Shortlisted for two awards!

Children’s Book Council Awards 2020

Wilderness Society Environment Award for Children’s Literature 2020

Take a peek into the world of tree hollows and the Australian animals that call them home.

Do you know what a tree hollow is?

To you and me, a tree hollow is just a hole, cavity or tunnel in a tree or branch. But to an animal, that hollow may be a bedroom, hiding place, nursery or shelter. It is the ultimate tree house!

Come and take a peek inside the amazing world of tree hollows and discover more than 340 species of incredible Australian animals that call hollows home. With colour photos of glorious gliders, darting dunnarts, minute microbats and many more, this book is full of fun facts about animals that use tree hollows as places for resting, nesting or hiding.

Find out how hollows are created, why they are threatened and meet scientists who spend their time hollow-hunting. There are also plenty of tips on how you can spot hollows yourself, help to protect the environment and encourage habitat for hollow-dependent animals.

Buy your copy here

Thank You Team!

I am extremely excited and humbled to be shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council Australia Eva Pownall Award for Information Books for 2020. I am beside myself with joy to also have my book shortlisted by the Wilderness Society for the Environmental Award for Children’s Literature 2020. In both cases my book sits alongside some very impressive titles indeed and I congratulate all the other authors, illustrators and the publishing teams that are represented by these awards.

Most importantly, I hope that this translates to a huge boost for the environment as children, their parents, and teachers, enjoy my book and are inspired to both engage with nature and actively protect it.

I would like to thank the CSIRO for their support, faith and guidance in steering this book from a seed to a flourishing tree – especially Briana Melideo, Lauren Webb, Kath Kovac, and Melinda Chandler. A huge high-five to the wonderful Astred Hicks for her beautiful illustrations (seen on this page), and the amazing photographers who contributed their gob-smackingly fabulous photos for the book.

This book rides on the very tall shoulders of the scientists and researchers who dedicate their careers to understanding our amazing biodiversity – my book could only exist thanks to the work that you do!

Lastly, a humongous thanks to my ever-supportive family and friends – super-special mention to my ‘Rocks’; Tim, Ella, Zari, Mum, The Casho’s et al., and The Snitzel’s – Sister Snitzel being the instigator for this whole journey.
Thanks Team!

Abbie Mitchell


“This inspiring exploration of tree hollows and the creatures that call them home is well-designed, beautifully written and bound to become an enduring reference book. The thoroughly researched information enriches readers’ understanding of the natural world and our potential role in preserving our wildlife by providing a comprehensive introduction to tree hollows, which are an important ecological feature for so many species. Detailed and varied information is sure to engage young readers by delving into the topic of hollows and explaining how they form and how animals use and depend upon them. Scientific information is presented in a simple and accessible way, with concepts and terminology well defined and explained. Vibrant illustrations, photographs, maps and diagrams complement the content and bring the information to life, and some fun and practical instruction on finding hollows and how to create a nesting box lend the book an interactive element. Profiles and interviews with scientists working in the area of wildlife conservation may even inspire further investigation into the subject. The book is a fun and informative peek into a hidden, yet vital part of nature.”

Children’s Book Council Australia
April 2020

“This fantastic book from CSIRO Publishing zooms in and takes a close and very detailed look at one habitat for Australian animals: the tree hollow.”

A HOLLOW IS A HOME uses photos, illustrations and diagrams to great effect, and contains lots of practical information for kids on how to spot hollows and create special habitats for hollow-dependent animals using nesting boxes.”

21st January 2020

“This is a visually appealing and informative children’s book about the world of tree hollows and the 340-plus species of Australian animals that live inside them.”

Gardening Australia Magazine
December 2019

The mix of mini-stories, panels of facts, and the astute use of well-drawn and well-captured images combine to keep children engaged and soaking up the facts. This book is also clearly equipped to simultaneously educate adult readers as they break it down into a series of enjoyable children’s bedtime stories. It would be unsurprising to find this book drifting to parents and siblings bedside tables…”

“This is a book that children will want to go back to time and again.”

“This book shows Australian’s how to take positive action for wildlife and equips readers with the knowledge and contacts to do so. The only hollow this book does not contain is “hollow words””

Wildlife Australia Magazine
Summer 2019

“The book is beautifully laid out, with ample photos and diagrams on each page to keep readers engaged (and excellent teacher notes). It is also very comprehensive, and I just can’t see how high school students studying biology or environmental studies could not find this an informative and relevant text.”

“…I really think it should be in every school library and classroom!”

Children’s Books Daily
November 2019

Land for Wildlife – South East Queensland Newsletter
February 2020


“…. A HOLLOW IS A HOME by Abbie Mitchell will enlighten young readers about the importance of different types of trees for the animals that live amongst us.”

“A HOLLOW IS A HOME is a book that can be used in any classroom for any age group.”

8th October 2019


“If used in a classroom, teachers could use it to help children explore the world of hollows, and the creatures who use them, step by step and over time. ….the book is recommended for its accuracy and wealth of information.”

Canberra Bird Notes
December 2019


Written by Abbie Mitchell, illustrated by Astred Hicks

104 pages | 250 x 215 mm
Paperback | October 2019
ISBN: 9781486308057
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Colour illustrations, Colour photographs

Buy your copy here

Additional information and resources

Teacher Notes

A free PDF download to support the use of this book in the classroom for students from years 3-6. Activities, discussion questions and links are provided for Science, English, Maths, HASS (Geography) and Cross Curriculum Priority (Sustainability).

Download Teacher Notes

Australian species that use tree hollows

This is a reference list of Australian species that require hollows (as appears in the book), with the addition of species occurrence by state/territory and current conservation status. This is a ‘hot list’ and will be maintained by Abbie Mitchell as additions or changes are required. Last update January 2020.

Download the List

Persuasive text – Tips and tricks for young writers

How to write compelling text to keep the brain and pages turning. Click here for pdf.

persuasive writing tips

A Hollow is a Home Information Report – Taronga Zoo

Research an animal that requires tree hollows and write an information report. The accompanying film can be seen here

information report booklet