Terri Rose Baynton and Martin Baynton, acclaimed writers and illustrators of children’s books, are relaunching their collaborative first project together, ‘Leaving Dragon Island,’ a picture book about dealing with violence. At one level it is a simple tale of courage and conviction, at another it is a tool children can use to discuss aggressive behaviour through a story that is child-centric, life affirming and engaging.
Children are surrounded by violence. It comes in through the TV screen, through the car window and sadly for some, it comes into the playground and through the front door of their home. How do they make sense of this in their terms, how do they develop tools for recognising it, for speaking out and for walking away?
Leaving Dragon Island is a simple story that builds a landscape for those tools. At one level it is a picture book about courage. At another it is a flag that a young reader can wave if they too live on a Dragon Island.
‘Make Not Break’ is the motto of a small dragon called Norman. But Norman lives on Dragon Island where other dragons want to break things. They like to bash and burn and break everything. What can one small dragon do to make his island a more peaceful place to live, an island where making things is better than breaking things.
The central message:
It takes courage to follow your own path, to be true to yourself and your values when everyone around you behaves very VERY differently. Leaving Dragon Island is a picture book that speaks directly to young readers about issues of violence.
Leaving Dragon Island is a modern fable. It poses a moral dilemma for a small dragon who plays out a strategy for dealing with it appropriately. The following elements are depicted as clear story beats:
– Our hero loves to create when those around him enjoy destruction.
– Our hero doesn’t join in the fights that erupt around him.
– He tries to argue for peace
– ‘Make Not Break’ is his motto.
– He tries to make his own environment a little safer.
– He refuses to give up when nobody listens to him.
– He doesn’t give in to peer pressure and intimidation.
– He demonstrates an alternative view, leading by example.
– He shows that being creative can be smarter than being destructive.
– He encourages another dragon to understand and change his ways.
– He choses to leave a violent environment and walk away.
‘Leaving Dragon Island’ is now available for purchase.