Award winning kids book promotes joys of nature

Backyard Birds by Professor Helen Milroy

Encouraging children to get out and about in nature is an enduring theme in the work of the WA Parks Foundation.

Right on message is a call by The University of Western Australia’s Professor Helen Milroy, a prominent child and adolescent psychiatrist, for parents to help children to rediscover the joys of nature “as a way back from the pandemic”.

Professor Milroy recently won the Whitley Award’s Young Children’s Reader Category for her book Backyard Birds. Presented annually, the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales Whitley Awards acknowledge outstanding publications that profile the unique wildlife of Australasia.

Her boldly illustrated book celebrates the birdlife found in Australian back gardens, from laughing kookaburras to prancing mudlarks, and is described as ‘a fun and lively read for the very young’.

A leading mental health researcher, Professor Milroy is a descendant of the Palyku people of the Pilbara region and is also known as Australia’s first Indigenous doctor.

She said she wanted to “encourage children to connect to nature and all of the little creatures we live alongside”.

“The social and emotional development of our children as a way back from the pandemic is absolutely critical so let’s get kids back into nature help them feel connected to everything around them and safe and secure,” she said.

“Not only does it help kids to be embedded within the natural world around them, it also helps to take them away from the worries of the day and just have a bit of fun and joy. Getting creative outdoors is a great way to enhance well-being.

“My message to parents and to kids is to turn off the TV, get off the tablets, and go exploring to see what you can find.”  To find out more or order the book, click here.