Preserving the world’s oceans with Coral Sea Dreaming

  • Published on August 4, 2017

Coral Sea Dreaming

Recently I had the great pleasure of attending the launch of Coral Sea Dreaming, the eleventh picture book by award-winning Australian author and illustrator Kim Michelle Toft.

Like her other books, Coral Sea Dreaming focuses on the underwater world and the importance of preserving it. One can’t help but be filled with wonder by the magnificence and beauty of her silk paintings with which she illustrated it.

Check out Kim’s home page for videos of her process of painting on silk, including this one of her painting the cover for Coral Sea Dreaming.

This latest book was written in collaboration with David Hannan, a world famous and award-winning cinematographer, film producer and conservationist. He is the founding director of Ocean Ark Alliance, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting, sponsoring and promoting marine education and the conservation of oceanic environments”. If you have viewed any documentaries about marine life, who have probably already seen some of his work.

Written in rhythmic rhyming prose, the narrator dreams of a passing parade of stunning nocturnal reef creatures. As dawn arrives, the dream ceases and the narrator shares an important message,

“We can no longer sleep or continue to ignore

The importance of what we must urgently restore

This coral sea world, this coral sea dream

A vital ingredient in life’s precious scheme.”

The book includes eight pages of information about the animals illustrated, human impact on our oceans, and the importance of marine conservation.

Kim says,

“The future is up to us. We all have a role to play and with people-power we can turn the tide of destruction and help preserve this complex and multi-coloured marine environment for future generations to cherish.”

On her website, the free teaching notes provide suggestions for science, the environment and each of the arts. The book can be used as a springboard to discussion about important topics such as climate change, human impact on the reef including coral sea bleaching, and sustainability. Discussion of topics such as these helps develop an interest in and concern for the world, and at the same time develops language and literacy skills. Some of the pages provide opportunities for finding and counting, and research of associated topics may involve data collection and interpretation.

Kim based her illustrations for the book on videos and photographs taken by David. Together they have created a special bonus channel of underwater videos that are available to purchasers of the book. The channel includes 2-minute snippets of the videos that inspired each of the book’s illustrations as well as a huge range of multimedia educational resources and videos suitable for children, families, everyone.

In addition to bringing this treasure into your home or classroom and heart, purchasing Kim’s beautiful book helps ensure that coral reefs are preserved and not relegated to dreams of the past. With 35% of all sales donated to Ocean Ark Alliance’s Global Educational Outreach initiative, you too can help make a difference.

Hannan’s videos are magnificent. He suggests using them as ‘virtual ocean aquariums” for homes, offices, hospitals, dental surgeries, anywhere. Why not display the videos on your whiteboard in the morning as the children enter the classroom, during transition and wait times, or when you are having quiet time? What a difference these virtual aquariums could make to your classroom environment. Since Hannan has made all his videos free in the interests of education and conservation, why not give it a try?

Be sure to look out for an interview with Kim about her picture book The Twelve Underwater Days of Christmas to be featured in Author-Illustrator Spotlight in November.

Kim and David are both passionate about education and spend much of their times visiting schools and talking to children about the underwater world and its conservation. Perhaps they have been to your school, or would be happy to arrange a visit. You can only ask.

When you read on websites like Save our Marine Life about cutbacks to our sanctuaries, you realise just how important it is to take action and for a positive change to occur. Educating our children and the public, as Kim and David do, is a great place to start.

Please note, as there is much for you to explore on Kim’s website, The Ocean Ark Alliance and the bonus channel with your purchase of Coral Sea Dreaming, I have not uploaded any new resources this week. However, you could check out the free interactive resource Let’s find out about sea turtles and the special subscription discount that closes in just 6 days!

Let's find out about sea turtles cover

Register now to begin using free resources, or Subscribe for access to all resources.

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    I’m pleased you enjoyed it, Sarah. Thanks for popping over to read and comment.

    A post worthy of the stunning see corals that deserve our attention and preservation. I love that an artist and a videographer teamed up together to share their art in a way to explain science and preserve a natural wonder that is threatened by human activity. Watching Kim paint silk surprised me. I’ve not seen such a technique before, and I marvelled at how adept she was at applying colors. Terrific post, Norah!

    Thank you, Charli. The synergy of the collaboration is inspiring, isn’t it? A wonderful blend of the arts, including visual arts, literature, and music; and science. A little for everyone to excite the imagination and inspire positive energy in conserving our beautiful planet. I admire Kim’s artistry, she is passionate about her work, and the oceans.

    Yes, it is a wonderful collaborative synergy. I feel encouraged when I see people bring their best to a shared interest and make room for learning through both arts and science. Those silk paintings are something I won’t soon forget!

    Thank you, Charli. It is wonderful work, and I was so happy to get a chance to view all the original silk paintings for the book at the launch. They are large paintings and bought by collectors, including David Hannan, from all over the world. She will be visiting Canada later in the year. Much of her work has found owners there. One also found a home with Mike Jagger and Jerry Hall in the nineties, and some with other celebrities that I can’t think of at the moment. We are fortunate to be able to enjoy them in her picture books. Hopefully the picture books will encourage marine conservation efforts so we, and future generations, get to admire the real things for years to come.

    Thank you very much for reading and commenting, Robbie. I’m pleased you enjoyed the post and support the message.

    Lovely post Norah, I enjoyed it very much. Just recently I was at the sea life centre in Brighton and enjoyed their educational talk about turtles and the harm of plastic to our underwater world.

    Thank you for reading and commenting, Marje. The Sea Life Centres and Aquariums also play an important role in educating us all, don’t they? I am always amazed by the diversity of marine life.

    Wow! This was a beautiful post, in message and art. What a wonderful book this looks to be. The artwork and video were spactacular. 🙂 Thanks for the introduction to Kim and David’s work. 🙂

    I’m so pleased you enjoyed learning about the important work that Kim and David are doing in educating us about the beauty of our world and the importance of preserving it, Debby. Thank you very much for reading and commenting.

    I love this book too Norah and I love this blog post!! I am also going to blog about this book and you have inspired me to add more. Some great insight and resources here, thank you for sharing.

    Thanks Robin. I’m pleased you enjoyed the post. It is brilliant and important work Kim and David are doing.

Please share your thoughts. I love it when you do.

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