At 12.51 pm on the 22nd February 2011 a magnitude 6.30 earthquake struck Christchurch. Five months previously a magnitude 7.1 quake rocked the city and the Canterbury region. The children of Christchurch and of Canterbury have suffered greatly as a result of these earthquakes and this book is dedicated to them. Royalties from this book will be donated to support the Save the Children Journey of Hope Programme in Christchurch and other related New Zealand projects.
The above notation is from the inside front cover and back of the following book written by a Nelson (NZ) woman who wanted to do something to help the children of Christchurch.
The Butterfly and the Earthquake
Illustrated by: Ned Barraud
Published by: First Edition Ltd 2011
Ages: 2 – 6 years
Theme: earthquake, fear, butterflies, hugs, awareness
Opening Lines: Tuesday morning was a very ordinary morning except that Tom was not at school. He had the chicken pox and even though he was feeling fine, he wasn’t allowed back to school.
Synopsis: Tom’s experience of the Christchurch Earthquake leaves him feeling frightened, angry and sad, but with the help of his parents he knows that he will be okay. The story is designed to be read to children by a supportive adult who can help with any memories or emotions that may arise as a result of the story.
Why I like this: In a clear, no-nonsense way this story unfolds of Tom’s day. Ordinary except that he had chicken pox so had to stay home from school. His sister went off to school his Dad to work in the city. His Mum was in the kitchen and Tom decided to check on his swan plants which were being stripped bare. There were some cocoons attached and he was sitting watching a Monarch butterfly flying about when it suddenly dropped to the ground. An earthquake erupts. What appears as only a minute to an adult can feel like hours to a child. Tom remembers what he had learnt at school in the event of an earthquake. I loved how it showed that in the moment Tom is brave and together, comforting his mum, going with her to pick up his sister and checking on a neighbour. It’s only later while checking on the Butterflies that his real feelings surface and his Dad knows what to do to make him feel safe. Adults will pick up on the analogy with the Butterfly that life does go on The big bold illustrations in soft pencil colours are full page, again depicting the simplicity of this story with a strong message.
Resources/Findings: Throughout New Zealand in schools, the workplace and in the home we are encouraged to have a container of emergency supplies in the event of an earthquake. Do you have one?
Here are five fun ways to help small kids prepare for an earthquake…. http://storethisnotthat.com/5-ways-prepare-children-earthquake/
Here is a great little video for kids in class to watch….. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmFHOgP35vo
This is a lovely post about the author Carol McKeever why she wrote the story and in how she felt it was important for adults to know their role is in ensuring a child feels safe and overcomes the experience of an earthquake. Also this book maybe out of print now, but there is a further link within this post where you may be able to obtain a copy. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/CU1110/S00046/childrens-book-released-the-butterfly-and-the-earthquake.htm
I’m always pleased to be able to bring you some more special books that have come my way and be able to share them with you and join other great writers over at Susanna’s Blog, where there are literally hundreds of book reviews to view. So pop over and visit the lovely author, Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books. Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with books reviewed by many authors
Interesting book. Thanks for featuring it. I put it on my “to read” list.
Thanks for stopping by Maria. Hope you are able to obtain it from a library possibly somewhere.
So glad that this book is available to children in an earthquake area. We need more books like this to help children deal with tragedies. There is a lot of earthquake activity all over the world, including the US. You live near Auckland, right?
Hi Pat, yes I agree we need more books like this for children and adults to help children with their emotions after an earthquake. Yes I live in the middle of Auckland. The city itself is the most narrowest part of the country. So glad you like the review.
Children need books like this. I am sure many kids worry about things like earthquakes and other natural disasters. A great review.
Thank you Darlene. Yes I don’t think there are too many stories around like this one.