An ethical book for children enticing conversations about conservation
This open ended illustrated tale is told through the eyes of the plants and animals and is set on a mystical and pristine island facing the threat of over-development. As habitat is lost, the characters are forced to live closer together with fewer resources to share.
Readers are prompted to start a conversation about the scenario and to ask children to use imagination to write an ending. The common themes from these contributions will then lead the plot of the next book.
WHO IS KIKIR?
Kikir is a young sapling and the hero of the story. The readers will hopefully identify with the age of her. She is the one who suggests helping the displaced animals and it’s her idea to bring them all home. Kikir represents the innocence of all children and the untainted decision making and heart strength they possess. We hope Kikir will come to life in the next book as the readers begin to shape her true nature and character by their contributions to the story.
WHY THIS MATTERS
We believe the future of the planet and politics will rely on the imagination of our children, so through this book we have created a scenario for them to ponder and contribute to.
Humans have always faced the challenges that come with greed and development. Globalisation, climate change and war have also brought issues of tolerance to the forefront as more and more people are displaced from their home lands and have to live together and share resources.
There are many examples of our political leaders today making poor decisions based on feeding fear to their populations and justifying actions which breed intolerance.
Dee has created a book that relies on interaction and collaboration and hopes that the responses of children will not only help write the next chapter, but maybe teach adults how to behave along the way.
Elizabeth’s illustrations bring this story into another level, although it is a delicate scenario for children to deal with, there is a lot of purity, beauty and laughter to behold along the way.
Inspired by a trip to a small island in Fiji, Author Dee Coleman was fascinated by trees which looked like they were walking- the Pandanus Tectorius. Realising that the resort side of the island would be vastly different to where the locals lived, it became so clear that people were not integrating. Not only that, but some people had more space and resources than others.
“These trees which literally looked like they were trying to escape became alive to me and I thought about telling their story. For children, I think it is a more palatable scenario than displaced people over war, but the messages of tolerance and compassion can be the same.” Says Dee
“Working in the music industry I would witness huge crowds attending festivals singing along about love and loss. There was a connection between people through lyrics about human nature. Now I’m working in education and I feel like we are missing something huge in the delivery of content and how we teach at all levels. We still use a 2000 year old method of where a teacher stands up the front and dictates common knowledge. I think we are moving into a more collaborative space of learning from each other where teachers are more facilitators in conversations. I believe storytelling can be the same.”
Artist Elizabeth Mordensky brings so much more than just her illustrations, being an ecologist she really understands the messaging.
“After meeting Dee and hearing about her story, I immediately knew I wanted to work on this project. As someone who has worked in conservation and interpretation in various national and state parks, a book that helps spread these messages in such a new and exciting way sounded right up my ally. Dee has a brilliant passion for this project but she has still let me put my own style and creativity into the illustrations. Between the words and the pictures, Kikir of the Walking Trees is truly a unique children's book that not only piques imagination, but also asks children to consider about critical issues by coming up with their own ending to the story. I am thrilled to illustrate a book designed to reach into homes and classrooms and get kids thinking in a fun and creative way.” Said Elizabeth