KOALA aka the Kids Own Australian Literature Awards inc. is a wonderful initiative that allows young readers to get involved in selecting and recognising engaging Australian children's books.
Run as a not for profit organisation by a team of volunteers, young readers from all over New South Wales judge their very own literary awards leading to the exciting opportunity to attend an annual awards day, where they can meet their favourite authors and illustrators.
Students discuss and debate their views on books published in the last ten years, teaching them critical thinking skills and giving them a chance to have their say about their favourite inspiring, frightening, engaging and enlightening books. As a bonus, schools have the chance to win book prizes and original illustration artwork.
The KOALA experience adds to supporting reading programs such as the Premier's Reading Challenge and MS Read-a-thon, and allows easy integration into literature promotion programs by providing opportunities to create displays, analyse structural elements and have students create their own book trailers.
With so many books being nominated, KOALA introduced a Hall of Fame in 2001, to recognise those that had demonstrated enduring popularity by being shortlisted five times in ten years, but had not actually won.
In 2004 a second award, the KOALA Legend, brought recognition to those authors and illustrators who make a significant contribution to children's choice awards and KOALA, through their support for the awards and/or their writing.
With a blog full of excerpts and teaching resources, and a range of merchandise created by some of Australia's best loved illustrators, their website is a must.
Find out more here:
Introduction by Fiona C Lloyd
A few images from the KOALA website