Children’s book to Reef’s rescue

Children’s book to Reef’s rescue

Sandra Conte

28th May 2013

If you’re in disbelief about the ongoing devastation to The Great Barrier Reef, then here’s an e-book for you to share with your kids and their friends; it’s especially for 7-11 years looking for some ‘sea inspiration’. Mirabella the Mermaid Detective provides insight to the journey of an ocean activist mermaid.

The brainchild of Mother-daughter combination, Margo and Emma Gibbs, the magical mermaid story has messages for young readers. Book 1 in the series of e-books sees Mirabella introduced as a mermaid who breaks with centuries of tradition. As the first mermaid to ever cut her hair there’s a little more to the plot with Mirabella placing herself in unimaginable danger when trying to locate a family of fish who have mysteriously disappeared in the open ocean.

Mirabella loves exploring, solving puzzles, helping others and going on adventures with her two best friends, Seamese the lionfish and Luna the cuttlefish.

The first book in the series is illustrated by French-born Laurent Lalo, who currently lives in Noumea and regularly swims on the New Caledonian reef, second only in length to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. With Mirabella, he has produced a cheeky, inspiring mermaid who is described by Emma as being “Strong-willed, smart, loyal, adventurous, caring and passionate, an engaging role model who just happens to be a mermaid”.

Co-author Emma, a budding film and television producer further states, “Even though mermaids are fantasy creatures (or they’re just being very, very secretive), the real magic of the Mirabella stories is found in the real ocean-life woven into every story. From cuttlefish, who are ‘masters of disguise’ with three hearts, to the parrotfish that mow the algae with their beak-like mouths, The Great Barrier Reef is full of fascinating real-life characters.

All the stories are a product of our imaginations and doing a lot of research into all the amazing creatures on the reef.”

Margo, who is a published author and former primary school teacher, says she has been weaving tales since her childhood in Glasgow. “I believe the Great Barrier Reef is a one off, a marvel of nature that cannot be replicated, rebuilt or replaced, a world that can teach humans more about how to live in harmony and balance with the world around us. For that, it must be protected”.

Both Emma and Margo lay out their goal for Mirabella the Mermaid Detective to become an ongoing series of both eBooks and hard copy books, with an interactive website, engaging Apps and down the track a television series. As part of their vision for Mirabella, they would love to use the stories as a platform for reef awareness around the world, partnering with organisations that support maintaining reef biodiversity. Emma states, “We see the Mirabella story world as a great way to raise awareness and support the tireless global reef conservation effort that so many champion every day”.

Mirabella the Mermaid Detective is available on iTunes, Amazon and other major digital retailers as well as our website

Images: Mirabella and friends from the first book in the series by Emma and Margo Gibbs, illustrations by Laurent Lalo.

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