Bronty closed his eyes.
He was sick of looking at messy rubbish he could not pickup.
New neighbour Freya, picked up plastic and wrappers.
But there was too much rubbish for one person to pick up.
Can anyone else help her?

 

The Neighbourhood Bushland
By Kerry Weymouth
Picture Story Book

Where did you get your idea from for The Neighbourhood Bushland?
On a Thursday morning, I brought my rubbish bin in from the roadside. I stopped to pick up rubbish on the bushland near the neighbour’s driveway. As I was bending down, picking up the rubbish, I heard the words ‘Thank you’. I stood up and had a sense that the bushland was saying thank you.
At that time, the old neighbour had moved out and a new neighbour moved in one week later. I knew I had to capture that energy of looking after the environment and write a special story.

How long did it take to finish the first draft?
The ideas flowed quickly onto the paper. I always like to use a pen and paper for character profile, and plot development. I completed the first draft of The Neighbourhood Bushland in one day.

What are the special themes or messages for the child reader?
Leadership is the main theme. A leader is aware of what is going on, and can see that something needs to be done. A leader believes in making a difference and then sets about creating positive change. My message is to encourage my readers to become an environmental leader. At the beginning of the story, the bushland is sad. No one in the neighbourhood takes any notice, cares or takes action. Then along comes Freya into the neighbourhood.

How have you demonstrated leadership in the story?
I’ve  broken leadership down into digestible chunks for my readers. The story starts when new neighbour, Freya decides to take action. She is very aware of what is going on around her and sees things can be different. A leader must believe in the change they desire to create. Freya then seeks help from other characters. Not everyone agrees to help her.  Freya shows resilience and belief in creating change.
The start of any leadership begins with the first follower. Freya’s Dad is the first follower to join Freya. Soon others in the neighbourhood join, and the results have a huge impact on Bronty.

Have you had a similar experience to your characters?
Yes. In the book, Freya is frustrated by neighbours who have thrown litter, plastic and wrappers around the bush area. I felt frustrated by my neighbours. We share a common wish. We wish we had neighbours who would respect and care for the bushland as much as we do.

Why do you think the story is successful?
I’ve used strong emotion at the beginning, for my reader to connect and care about the bushland. I have engaging plot with all the neighbours, including wildlife being part of this journey to make the bushland better again. The end of the story has a beautiful warm energy, that leaves a memorable imprint on your heart.