Dr Sue Pillans has always been drawn to the ocean and as an Aussie marine scientist and artist she specialises in creative and visual communications to “Picture your ideas”. Sue’s deep devotion for the ocean is also shared by her alter ego, Dr Suzie Starfish, an Australian children’s author/illustrator (‘Authorstrator’). Dr Suzie Starfish uses the art of marine science and storytelling to engage, educate and excite children about the wonders of our living oceans. As a children’s ‘Authorstrator’ she loves to use information and illustration to inspire the imagination and bring her sea stories to life through words and pictures – with a big splash of ocean optimism!
“Cranky Frankie and the oceans of trash” is the second in the series of children’s picture books by Dr Suzie Starfish, which draws attention to important ocean issues and offers messages of science, solutions and hope, following her debut picture book, “The Great Barrier Thief” which illustrated the impacts of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef. By diving into her stories Dr Suzie Starfish wants to empower our future ocean stewards (our children) that they can to be the change they want to ‘sea’ in the world.
This story illustrates the impacts of marine debris told through the eyes of our ocean creatures. Frankie the Porcupine fish takes us on a journey through the ocean where she and her friends become tangled in trash. This makes Frankie very CRANKY! As she has the natural ability to blow herself up when she is threatened or upset she inflates throughout the story to the size of a balloon as she sees all of her friends in oceans of trash. Frankie goes in search of helping her tangled friends and cleaning up the ocean that they love.
The focus of this story is on marine debris, which now impacts all marine and coastal habitats around the world. Our marine wildlife is also impacted by marine debris and plastic pollution through ingestion, entanglement, habitat changes and bioaccumulation, with marine debris entanglement now an internationally recognised threat. As this story is told through the eyes of Frankie the fish the readers will see the far-reaching impacts of marine debris on our oceans and wildlife as she swims through the oceans from the shallows, to the reef to the open ocean. As marine debris doesn’t just appear out of nowhere, it is more important than ever to educate our future ocean stewards (our children) about the impacts of marine debris.
Through the art of marine science this story will help children to be more aware of the types of marine debris and the impacts to sea creatures, along with everyday solutions to help rid our oceans of trash. Education and awareness through storytelling is a powerful way of engaging with children and their readers (eg. teachers, parents, grandparents, family, friends etc) as only through positive storytelling with solutions can we hope to change behaviours. Based on the latest marine science the last page of the story is dedicated to the science of marine debris, which is explained in terms early readers can understand and teachers can use as part of their classroom discussions and learning activities.
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