul, Junior School Teacher Librarian at St. Andrews Cathedral School, Sydney, which is typical of the reactions of the kids and teachers who made the trek and made the day a wonderful celebration for all.  

Thank you everyone at K.O.A.L.A. and Newington for an incredible day. My book club members already had been bitten by the reading bug but their passion has been truly ignited today by their experiences. Unforgettable for everyone involved.         Svetlana :)

Bronte 3/4R “I think KOALA was fun, especially seeing Jules Faber draw his art.  I also liked signing books.”

Alex 6RA “I really enjoyed the KOALA awards because it was fun to meet the authors and illustrators and get a photo with some of them!”

Jason 3F “I think it was awesome at that place, I loved it.”

Elle 3/4R “KOALA was awesome.  We saw lots of famous authors and illustrators.”

Joanna 3F “I loved meeting Jules Faber.”

Adriana 3F “I liked when Jules Faber was drawing on the whiteboard.”

Jo 3/4R “It was really fun.  I got to meet all my favourite authors like Tristan Bancks.”

Congratulations to all our wonderful authors and illustrators who inspire our kids to enjoy reading. See our Facebook and Twitter feeds elsewhere on this page to find out more about the day.

The video playlist below has messages from winners who could not be with us on the day: Aaron Blabey, Andy Griffiths, Fiona Wood, Susannah McFarlane, Morris Gleitzman and Ursula Dubosarsky. Use the menu in the top left corner of the video to go to an individual message.

Awards Day 2014 - The Winners!

It was another wonderful day of celebration of the authors and illustrators of Australia, as voted by the kids of NSW. The winners and honour books, authors and illustrators who attended the awards and the list of schools represented are in the presentation below. Further down the page are video messages from winners who could not attend the awards ceremony. Congratulations to all! See our Facebook and Twitter feeds elsewhere on this page to find out more.

Awards Day 2013

KOALA Awards Day 2013



The 2013 Awards Ceremony was held at The Old Boys Lecture Theatre in The Rae Centre at Newington College, Stanmore on Wednesday 30th October.

Fourteen schools attended the awards:

Austinmer Public School; Bringelly Public School; Helensburgh Public School; Holroyd High School; Holy Saviour School Geenacre; Holy Spirit College Bellambi; Middleton Grange Public School; Mount Annan Christian College; Newington Wyvern House; Newtown Public School; Old Guilford Public School; PLC Sydney Junior; Stanmore public School; The King’s School.

Bruce Whatley was our Illustrator in Residence, painting a beautiful illustration as we watched, which was taken home by one lucky school.

Bruce Whatley's artwork created during 2013 Awards Ceremony

Other authors and illustrators present were:

Felice Arena, Duncan Ball, Morris Gleitzman, Chris Morphew, Belinda Murrell, Oliver Phommavanh, and Emily Rodda.

Felice Arena was chosen as the KOALA Legend for 2013. He is a dedicated and prolific writer for young readers. His books are accessible, exciting and fun for kids. He writes series that just keep kids reading. His frequent visits to schools inspire even reluctant readers to give reading a go. And kids nominate his books as among their favourites. Felice Arena is a children's choice and a legend! Read the full citation and look back at earlier years on the Legends Page.

Category Winners and Honour Books:

Picture Books

WINNER: The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland (Scholastic)

HONOUR BOOKS: Ella Kazoo Will Not Brush Her Hair by Lee Fox and Cathy Wilcox (Lothian) AND The Little Refugee by Anh & Suzanne Do and Bruce Whatley (Allen & Unwin)

Fiction for Younger readers

WINNER: The Golden Door by Emily Rodda (Scholastic Omnibus)

HONOUR BOOKS: Alice-Miranda Shows the Way by Jacqueline Harvey (Random House) AND Pizza Cake by Morris Gleitzman (Penguin)

Fiction for Older readers

WINNER: 26-Storey Treehouse by Andy griffiths & Terry Denton (Macmillan)

HONOUR BOOKS: The Forgotten Pearl by Belinda Murrell (Random House) AND Thai-Riffic! by Oliver Phommavanh (Penguin)

Fiction for years 7 to 9

WINNER: The Phoenix Files: Contact by Chris Morphew (Hardie Grant)

HONOUR BOOKS: The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (Pan Macmillan) AND After by Morris Gleitzman (Penguin)

Not all of our award winning author and illustrators were able to be present on the day, but we did have video greetings from Nick Bland in the Northern Territory, Andy Griffiths who it seems was stuck in an anti-gravity machine, and Terry Denton from his garden studio in Melbourne. 

2012 Awards Day Celebration!

The 2012 Awards Day was held on Tuesday 13 November at Lend Lease Darling Quarter Theatre (Terrace 3, 1-25 Harbour St, Sydney), home of Monkey Baa Theatre Company.

Students, teachers and librarians from 12 schools joined Andy Griffiths, Duncan Ball, Sarah Davis,

Deborah Abela, Oliver Phommavanh, Moya Simons, Gabrielle Lord, Ursula Dubosarsky, Kim Gamble, 

David Legge, Frances Watts, Chris Morphew, Jacqueline Harvey and Belinda Murrell to celebrate the annoucement of the 2012 awards. 

The 2012 winners and honour books list can be downloaded here.




More than 300 students, teachers, authors, illustrators, publishers and other friends of KOALA celebrated the 25th annual Awards Day at the fabulous Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre on 26th October.

To put us in a party mood each school was asked to make a party hat for one of the authors or illustrators attending. You should have seen the wonderful and very elaborate creations that the recipients had to model. It was great fun! (Austinmer Public School posted some great pictures, as did Thirroul Public School.)

And what a line-up of authors and illustrators were there. Bob Graham, Andy Griffiths, and Robyn Bavati flew in from Melbourne. Pat Flynn came down from Queensland to join local favourites Deb Abela, Duncan Ball, Rod Clement, Ursula Dubosarsky, Anna Fienberg, Kim Gamble, Catherine Jinks, Belinda Murrell, Oliver Phommavanh, Lisa Shanahan and Richard Tulloch in supporting KOALA.

Students from Austinmer Public School, St Mary's Primary School, Georges Hall, Thirroul Public School, Middleton Grange Public School, St Joseph's Primary School Moorebank, Holy Spirit College, Corrimal, Llandilo Public School, Wollondilly Anglican College, Fairfield Public School, The Oaks Public School, Holy Cross Primary, Glenwood, Mt Annan Christian College, Bringelly Public School, Ingleburn North Public School, Newtown Public School and St Jerome's Primary Punchbowl had the chance to meet the authors and illustrators and get their autographs.

The winners were announced and Andy Griffiths was there to collect a record 11th KOALA Award, this time in the Younger Readers category for The Very Bad Book. The audience loved him! Andy is a great supporter of KOALA, regularly making the trip up from Melbourne to join us. Thanks Andy!

Other winners were Mr Chicken goes to Paris by Leigh Hobbs (Picture Book), Book of Lies by James Moloney (Older Readers) and Girl Underground by Morris Gleitzman (Fiction Years 7-9).

Our newest KOALA Legend was announced and Bob Graham was genuinely surprised and delighted with the honour. It was so wonderful that he could join us for this announcement.

4F for Freaks by Leigh Hobbs which has been shortlisted five times was added to the KOALA Hall of Fame.

If you weren't at the 2011 KOALA Awards Day you missed a great day. Look out for details of the 2012 event and try to be there!

Awards Day 2010


KOALA awards day took place this year at Fairfield Public school - 27/10/10. What a fabulous day! With 11 schools and 7 authors & illustrators attending the awards day. It was a hot  festive day, especially for all the children who waited eagerly for the announcement of the winners. Mylee Joseph, from the State Library of NSW, one of the special guests commented that the cheers and whistles that followed the announcement of winners were like that of spectators at a football match or a pop concert - it was amazing to see the kids reacting this way to .....authors. We were fortunate to have some of the category winners present to receive their awards in person – Emily Rodda (who attended on crutches) Colin Thompson and Sarah Davis.
Other authors & illustrators who attended were Duncan Ball, Aleesha Darlison, Lisa Shanahan, & Moya Simons.  

Fairfield Public School's - Dance group performed.

Narelle Adams performed a koala skit - which was fantastic (see below)

Fairfield Public library staff performed "Its a book" by Lane Smith (Roaring Brook Press, 2010)

In between the performances, all the authors and illustrators shared a scary experience with the audience. After the awards were announced and presented, there was autograph signing and the chance to meet the authors and illustrators.

For the kids from LLandila Public, a highlight was winning an original Sarah Davis illustration, which she drew on the stage during the ceremony. All students (around 180), attending the awards received a book thanks to the generosity of publishers.

KOALA Rap by Narelle Adams

Everybody clap
Everybody clap

 Reading rocks
And books rule
And Aussie books are really cool

 I’m Indigo info and I’m here to say
Something important to you today
Go to the library, pick up a book,
Open it up and take a look

 Colin, Mike, Graeme and Emily
Are some authors you should read
Bob, Margaret, Jackie and Mem
Lots of books can be found by them

Reading rocks
And books rule
And Aussie books are really cool

Andy, Felice and Leigh are funny
They make you laugh down to your tummy
Barbara and Anna, Pat and Deb
Write great books to read in bed

Paul, Morris, Garth and John
Reading books by them you can’t go wrong
Moya, Lisa and Matthew
Create great stories just for you

Reading rocks
And books rule
And Aussie books are really cool

It’s not just stories that make books great
But the pictures inside that are first rate
Craig, Sarah, Andrew and Terry
Stephen Michael, Tom, Lisa and Mark
Give the stories lots of class

Reading rocks
And books rule
And Aussie books are really cool


On Tuesday 27th October 250 children, their teachers, 16 favourite authors and illustrators and s few stray librarians meet at the Parramatta Town Hall for the 2009 KOALA Awards.

Bellow are a few photographs that where tweeted by the Western Sydney Youth Literature Officer.

Awards Day 2008

This year the Awards went out west! Thanks Blacktown City Council, Blacktown City Libraries, Duncan Ball, Ursula Dubosarsky, Anna Fienberg, Kim Gamble, Catherine Jinks, Chris Milne, Emily Rodda and all the students who attended Awards Day 2008 in Blacktown on 22nd October. It was a great day despite the weather. It is the first time that authors have had to come through snow to attend Awards Day! Check out the Winners , and here are some photographs from the day. Full photo gallery on Picasa. Alexander's blog post at Pretxts.

Awards Day 2007

What a fabulous day! With 24 schools and 20 authors & illustrators attending the awards, KOALA certainly celebrated 21 years in style!  It was a very festive day, especially for all the children who waited eagerly for the announcement of the winners. We were fortunate to have all the category winners present to receive their awards in person – Margaret Wild & Deborah Niland , Andy Griffiths & Morris Gleitzman.

Other authors & illustrators who attended were Deb Abela, Matt Dray, Anna Fienberg, John Flanagan, Chris Milne, Bruce Whatley, Matthew Reilly, Duncan Ball, Allan Stomann, Kim Gamble, Sally Odgers, Janine Dawson, Felice Arena, Ursula Dubosarsky, & also Richard Tulloch who had everyone holding their breath with the story of Brian Hobble being strangled by a boa constrictor!

For the kids from Austinmer Public, a highlight was winning an original Tashi illustration, which Kim Gamble drew on the stage during the ceremony. Other winning schools were Orana Heights PS who received a box of books worth $300; and St Joseph’s Kilaben Bay who took home a set of KOALA Syba Signs for their library. All students attending the awards received a book thanks to the generosity of publishers.

Awards Day 2006


The 2006 KOALA AWARDS were held on 20th October at Taronga Zoo. This year KOALA celebrated its 20th birthday and the day was a big hit for the kids who attended. They were rewarded with the chance to meet some of their favourite authors & illustrators!

A huge thank you to the authors and illustrators, some of whom travelled far to be present :

Felice Arena, Alyssa Brugman, Morris Gleitzman, Andy Griffiths, Richard Tulloch, Carole Wilkinson, Duncan Ball, Allan Stomann, Kim Gamble, Libby Gleeson, Darrell & Sally Odgers, Janine Dawson, Pamela Allen, Matt Dray, Pamela Lofts, Lachie Hume, Alison Lester & Julie Mullins.

They shared words of inspiration & Felice was most entertaining with the assistance of one of the children from the audience.

We are very proud to announce this years winners, check them out on the winners page !

Pamela Allen's book Mr McGee and the Biting Flea was entered into the KOALA Hall of Fame . Another highlight of the ceremony was the announcement of two new KOALA Legends . Morris Gleitzman and Richard Tulloch were presented with an award in recognition of their significant contribution to KOALA.

A donation of $205 was raised on the day to sponsor two (real) koalas at the zoo. Many thanks to students, teachers, authors, illustrators & publishers who contributed.

We look forward to our big 21st birthday party next year!  

image 1: Maddison and her new friends at Taronga Zoo

image 2: Julie Mullins and Felica Arena with their KOALA Awards.


Thank you so much for such a wonderful honour on Friday. Becoming a KOALA Legend is one of my proudest achievements.  I’ll treasure it. And thank you for a delightful day. I can’t imagine a better-organised or more enjoyable celebration of what we all do. Congratulations. You’re legends too.
Morris Gleitzman

Just wanted to say thanks to you & the committee for a great day last Friday. Our students thoroughly enjoyed the experience & got a lot out of it. I know you've all worked hard to get it all ready, & it really paid off. We loooooved Matt Dray!! Thanks so much for all you've done,
St Martha's, Strathfield

Awards Day 2005

The 2005 Kids Own Australian Literature Awards (KOALA) were announced at Westmead Public School on the 31st October. It was a fabulous day especially for those children who had voted for their favourite Australian authors and illustrators and eagerly awaited the announcement of the winners. It was a close race and the winners were: 

  Picture Book Category Mutt Dog by Stephen Michael King; published by Scholastic 

  Younger Readers?Category TooCool Series by Phil Kettle & Craig Smith; published by Scholastic 

  Older Readers?Category The Bad Book by Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton; published by Pan Macmillan

Thanks to Scholastic Australia, Phil Kettle was able to fly in from Melbourne to accept his award in person and Pan Macmillan arranged for Terry Denton, also from Melbourne to accept the older readers award on behalf of himself and Andy Griffiths.

The Westmead Public staff and students were wonderful hosts on the day and the School Choir entertained the audience with their outstanding performance. Steven Herrick’s reading of some of his poems had everyone laughing and Bruce Whatley amazed us all with his drawing talent in between the announcements of the winners.

Many authors and illustrators were present and students from Telopea, Turramurra, Newtown and Chatswood Public Schools, Central Coast Grammar, St Martha’s Primary Strathfield, St Thomas Aquinas Primary Springwood, Mt Annan Christian College, St Luke’s Grammar Dee Why, St Josephs Primary Kilaben Bay, Our Lady of the Way Emu Plains, Loquat Valley Christian School Bayview, Pymble Ladies College and host school Westmead were delighted to meet and speak to Deborah Abela, Duncan Ball, Terry Denton, Anna & Barbara Fienberg, Steven Herrick, Phil Kettle, David Legge, Jeni Mawter, Justyn Walker and Bruce Whatley.


Terry Denton & Anna Fienberg joined Duncan Ball and Paul Jennings as KOALA legends recognising their contribution to children’s literature and children’s choice awards. Read their citations on the website.

Schools win

Thirroul Public School were the envy of every other school at Awards Day when they became the proud winners of a delightful 'Diary of a Wombat' illustration graciously drawn and donated by Bruce Whatley. Cherrybrook Public School won an original illustration donated by illustrator Allan Stomann from one of the Selby books and Cranbrook Junior School won $300 worth of books generously donated by Koala Books.


Many thanks to the Westmead Public School staff and students for hosting a fabulously memorable day. A BIG thank you also to our sponsors Koala Books for their assistance with the design and printing of kits and fliers and donating book prizes and SiteSuite for designing and hosting our website. Allan Stomann’s donation of artwork from the Selby books is also much appreciated.

ABC books, Allen & Unwin, HarperCollins Australia, Koala Books, Little Hare, Multimedia Interface, Pan Macmillan Australia, Penguin Group Australia, Scholastic Australia and Walker Books also donated books to give away to lucky KOALA members.

Awards Day 2006 is promising to be even bigger and better so start planning now to be there. More information on venue and date later.

Children lining up for their favourite author's signature

Just one of the examples of the artwork created by the school

 based on Bruce Whatley's "Little White Dogs Can't Jump"

Awards Night 2004

In 2004 Awards day was held on 4 November at Pymble Ladies College.

What a day it was! Duncan Ball, Graeme Base, Janine Dawson, Anna & Barbara Fienberg, Paul Jennings, Emily Rodda, Allan Stomann and Richard Tulloch were all there along with students from Glenhaven, Telopea, Turramurra, Wiley Park, Stanwell Park and Chatswood Public Schools, Central Coast Grammar, Meriden Junior School, St Benedicts Primary Edgeworth, St James Primary Kotara South, St Martha’s Primary Strathfield, St Thomas Aquinas Primary Springwood, Mt Annan Christian College, St Luke’s Grammar Dee Why, St Josephs Primary Kilaben Bay, Our Lady of the Way Emu Plains, Locquat Valley Christian School Bayview, St Philips Christian College Waratah and host school Pymble Ladies College.

We were so lucky to have two of the three category winners present to receive their awards in person - Graeme Base (TruckDogs) and Emily Rodda (Deltora Quest series 3). Leigh Hobbs (Old Tom ?Man of Mystery) was overseas and unable to attend.

Richard Tulloch’s reading of an extract from his book Weird Stuff had the whole auditorium laughing. It was so popular that the bookshop sold out of copies. If you don’t have it in your library take a recommendation from the 300 students at awards day and buy a copy.

For the kids from Chatswood Public School, a highlight of the day was winning an original Graeme Base illustration which he drew on stage during the ceremony. St Joseph’s Primary School won a framed picture of Selby for their school library and over 100 of the students present received a book thanks to the generosity of publishers.

Lake Macquarie Public Library won a box of books donated by Koala Books and valued at more than $200 and Thurgoona Public School (Albury), also won a book prize donated by publishers.

Special thanks go to Julia Elsey and staff and students at PLC who were a pleasure to work with and did everything possible to make it a great day.

Start planning now to attend Awards Day 2005. More information on venue and date later.