Children’s book raises support for devils

A LOCAL children’s book will help raise support for Tasmanian devils by donating a percentage of its proceeds to the Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal.

Officially launched on Wednesday 29 July at Waimea Heights Primary School in Sandy Bay, ‘The Lost Cave of Corinna’ is an educational fantasy adventure novel by local author Greta Kerschbaum.

Set in Tasmania, the novel, which is aimed for children aged eight to 12 years, features the iconic Tasmania devil and other native animals and explores issues such as human impact on the environment, endangered animals and extinction.

Ms Kerschbaum, who teaches at Elizabeth College, said the idea that came to mind was about “a little boy who transformed into a possum and then went on an adventure.”

“That was the very early start of the process and then gradually, as I fleshed the story out, other animals entered and it took on a life of its own,” she said.

“All the animals in the story have been affected by human involvement in some way and already people have commented that they were really moved by the story.”

Ms Kerschbaum said it was important that children were educated about the impact human’s had on the environment and the animals that occupy it.

“I hope my book teaches children to appreciate and empathise with the animals that share this world with us,” she said.

“As the future generation, hopefully they can learn a lesson from it and make the changes that are necessary.

“Although we are more environmentally friendly today, I think there is still a lot we can do to bring about change.”

As one of the novel’s character, Dibley, is affected by the devil facial tumour disease, Ms Kerschbaum said it was a “natural union” to have a percentage of the book’s profits dedicated to the Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal.

Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal manager Rebecca Cuthill said as the primary fundraiser for the Tasmanian devil, the appeal had an important role in harnessing community support and translating that into funds that would help research.

“Greta’s contributions are greatly appreciated, especially seeing as she was in no way obliged to raise support for the appeal,” she said.

“She called me nearly three-years-ago with the idea and I put her in touch with an expert at UTAS who was able to review the book and make sure that the animal characteristics and facial tumour disease were described correctly.

“We’ve continued that relationship until today and hopefully, will continue to do so for many more years.”

Ms Cuthill said it was important to raise awareness about these issues with school-age children, as “they are our future.”

“Children are, without a doubt, the most excited about doing things to help save our future,” she said.

“It was lovely to be at the launch, and it was a great opportunity for them to learn a little bit more about the devil facial tumour disease and understand that what they are doing actually makes a difference.”

Currently a self-published novel, Ms Kerschbaum said she hoped her book would be taken on by a publisher in the future.

“It would be lovely to have the book taken on by a publisher so that it can be distributed more widely across Australia,” she said.

“At the moment it is available in local book stores in Hobart and Launceston, as well as on Amazon for people wishing to buy online.”

Waimea Heights Primary School also held a black and white dress up day to support the appeal, raising a total of $550.

For more information about the Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal, go to www.tassiedevil.com.au/tasdevil.nsf

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