When one thinks of a children's picture book, the first thing that comes to mind is usually not conservation (or at the very least not the conservation of an endangered species of crocodile). Fortunately, children's literature has become a focal point for modern conservation efforts all around the world and has proven to be a very valuable tool to promote awareness and education for a wide range of goals relative to conservation and human welfare.
For instance, some small river villages in China and India have had very serious health implications related to cholera. Not only is the illness debilitating and deadly, but it is entirely preventable with good hygiene and careful sourcing and filtering of water. Unfortunately for these villages, there was a serious lack of awareness and understanding to the actual cause of what was making the villagers sick.
When a humanitarian agency showed up, they brought with them a children's book that told the story of a child who helped teach his village the proper methods for sourcing water, using the restroom away from where water is collected, and proper ways to wash one's hands prior to eating. Although it may not have been the prettiest picture book on the planet, due to the reality of depicting cholera through pictures, the story played a very important part in creating a healthier lifestyle for many people.
As a research biologist, I have found a great interest in relating conservation to our children, as they truly are the next generation of people that will become stewards of our world. Recently, I have authored an educational children's book called A Crocodile Named Tom, which is aimed at promoting education and awareness for an endangered species of crocodile called the Tomistoma (Tomistoma schlegelii). The soon-to-be published storybook is fun, engaging, and heartfelt and helps readers relate to important issues regarding the conservation of endangered animals like the Tomistoma.
In this way, our nonprofit has the advantage of not only contributing to the successful awareness of the species, but we have the potential to garner local interest and support into making conservation efforts for the species possible. If the storybook becomes a hit, funds created from the book's sale can even become an important source of revenue for supporting future efforts for the species.
For more information about our storybook and how you can become involved and pledge your support, you can visit the Tomistoma kickstarter campaign. The book has been a collaborative effort from many people around the world and is written for efforts by a 501(c)3 charitable nonprofit called The Tomistoma Fund. To find out more about the illustrator, who has done an amazing job depicting the Tomistoma story through her watercolours, you can visit her website.
You can find out more about the goals for research and conservation by visiting The Tomistoma Fund website or facebook page.