Debut author Samantha Wheeler, of Redland Bay, wrote her children’s book to encourage children to speak out about environmental issues. Picture: News Corp/Annette Dew Source: News Limited
SAMANTHA Wheeler knew she wanted to write a children’s book with a message, but she never imagined she would become a wildlife warrior in the process.
The Redland Bay writer says she was inspired to write Smooch and Rose, a beautifully imagined tale about a little girl and her fight to protect koalas and their habitats, after a devastating discovery two years ago.
“Across the road from my daughter’s school at Thornlands, there was a beautiful stand of gum trees, which was home to a koala. He was always there and tourist buses used to stop on their way to Stradbroke Island to see him,” she says.
“One morning I saw that the whole lot was gone, it had been completely cleared, and I thought, ‘But this is a koala habitat, surely that’s not allowed?’
“I rang the council and they said if the koala wasn’t in a tree at the time, then clearing was allowed – I thought, ‘Right! There’s my story’.”
Smooch and Rose is the first children’s novel from Wheeler, an agricultural scientist and teacher who turned her hand to writing a few years ago.
The reluctant ‘greenie’ but self-confessed animal lover says while environmental issues are important to her, the one thing she hopes children learn from reading her book is that they have a voice worth hearing.
“The biggest message is that you don’t have to be famous, or a sports star or a politician to make a difference to causes that are important to you,” she says.
“Everyone can make a difference – and as Rose’s gran says to her: ‘Things don’t have to be big to be special’.”
Smooch and Rose, Samantha Wheeler
MELISSA ARCHER - THE COURIER-MAIL
AUGUST 06, 2013 12:00AM