In the Spring of 2019, after hearing Sir David Attenborough make a shocking statement about our natural world, five friends felt compelled to make a difference. Jenny, Elaine, Emily, Duane and Chris formed Tales from Mother Earth, a collective conservation venture aimed at reconnecting children with nature through interactive stories and music.
We believe that by educating children and helping them understand how their actions, no matter how small, can make an impact for good, they would be better positioned to help protect and ensure the future of the natural world.
It has been widely studied and proven that the current generation of children is disconnected from nature. However, it has also been proven that children who get involved with nature can improve their mental stamina, well-being, social skills, empathy, happiness, fitness, creativity and so much more.
In this regard, our ambition was to create a series of realistic and touching animal/insect picture/audiobooks that can appeal to a wide range of ages (3-10 years), while highlighting the current threats our wildlife is facing from erosion of natural habitat to climate change and plastic pollution. To connect and empower children with nature in a positive way, we’ve added many different age-related stimuli to the story set, so that over time as a child’s understanding and abilities grow, their engagement with nature is maintained with a fun, interactive and rewarding experience.
We chose to write fictional stories that are based on very real circumstances. We wanted the readers to get an accurate view of the current state of our wildlife and hopefully encourage them to want to do something to help. In order to create empathy with the planet, we felt children would be more responsive to the plight of the animal or insect if the story was told from Mother Earth’s point of view.
Right from the start, it was our intention to have a strong conservation message and tips on how the readers/children could become involved. We wanted our illustrations to be as realistic as possible and anatomically correct. The music needed to connect the children to the character and take them on a journey, reinforcing the bond, establishing and underlining the predicament of the insect/animal. Each book contains an illustrated story with beautiful realistic images, a puzzle page, a fun facts page on the featured animal/insect, a colouring-in page, the conservation action tips which allows the reader(s) to get involved and help directly and an audio CD.
Phoebe the Bee is our first story and is an educational tale about a worker bee who through her courage and determination manages to save the hive and her family when her natural environment is threatened by modern development.
Coincidentally, just as our prototype was being tested, the Royal Geographical Society of London declared that bees are the most important living species on the planet, which reaffirmed to us that we had started something special.
We self-published our book and launched in March 2020. With several primary school assemblies, wildlife centre days and creative story workshops at garden centres/farms etc, we introduced everyone to Phoebe the Bee. Due to the outbreak of Covid-19, understandably our future planned events had to be postponed.
Now, however, we are delighted to be collaborating with many like-minded organisations and we’re thrilled to be a ConservationNow member. We are all on the same team, working towards a better outcome for the conservation of our wildlife and the education of our children. Our journey has only just started. We have seven books in our first series of stories (Tales from the Countryside) with plans for many more to come.
We are hoping to launch our second book Spike the Hedgehog later this year. Being the UK’s favourite mammal, most people don’t realise that hedgehog numbers are in decline due to a variety of reasons. However, as with Phoebe, some education and simple actions can help to turn this around. Spike’s book is a tale of his desire to travel and find a new place to call home and the hazards that he finds along his way. If only we were all more hedgehog aware, we could all make his life much easier – these are the important lessons children can learn in the book.
In the end, we want to allow children to feel good about their future and believe that they can change the world for the better. We hope our efforts resonate with a larger audience and achieve what they were meant for!
Phoebe the Bee is priced at £11.99 +p&p from our website and we have been excited to receive orders from all around the world. You can find more information about us here.
Only by collaborating can we bring about the lasting change we are all searching for.