In the wake of the Black Summer fires and losing their business premises, Kangaroo Island-based publisher Stormbird Press was keen to rebuild with conscious intent.
They reached out to their readers across Australia to ask them what Stormbird should focus on. Many readers responded with four words: a children's fire book.
With funding from the Department of the Premier and Cabinet and the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Network, Stormbird commissioned the island's children's author Becky Westbrook, who in turn brought award-winning artist Jet James into the project.
'Evie and the Bushfire', written for children aged three to eight, is a moving and sensitive story of surviving a natural disaster, narrated through the eyes of children.
Evie is a spirit girl. When her island home is devastated by bushfire, she emerges from the shelter of her cave to discover her community has lost all hope.
But Evie refuses to believe that hope can be destroyed.
Becky Westbrook is Kangaroo Island born and raised.
Her first book 'Children of the Wild' is based on many of her own childhood experiences in nature and is a testimony to protecting the few remaining wild places left on Earth.
"After becoming a mother to three wild children of my own, I am inspired to write stories that fill children with a love for wild places and hope for their future," Becky said.
"Writing 'Evie' felt important at this point in Australia's experience."
Jet James is a Queensland-based artist recognised for printmaking, painting and mixed media artworks.
He has won many accolades including a shortlisting in the National Youth Portrait Prize of Australia, Winner of the Charles Ware National Young Artist Award.
"Working on this project with Becky, such a wonderful, meaningful children's book, has been a gift," Jet said.
Evie and the Bushfire will be pre-launched to the Kangaroo Island community on Feb. 6, ahead of the public, national launch on April 12, 2021.
Although free, tickets need to be reserved for COVID purposes, and Island pre-launch tickets are available through StormbirdPress.com