BOOKS: New Sand Safari children’s book from local mother-daughter team

31 January 2018

A new illustrated children’s book has launched ahead of the annual Sand Safari Arts Festival. The book will become part of the 2018 school curriculum across 100 Queensland and New South Wales schools.

An initiative of Surfers Paradise Alliance and written by Sunshine Coast mother and daughter team Margo and Emma Gibbs, the book is aimed at children between four and eight and will be taught as part of the English curriculum for Prep, Year One and Year Two students.

Set in Surfers Paradise and inspired by the Commonwealth Games, Henry and Ethan’s Neptune’s Games Adventure is the second instalment in a series created for the hugely successful annual Sand Safari Arts Festival (February 9 to 25) and was developed in collaboration with teachers from Surfers Paradise State School.

Henry and Ethan’s Neptune’s Games Adventure weaves universal themes and values such as inclusion, mateship, and community pride into a vibrant narrative following a cast of adorable marine characters as they prepare for a large sporting event being held on the Gold Coast.

Surfers Paradise Alliance CEO Mike Winlaw said the 32-page book was designed to engage the region’s youngest readers with a lively narrative based in their own region, while linking arts with education.

“We are delighted to present the second book in the Sand Safari children’s series, which promotes the festival and its iconic place within the community, while providing families with a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the storyline at the event itself,” Mr Winlaw said. 

“The story touches on all aspects of the festival and parallels the Commonwealth Games with the intent to share some strong values of inclusion and supporting others, as well as sustainability, as it showcases the beautiful marine environment surrounding us in Surfers Paradise.”

Surfers Paradise State School has been instrumental in developing the book, with staff and heads of curriculum producing teaching guides in line with the teaching curriculum, which will accompany packages of free books to be sent to each school, along with digital copies and a large display book for teachers to read to their class.

The book’s quirky characters, illustrated by Doug Wells, will feature as sand sculptures during the festival’s Sand Trail that takes Sand Safari beyond Surfers Paradise to hotel lobbies, libraries, and shopping centres throughout the Gold Coast from February 2.

Returning in 2018 due to popular demand, mermaid book readings of the local tale will be held, with children able to take home a free copy of Henry and Ethan’s Neptune’s Games Adventure as a memento of their enchanted experience.

Mr Winlaw said the book’s content was integrated into Science and English lesson plans exploring natural and built environments, early reading skills and language concepts for early primary school students.

For the second year, the Sand Safari book has also been accepted into the Somerset Celebration of Literature.

The 2018 Sand Safari Arts Festival is a free, family-friendly event that features the Australian Sand Sculpting Championships from February 9 to 11 and continues with an entertaining array of exhibitions, events, and activities throughout Surfers Paradise until Sunday, February 25.

Written by

Kids on the Coast/Kids in the City
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