It is with great honour I am hosting Kate Peridot for the last slot of her book tour with her first non-fiction book Caring Conservationists Who Are Changing Our Planet, published by Walker Books.
Conservation is something dear to my own heart and more and more children today are becoming passionate about caring for their environment. I am a volunteer at my local BBOWT nature discovery centre where I do activities with groups of children on different aspects of nature and conservation, so I am particularly excited about being able to interview Kate about Caring Conservationists.
In Caring Conservationists Who Are Changing Our Planet, Kate Peridot takes us on a whistle stop tour around the world to discover the stories of 20 conservationists and the endangered animals they are campaigning to save, including the blue whale, great panda, honeybee, the last kākāpō, and the sea turtle. Sarah Long’s bright vivid illustrations capture the heart of the conservationist and the endangered animal.
This is a cleverly designed book full of inspiring facts about a wide variety of diverse conservationists and the endangered animals they are campaigning to save. The activities are fun and engaging I am sure young children will be eager to build a bug hotel, draw a campaign poster or make their own nature documentary to name but a few.
This vibrant non-fiction book is positive, uplifting and packed full of information, with 20 fun activities for children to try, this book will show children no one is too small to make a difference.
Useful for use in the classroom to support work in the science programme of study for – Key Stage One and Key Stage Two, in particular, Working scientifically and Living things and their habitats. The ideal book to buy to keep your children active and happy during the holidays.
The author, Kate Peridot, writes both fiction and non-fiction children’s books. Originally from London, she now lives with her family in the South of France. She writes wild and adventurous stories about animals, people and STEM that encourages a can-do spirit, a quest for knowledge and a sense of adventure. A further nine books non-fiction books are in production launching between 2023-2025.
Thank you, Kate, for agreeing to be interviewed as part of your blog tour about your recent non-fiction book, Caring Conservationists who are changing are planet.
What was your inspiration to write a non-fiction book for children about the high-profile people involved in conservation and the endangered animals they are trying to save?
I live in the South of France and the impact people have on nature is more visible day to day than in the UK. I’ve stood on a melting glacier in the Alps, seen coastal pollution from tourism, and we’re in the second year of a drought. Despite a semi-arid climate, I’ve created a garden from scratch and slowly watched the animals move into the hedgerows and flower borders and it’s been really rewarding to watch a mini eco-system develop. There are bats, dragonflies, swallows, and giant toads that eat the mosquitos. Fireflies hide in the hedgerows and pine martins and wild boar steal our fruit! Nature, when given a helping hand, knows exactly what to do. Conservation is both a global issue but also a personal one. Children love animals and being out in nature. They want to understand and help, and I wanted to show them there are lots of people who feel the same way and are making a positive difference.
How did you decide which conservationists you would choose for your book, Caring Conservationists?
Charlie, the editor at Walker Books, and I agreed we wanted to feature mostly conservationists who were working within their own communities or protecting animals in the country where they grew up. Conservation often starts at home and children would identify with this. We also aimed to have a conservationist from every continent, protecting very different animals and also doing different types of conservation work. There is sustainable farming, growing super corals, rewilding, a park ranger, raising awareness of climate change and lots more.
The conservationists are as young as 4 years old and as old as 96! There are also a few famous conservationists from the recent past, such as Gerald Durrell and Jacques Cousteau, who inspired others to follow in their footsteps. Their charitable organisations continue to inform and train the next generation of conservationists.
Why is it important to raise awareness and educate young children about global conservation?
Children are naturally curious and will have their own favourite animal or two. I’ve included different conservation challenges and types of conservation jobs. In the media, the activism side of conservation often dominates and unfortunately, can be seen negatively, but that is only a small part of conservation work and there are a lot of quiet conservation projects where individuals and communities are making a big difference. This book shows children there are many ways to help nature and they can decide what they want to do. It can be as small as making a bug hotel out of bamboo straws, leaving water out for hedgehogs in the summer, learning about endangered animals nearby, or getting involved in school tree-planting projects.
Tell us a little about the format and activities in Caring Conservationists?
Children love non-fiction books because they can open a page and read bite-sized snippets of text almost in any order and dip in and out of any page. This makes fact-based books super appealing for a range of ages and reading abilities. On each page, we have the conservationist’s story as a narrative, and then there are short fact boxes about the animals. There’s another story box about the conservationist’s legacy as an animal champion, plus an activity too. Sarah, the illustrator, has done a wonderful job capturing the likeness of the conservationists, the animals and creating beautifully themed borders. There’s so much to look at on each page.
Do you have a favourite activity in the book?
That’s a difficult one, there are 21 to choose from. Thinking back to my 7-year-old self, I would have loved to make the reef collage or local wildlife scrapbook. I loved art! I would also have wanted to make a den with my brothers to watch out for any animals that flew or crept into our garden from the woods behind our house. If we were allowed to camp out after dark, even better!
Did you have any writing rituals whilst writing Caring Conservationists? Tell us a little about your writing process.
In every conservationist story, I looked for the moment the conservationist knew they had to do something to help, and I wanted to capture that hope and positivity. I don’t have any writing rituals as such, it’s mostly me in my quiet office with my notes and computer. I do about 2 hours then stop for a break. Otherwise, I just keep going each working day until the story and facts work together and the manuscript is ready for the editor to edit and the illustrator to draw.
How did you do the research for Caring Conservationists?
The majority was desk work, and some great information was supplied by the conservationist’s charitable organisations. I also visited St Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital in Buckinghamshire, founded by Les Stocker and his family, which has a visitor centre and the Oceanography Museum in Monaco, which was originally curated by Jacques Cousteau. This had the history of Jacques’s work, and his submarine, which features in the illustration, and also information about coral reefs, blue whales, melting polar ice caps and actual sea turtles swimming around. There’s also a zoo nearby for endangered animals which has New Zealand’s vulnerable flightless birds and some very noisy leaping lemurs, all of which make an appearance in the book.
Is there anything else you would like to tell readers about your books and writing for children?
I have two more animal books launching this spring/summer.
My Animal Family is available from 4th May, illustrated by Nick Jones, and published by DK and is for children of 6+ years. There are 15 animal families in the book and an animal from each family tells their story of family life. Discover who’s the boss, who looks after the babies, and who’s in charge of getting the dinner. Children can compare each animal family to their own family and choose their favourite.
Meet the Bears is for all bear lovers, whether that’s real bears or teddy bears! It’s illustrated by Becca Hall and published by Welbeck and for 4+ year-olds. It’s available from the end of June. Pack your teddy and join an around-the-world adventure to meet the world’s eight species of bears. From polar bears to giant pandas, from spectacled bears to the Asiatic moon bears. Which bear family does your teddy belong to?
And I have further animal and STEM books in the illustration stage which will be out next spring.
Wow! This is all so interesting. Thank you Kate for being so generous with your time in answering my questions. I look forward to seeing many more of your books on the shelves.
To find out more about Kate Peridot and her books you can visit her website www.kateperidot.com, Twitter @kateperidot, Instagram @kateperidot and on Facebook @kate.peridot.7
You can purchase Kate’s books books from most independent booksellers or online from uk.bookshop.org, an organisation with a mission to financially support local, independent bookshops.
To take a look at the other stops on the tour check out the tour schedule: