ILF Announces Winners of the Inaugural Charlotte and Wilbur Award for Compassion for Animals

The Charlotte and Wilbur Award for Compassion for Animals was established with the support of author Karen Winnick. This new award rewards one first place book, an honor book, and a special citation selected by the judges for their dedication to inspiring compassion for animals and the animal kingdom in their readers.

This year, one first place winner is The Wildes 2: The Vaquita, by Roland Smith, from Sleeping Bear Press. This fabulous adventure novel introduces readers to one of the most critically endangered animals on the planet—the vaquita—and encourages children to develop deep relationships with ocean animals. The author says, “I’m deeply honored to have co-won the inaugural Charlotte and Wilbur Award for Compassion for Animals for my novel The Wildes: The Vaquita. If there was ever an animal that needs our help it’s this little porpoise in the Sea of Cortez with only ten left in the world. Hopefully my book will garner compassion from my readers and they in turn will help stop this critically endangered species from going extinct. Ten animals is a very small number, but it is not too late to save them. I know this from personal experience. It is never too late to try.” 

Our other spectacular first place winner for the Charlotte and Wilbur Award is the beautifully illustrated and lyrically written Home Is Calling, by Katherine Pryor, illustrated by Ellie Peterson, from Hachette Book Group. This tender, stunning picture book introduces young readers to the migration and life cycle of monarch butterflies, and teaches an important lesson about caring for threatened habitats.

Of the book, illustrator Ellie Peterson says, “What I love about this book is that Katherine has given monarch butterflies a collective voice, a voice that encourages children to reflect on their own journeys, homes, and sense of belonging. When kids can see themselves in the life of another creature, they're moved to do something to save it."

Of the award, Katherine Pryor says, “One of the many reasons I write kids’ books is a secret dream that my work will help kids fall in love with the natural world and grow up to protect it. Seeing Home is Calling: The Journey of the Monarch Butterfly honored with the Charlotte and Wilbur Award for Compassion for Animals gives me hope that more kids and communities will fall in love with these incredible creatures and work to protect and grow declining monarch butterfly populations.”

Additionally, Liz Garton Scanlon and Chuck Groenink’s lovely picture book

Full Moon Pups—published by Penguin Random House—is the recipient of this year’s Charlotte and Wilbur Award Honor. Of the award, the author says, “Much of my creative life has been about trying to capture the utter awe of the natural world, and Full Moon Pups is an example of that. It's a book about the phases of the moon and the changes a new litter of wolf pups experiences too, over the course of a month. Wolves are particularly maligned creatures, and my sense is that the way to ensure their future is making sure young people know and care about them. This is why the Charlotte and Wilbur Award spoke to me—it lifts up books as a way to pass on active and necessary love for the Earth's creatures. What an honor to be a part of that effort.”

We would also like to give a special citation to Lily Hopp Kingsolver and Barbara Kingsolver for their beautiful, lyrical book Coyote’s Wild Home, published by The Gryphon Press. This is another exceptional example of literature that builds compassion for animals in its readers.

All of these books embody the values and goals of the Charlotte and Wilbur Award for Compassion for Animals. We’re proud to share them with you.