Author Gillian Candler describes how she came to write At the Beach, which last week was announced as a finalist in the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards.
“At the Beach: explore and discover the New Zealand seashore, is the book I always wished I’d had when my son was growing up. At that time the books around on the subject seemed to be for adults or older children. We spent a lot of time at the beach and had a lot of fun, I hope that this book will encourage other families to do the same.
When we were developing the idea of the book, we realised that it was important to show animals in the context of the ecosystem, so children could see how living things depend on their environment, and of course find out ‘who eats who?’. So we came up with the ‘cross-section’ pages, which show a rock pool, the mud flats and the sandy beach ecosystems.
Keeping things short and sweet, meant that some living things didn’t make it into the book, there were some hard choices to make about what was in and what was out. The team working on the book each had their particular animal that they lobbied for. Mine was the ray, I think they are beautiful animals. We see them at our beach in the late summer feeding around the rocks in the shallows.
Our publishers came up with the idea of the identification card in the inside backcover, this is such an inspired idea and has got a lot of praise from people using the book.”
At the Beach: Explore & discover the New Zealand seashore
by Ned Barraud & Gillian Candler
Published by Craig Potton Publishing