An independent Australian publisher has launched a new project to help families process the current bushfire disaster, and they’d love some help from kids who have been affected by the fires.
Through a child’s eyes
Saci Books are the team at the centre of this helpful initiative, and they’re hoping to capture a child’s eye view of what’s been unfolding across our country over the last few months.
The benefits of this book will be twofold; it aims to help children better understand and process what has been happening and also to raise funds to help rebuild lost properties and libraries in particular.
“We will publish children’s stories on our website as they arrive … and we aim to put together a book with a compilation of these stories about their experience with the bushfires,” Maira and Ewan from Saci Books explain on their website.
“Their story can be very short, a paragraph, a poem. You can send an illustration done by your child, their siblings or a friend. It may also not be illustrated. We will collect stories until they stop coming, so whenever your child is ready, send it through.”
With that in mind, it’s important not to make your child take part in this project if they’re not ready or interested. As Maira and Ewan point out, they may already be working hard to process the experience of the fires and/or the bushfire coverage.
“Once the book is done and we are ready to publish later in the year, we will donate all proceeds to rebuild libraries and if the money allows, we will help restore the natural environment lost in the bushfires across VIC, NSW, QLD and SA.”
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Australia is burning as we all know, the stories are being build by the thousands each day. So many stories. So many experiences. So many triumphs and so many losses. Children. Children see everything through their gentle and kind eyes. Through love and ingenuity. They feel the pain of others. They are suffering. The marks in the souls and sub conscience of these children are eternal. We want their stories to be heard. We want them to help heal others and let none forget the most horrendous summer Australia had. Stories never die, but they have the power to heal and transform. They have the power to change little by little each of us. These children who are suffering today, may not have a future in this planet. They may never be able to breathe clean air. We, the +25 have the obligation to restore the planet for them. We believe we must tell their stories. This summer will never be forgotten. We will put together a book with a compilation of children's stories about their experience with the bushfires. Their story can be very short, a paragraph, a poem. You can send a illustration done by your child, their siblings or a friend. It may also not be illustrated. We will collect stories until the end of Summer in Australia. We are tying to keep the deadline to the 30th March. If your child requires a little more time, please send an email. I ask you not to force your child to speak up or write. Encourage them to speak about their feelings and experiences. They can be showing their bravery, their fears, the loss, the grief, the joy of seeing kindness and so on. Anything is valid and we won't edit the stories. All earnings will be used to rebuild houses and/or libraries that were burnt. Send your submissions with the subject 🔥🐨🌱🌳 BUSHFIRES THROUGH MY EYES to email@example.com 🌏 Tag who you think it may be interested, let's get the word out #australianbushfires #firestories #bushfirestories #publishing #australia #tellyourstory #earth #savehumanity #saveaustralia #abcnews @berkelouwbooksleichhardt @childrensbooksofaustralia @cbcansw @cbca_vic @qldbranchingout @hillofcontent @dymockschildrenscharities @nswrfs @frnswmedia @writingnsw
Helping kids bounce back
After the devastating 2009 bushfires in Victoria, the Victorian government commissioned Professors Toni Noble and Helen McGrath’s children’s wellbeing program Bounce Back! to go into the schools most devastated by the fires and work with teachers to run recovery and resilience workshops.
Part of the program included sharing appropriate picture books with affected children and this was deemed to be incredibly valuable.
“Research indicated that teachers’ use of the program’s recommended books supported their capacity to help students to cope more effectively with the aftermath of the bushfires and in general to behave more confidently, resiliently and pro-socially (McGrath & Noble, 2011),” the NSW Government Education website reports.
Perhaps this ‘by kids, for kids’ book about the bushfires could some day be destined for that sort of helpful future?
And hopefully Bounce Back! will again be commissioned to help children across the country recover from this recent and ongoing fire emergency.
If your child would like to submit a story, poem or drawing you can email Maira and Ewan at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “BUSHFIRES THROUGH MY EYES”.