This is a shameless plug for a book I am publishing. My friends and family will immediately ask what on earth I know about kids. Well, truth is, I really only know what Daniela and Matthias, my sister’s children, have taught me.
Petra Vandecasteele, on the other hand, knows a whole lot more. She brings her role as a mother, her passion for nature and her inspirational creative ability to this project, in which she also partners with a talented photographer who also happens to be her husband.
A wholly fresh approach to children’s storytelling, ‘Enya and James in the Land of Magic’ takes a range of tried and trusted children’s book techniques, shakes them up with some innovative ideas and delivers an interactive reading experience for primary-school-aged children. And one with a powerful and most inspirational message at its heart.
The tried-and-trusted techniques: in the style of Harry Potter and other successful children’s literature, the central characters are seemingly-normal, outgoing, inquisitive children who become endowed with special powers and must take on the responsibility of saving the world in the face of adults’ failure to do so.
Also, we know that a children’s book must be filled with colour. This one simply bursts with every hue of the spectrum, courtesy of Paul Godard’s breathtaking nature photography, not to mention the intimate portraits and documentaries of the two central characters, Enya and James, who also happen to be his own children. (Would that all fathers had Paul’s ability to capture such precious moments in their children’s lives so gracefully.)
The innovation comes in writer-mom Petra Vandecasteele’s story-telling techniques: the first-person emails from Enya and James to the reader of the book, inviting responses, and the journal entries in which Enya confides in her Dear Diary, once again drawing the young reader into the inner circle of friendship and trust.
Good storytelling and sheer entertainment aside, what sets this book apart is its intent: to educate children about the metaphorical magic of nature, and the role we can each play in caring for our planet. In that respect, this is really a book for adults – a tool with which parents, aunts, educators and others can begin a very grown-up conversation with those who will inherit the Earth.
‘Enya and James – In the Land of Magic’ is available for pre-order now.