Kalkie State School teacher Judith Stutchbury, with help from her students, has published Hatch Saves the Reef, a book with an important environmental message.
Judith said Hatch Saves the Reef was a heart-warming family adventure, which focused on the love of the ocean and the creatures who live in it.
Hatch Saves the Reef is the sequel to Judith’s screenplay Hatch, which has a storyline about a young sea turtle who hatches and is immediately faced with obstacles such as light and plastic pollution.
With the help of her students over the past seven years Judith is excited for the release of Hatch Saves the Reef, which will be officially launched in the September school holidays and is available now at Dymocks Bundaberg.
Hatch Saves the Reef was also illustrated by Bundaberg’s Archie Gatley, who was a Year 5 student at the time of drawings, and cover illustrator Mark Mulgrew, who is now an animator in America.
Judith said the idea to create Hatch Saves the Reef stemmed from not being able to get her hands on an educational book which had a message to help protect the environment to share with her students.
“It’s so important for students to read quality books, it’s a fiction book but it’s based on science, and for them to foster a love of the environment and looking after creatures is so important,” she said.
“Reading is so important for everything, for science, for maths, for everything, it helps students develop their language and they want to read something that is relevant to them.
“It’s so heart-warming for the kids, they are so excited.
“For them to be helping me and edit of little bits that was a really lovely learning experience for me as a teacher.”
She said the book was aimed at encouraging everyone to consider helping to protect the environment, while also inspiring young readers to follow their dreams by showing them how to be resilient when faced with adversity.
“Every class that I have had we have somehow integrated turtles into science, so it’s been every year I have taught that has had some contribution to the book,” Judith said.
“It’s come from lots of different things that we’ve learned in the classroom.”
Kalkie State School students played a pivotal role in creating the picture book.
Year 6 student Luisa Morrison-Pelusi said she first started working on the illustrations with her fellow students four years ago.
“Our grade, we focused on lots of drawings and we were kind of an inspiration as we had lots of great ideas,” she said.
“We wanted to make it feel more about the student’s opinions and we did play a big role in this.
“I was in Year 2, it was really, really great, honestly, it was so cool that we get this opportunity as primary school children that we can make a book.
Luisa said she hoped the message in Hatch Saves the Reef was shared with younger readers.
“We know they (the turtles) are endangered,” she said.
“It’s very important to look after the environment and I think because the turtles are quite a big deal in this area.
“Through turtles it’s a good way to show younger children how to help the environment.
“It’s been four or five years of watching this come to life and I think that’s amazing!”
Hatch Saves the Reef is available now at Dymock Bundaberg.