Just in time for Christmas, Sunshine Coast publishing company, Hulabalula has launched the first in a series of eight illustrated children’s books under the ‘Wish You Were Here’ banner. The first book, ‘Wish You Were Here – Sunshine Coast’ depicts a range of characters in various Sunshine Coast locations. ‘Wish You Were Here – Sydney’ and ‘Wish You Were Here – Melbourne’ versions are currently in production.
The durable, large format, picture book features no text and instead focuses on highly detailed, multi-layered illustrations. Local resident, Frank Scrivano is the creative-thinking producer behind the book with the illustrations realised over a nine month period by talented Sunshine Coast illustrator and graphic artist, Leroy Sams. Leroy is well known in the local surfing community as a designer for several surf clothing labels.
Rather than dictating the story, the Wish You Were Here picture book concept encourages the reader to create their own narratives and follow the characters within each double page spread through a range of iconic Sunshine Coast environments.
In the first of nine double page spreads, a range of characters is shown at the Sunshine Coast Airport. The following pages depict the esplanade at Caloundra, aquarium at Mooloolaba, beach at Coolum, zoo at Beerwah, markets at Eumundi, riverside at Noosaville, Noosa National Park and a music event at Peregian Beach. The hinterland is not forgotten with references featured within the illustrations.
Whilst some keen eyed Sunshine Coast residents may like to think that they recognise themselves (or others) within the book’s pages, Frank declares that all characters are purely fictional with the selected locations representative of a broad range of things to see and do in the region.
German born Frank said that the book has been designed to be entertaining not only for children, but for people of all ages and nationalities. It can also act as a great promotional tool and quality souvenir for the Sunshine Coast.
“Conveyed perfectly by Leroy’s remarkably detailed illustrations, the book’s content represents a culturally diverse, inclusive and peaceful way of life with a focus on key themes such as sense of community, care for the environment, happy interpersonal relationships and healthy and active living. The book is set here on the Sunshine Coast but is really representative of the Australian lifestyle,” Frank said.
Frank was inspired to create the book after becoming increasingly bored with reading the same bedtime story books, over and over again to his three year old son, Leandro.
“I started to think about creating a story book that would be relevant to my son’s real life and have the option for endless story lines to be created, using a wide range of characters, locations and experiences.
“From there I looked to my own community, our incredibly beautiful surrounds and quality of life and thought, why not base a book here on the coast?
“The visually based, non text narrative permits the creation of highly personalised and original story lines by parents, grandparents and carers and provides a great platform for creativity for children of all ages.
“Children may decide to create a story about multiple characters within one location or they might choose to identify with a certain character and then create a story about them throughout all of the locations.
Frank said that he had focused on promoting harmonious, cooperative relationships between the characters with an emphasis on caring for each other as well as the planet. Healthy lifestyle choices such as eating good food, participating in sport and recreational activities, swimming, walking, surfing, recycling and conserving energy are reflected against a backdrop rich in native flora and fauna.
“Wish You Were Here – Sunshine Coast is a positive, life affirming book set in a real world environment where there are no super heroes or fairies but instead life savers, park rangers and other good, hard working, everyday people.”
Frank’s wish is that the book will find a home in every household, library and Christmas stocking across Australia as well as in visitors’ suitcases. He hopes that Sunshine Coast locals will want to send a copy of the book to their loved ones overseas, effectively transforming Wish You Were Here – Sunshine Coast into a giant, picture postcard.
“I want the book to travel the world and help to promote our region and Australia. I have plans to release the Sunshine Coast version in Europe in 2013 and think that it has great potential to boost inbound tourism by showcasing the range of experiences available here.
“One of the advantages of a book like this is that being picture based, it can be enjoyed by people of all cultures, including those who may not speak or read English.
“I hope that Wish You Were Here – Sunshine Coast becomes part of every family’s treasured book collection and will be passed down from generation to generation.
“The initial feedback we have had from a broad selection of adult and children test readers has certainly been positive.
“This book has changed my perception of ‘story time’. I now look forward to the chance to read with my son and make up new adventures, set in our local community every day.”
WISH YOU WERE HERE – SUNSHINE COAST FAST FACTS: