What the World Needs Now is an environmental children’s book series for ages 4-8 that aims to connect the world’s youngest book lovers to the importance of nature, and our place in it.
Each book in the series follows a friendly animal through its habitat, helping kids learn about one thing the world needs now, be it more trees or bees or less plastic, to maintain a healthy planet.
The series is designed to help parents and educators lay the foundation for future learning on the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. But for our littlest kids, the connection starts at a much simpler point: their first job is to fall in love with nature – because you don’t protect what you don’t love.
The books support engaging with our kids on how we can better respect and care for the only planet we have.
This is a brand-new adventure for me – completely independent and self-published! And it feels like the culmination of everything I have ever worked on.
When was the last time you bought a book that offset its own carbon emissions and preserved critically threatened rainforests? So proud to say that when you buy “What the World Needs Now: Trees!”, you will be doing just that.
Meet Jefri! He’s the adorable main character in the first book of my series called What the World Needs Now: Trees!. He was created by my talented illustrator Zuzana Svobodova. For me, it was love at first sight!
I knew I wanted my first book in the series to be about trees, and after my World Bank mission to Sumatra in 2019, I knew I wanted my main character to be an orangutan. They literally have everything to lose by tropical forest loss. And since they share so similarities to humans, I thought an orangutan would be the perfect animal to underscore the ways in which we are all connected to trees.
Watch this amazing video to see Jefri come to life!
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
This picture book’s bright illustrations and cute characters will enchant young children engaging their interest in nature and making them realise that they need to protect what they love.
Jefri the Orangutan shows children his rainforest and the trees there. The life-giving nature of trees is explained and emphasised so that children realise their importance to all living things, including humanity. The consequences of cutting down too many trees and the importance of planting more and varied trees, to protect the rainforest, are shown in an easy to understand way. The book demonstrates the fragility of the ecosystem well. Although aimed at children, the book has a message relevant to adults too.
I was born and raised in Southern Ontario, Canada in the cities of Burlington and St. Catharines. Long before the internet and mobile phones (now I’m aging myself!), my childhood was spent in forests and parks, on bike rides, and playing hide and seek until the streetlights came on. My family did comical Griswold-style road trips in wood-paneled station wagons. We spent summers swimming in friends’ backyards. These are my very fortunate roots.
I knew from an early age that my destiny would take me far from Southern Ontario. I graduated high school and moved to Montreal to study international politics at McGill University. The subject fascinated me, but as graduation approached, I realized I didn’t know what I wanted to do with a degree in international politics. I didn’t want to become a lawyer. I didn’t want to become a politician or civil servant. The media industry, on the other hand, intrigued me.
The West Coast of Canada also intrigued me. So, after graduating McGill, I packed up again, moved to Vancouver and took the first media job I could get at a local Top 40 radio station (Z.95.3) in Vancouver. Best job. Great bosses. I learned so much. But after a couple of years there, the winds of change came calling again.
September 11, 2001. In a heartbeat, Z95.3 went from playing Britney Spears to reporting up-to-the-minute information on the local, national and international fallout of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. In that moment, I knew I had found my calling. I wanted to do something that was needed on a good day, and needed even more on a bad day. I wanted to become a full-time journalist.
So, I packed my bags again (a running theme in my life), and moved to Ottawa, Ontario to do my Masters of Journalism. Another incredible two years culminated in me getting a research internship with the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) in London, England. That position helped me land back in Montreal for a second chapter there as local news reporter for the CBC. While I was there, I wore just about every hat you could in CBC’s radio and TV newsrooms. Depending on the day, I was a researcher, producer, reporter, or online writer. I even filled in for the weather reports every once in a while.