We chat with a mama who was so inspired to teach her son about saving the environment, she went and wrote a children’s book about it! First time author Evelyn Bookless is a major inspiration…
In the lead up to Earth Day, we’re continuing to shine a spotlight on the ways we can all do our part to reduce waste and help save Planet Earth for our children and future generations. We recently heard about Singapore mama and teacher Evelyn Bookless, who was inspired to write a children’s book, Captain Green and the Plastic Scene, which has just published this week in Singapore!
Aimed at children ages 4 to 8, Captain Green and the Plastic Scene is about a superhero who finds himself on a mission to save some sea creatures from plastic pollution. With engaging, colourful illustrations by UK-based artist Danny Deeptown, it’s a wonderfully relatable story to get our little ones actively involved in the fight to save our planet.
Read More: 7 Single-Use Swaps to Reduce Plastic Waste
We recently interviewed Evelyn, who originally hails from Ireland, to find out more about what inspired her to write her first children’s book, and how she’s encouraged environmentalism in her own [adorable] son.
What inspired you to write this book? How long did it take you from developing the idea to writing it?
I was inspired to write Captain Green and the Plastic Scene when walking along the beach in Bintan. I was saddened to see so much plastic washed up on the beach, just past our hotel, so I decided to get to work on a picture book about plastic pollution. I adore picture books and had been working on a few at the time. I thought it would be more fun for young readers if the main character was a superhero who set off on a mission to solve the problem.
Eventually, Captain Green realises that he needs everyone’s help: “You don’t need super powers to save the seas, it just takes a super human.”
Read More: The Secondsguru Guide to Recycling in Singapore
In the story, Captain Green shows some of the things that we can all do to help prevent sea creatures being hurt by plastic. One of my aims was that children would really care and have a strong emotional connection to the story after seeing some animals in distress as the story builds. I came up with the concept on the walk and then it took various different shapes as I revised.
It took me about 10 months to have a final draft that was ‘submission ready’, but I worked off and on at it, when I had time. My son was in school for only half days at the time and I was working part-time as a teacher as well. It was important that I took time to study and learn more about writing for children and share my work with critique partners and editors as well.
How long have you lived in Singapore for? Do you enjoy spending time at the beach here, or in the region?
We have lived in Singapore for almost 3 years. We moved here after 7 years in Hong Kong and luckily have had a few friends follow us down.
I am happiest when at the beach. I love the sea and all water sports, from diving and sailing to kayaking and paddle boarding. I grew up near the Atlantic Ocean in the West of Ireland and don’t like to be too far from the sea.
I love cycling along East Coast Park and the lovely relaxed vibe there and I love to travel all around the region. I feel so spoiled to be surrounded by gorgeous tropical beaches. Thailand is a firm favourite of ours. We have recently discovered Khao Lak, which is a lovely quiet part of the country, but easily accessible from Phuket airport.
The book’s illustrations are so lively and colourful. What was it like working with someone to bring your ideas to life?
I am truly delighted with how well the illustrator, Danny Deeptown, has brought the story to life. He’s a real nature lover and was a perfect fit for this book. He is a traditional artist who uses watercolours and pen and ink. We worked very closely on the book despite him being based in the UK, and have become good friends. We hope to publish more Captain Green stories, and I am currently working on one where he tackles deforestation.
Read More: How to Live a Zero-Waste Lifestyle in Singapore
How old is your son? Did he play any role in the development of the book?
My son is 5 years old. He is definitely an inspiration for my writing. I am always jotting down ideas from stories based on funny things he says, or from his lovely way of seeing the world. Now he has started to share his own story ideas with me! Sometimes the plot lines get a little long and convoluted, but I love them all the same.
Danny Deeptown, who has illustrated the book in such a heart-felt way, loosely based Captain Green on my son, which meant so much to me. He even added his own baby boy in there.
What are the most important lessons that kids can take away from the book?
That our actions have an effect on the environment and animals. That we can all make a difference in small, everyday ways, and that we need to work together. Children will also learn what the 3R’s are and how they can use them to help keep the oceans clean.
Thanks so much, Evelyn! Be sure to check out her website for kid-friendly activities and colouring sheets!