Small Friends Books combine cutting-edge scientific research, rich narrative and beautiful illustrations to tell stories that describe symbiotic partnerships between microbes and larger life forms. Each book re-imagines the world from a microbial point of view, to engage and educate children and adults alike.
We are seeking funding for a creative development period of 8 months to describe the hidden living world beneath our feet – soil:
1. Xeno’s Feast will be a delightfully gothic tale that explores the unique partnerships between plants, nematodes (roundworms) and Xenos (Xenorhabdus bacteria).
2. The Forest in the Tree will describe the interconnected relationships between plants, mycorrhizae fungi and bacteria, inspired by the ‘Wood Wide Web’ – the underground, fungal ‘internet’.
Microbes make up 99% of life on Earth, playing a vital role in the health of all living entities and ecosystems – and yet no stories or education resources exist to help explain this. Small Friends Books tell positive stories about our smallest and oft misunderstood friends.
Socio-economic modeling forecasts a growing need for STEM education, as Australian children slip further down international league tables in Mathematics and Science. The current crisis of science teaching in Australia requires new modes of engagement.
Small Friends Books takes the approach of teaching science through storytelling – creating new tools to engage and educate children and their teachers, parents and grandparents about the critical roles of microbes in the world around us.
Our first two picture books (The Squid, the Vibrio & the Moon and Zobi and the Zoox) have sold over 5,000 copies, received endorsements from environmentalist and TV legend David Suzuki and ABC Science Show guru Robyn Williams. Small Friends Books has also been featured in mainstream print and radio, received significant recognition from the literary world through short-listings and awards, and have been invited to run workshops at a range of schools, universities and conferences in Australia and beyond.
We recently secured the endorsement and financial support from the Australian Society of Microbiology. However, the creative team of Ailsa Wild (writer), Aviva Reed (illustrator), Briony Barr (Art Director) and Dr. Gregory Crocetti (Science Director) require further funding to drive the drafting, storyboarding, illustration, design and layout of these next two picture books.
To publish these stories and take the Small Friends Books series to a wider audience, we plan to work with established publishers and build on our current distribution networks. Thus, after the creative development of both soil stories, we will produce a small print run for limited sale, and to pitch the entire series to publishers in Australia and internationally.
More info at www.smallfriendsbooks.com