CANBERRA author Nicole Godwin’s experience volunteering in an elephant sanctuary in Thailand led her to develop her first book about an elephant called Ella.
Godwin will be a guest speaker at this weekend’s Reader Writer Festival.
“The message in this book is to help those elephants that have been used and harmed in the name of tourism,” she said. “The picture book follows Ella and her quest for freedom. It also provides a glimpse into the lives of how elephants are being used in the tourism industry.”
Godwin said it was a story that helped plant seeds of compassion for animals, especially in children when she visited schools for book readings.
“Kids love the picture book, which was illustrated by Demelsa Horton, and I think they also like the message to the book, which is that we can help elephants that have been used in tourism and other industries such as logging,” she said
“I tell them stories about my experiences in elephant sanctuaries in Thailand. I explained recently to a Year 6 group how one elephant had a damaged foot because it had stood on a landmine and how they actually need to eat 14- to 16-hours a day and that a lot of them are under-nourished when they are working in the tourism shows.”
Ella was launched in August 2016 as part of the Canberra Writers Festival. Godwin said the book had had a lot of community support and she had raised $9000 through crowdfunding to help pay for the first print run. “People have been very supportive of the book and the idea behind the book, namely to help animals that are being mistreated,” she said.
“I have since started Tusk Books and plan to write other stories about animals, whether they be dolphins involved in swimming with dolphins programs, or tigers in the Tiger Temples of Thailand. I am a little voice in a much bigger picture, but things are changing slowly as people become more conscious of plight of these animals.”
Godwin will read Ella and provide insights to crowdfunding this Sunday at the Goulburn Library’s Children’s Room, 12.30pm to 1.30pm.