Australia’s Indigenous Literacy Foundation is the winner of the 2024 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the world’s largest children’s book prize, with the laureate receiving five million Swedish krona (more than $474,000 at present exchange rates). The award was announced live from Stockholm on April 9, and broadcast simultaneously at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.

ILF’s mission is to support access to reading and storytelling among First National children. Reading from the ALMA jury’s citation, Balsam Karam said, “By spreading books and stimulating reading, storytelling, and creativity, Indigenous Literacy Foundation builds the desire to read and fosters pride, self-confidence, and a sense of belonging. Every child has the right to their language and their stories.”

Founded in 2011 by Suzy Wilson, a former teacher and education consultant who owns Riverbend Books, ILF offers robust initiatives, including a book supply and book buzz program; opportunities for children to work with local authors and illustrators to create and publish their own stories; and the Reading Opens Doors Library, a selection of titles that aim to promote awareness of First Nations languages and culture.

The nonprofit has worked with more than 400 remote communities, donated more than 750,00 books, supplied 100 playgroups with early literacy resources, and published 109 books reflecting 31 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. ILF is supported by the Australian Publishers Association, the Australian Booksellers Association, the Australian Society of Authors, and the Children’s Book Council of Australia.

Nicola Robinson of ILF was present to accept the award. She thanked members of the ALMA jury, some of whom visited Australia to see the organization in action. “Children’s book people are the best people,” Robinson said, adding that the prize acknowledges the strength and resilience of the First Nation communities ILF serves. “This award will allow us to continue our literacy work, which touches the lives of so many children and parents.”