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The Sumatran Trilogy

Emma Sandford
Emma Sandford Author Interview

What’s Troubling Tawny? follows a shy young rhino that has trouble making friends and meets a bird that helps her find her confidence and make friends. What was the inspiration for your story?

I wanted to write a story about the Sumatran rhino because, tragically, there are fewer than 80 of these beautiful creatures left. I thought it would be interesting to have a rhino who lacks confidence and struggles with her own body image and insecurities. I also wanted to get across important messages for children in relation to body positivity and how to overcome shyness, which a lot of children and even adults struggle with.

How did you decide on the location for the backdrop to this story?

All three books in the Sumatran Trilogy are set in the Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra, Indonesia. Originally, whilst I was thinking of locations for the books, I wanted it to be in a rainforest. My research led me to Sumatra, which is one of the most important areas of intact rainforest in the world. It is also the last place where tigers, elephants, rhinos and orangutans still roam together.

What is one thing that you hope readers take away from What’s Troubling Tawny?

There are lots of things I would hope readers will take from the story such as the importance of being yourself, being brave and stepping out of your comfort zone, as well as the environmental messages which are equally important. Perhaps the main message is how vital friendship and kindness are because without Tallulah’s encouragement, Tawny would not have approached Rusty.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am currently working on the final book in the Sumatran Trilogy, Hooray for Heidi!, which is due to be released in June 2022.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Instagram | Website

Tawny longs to make friends with another rhino, but her shyness holds her back. When she meets a hornbill called Tallulah, she is surprised to learn that she has a lot in common with the beautiful bird. Will Tawny find a way to overcome her shyness, and can Tallulah help her find a companion?

What’s Troubling Tawny?

Tawny is a Sumatran rhino and is having trouble making friends. She loves playing in the mud, but it is not as much fun without someone to roll around in the muck with. As she feels lonely, she hears a squawk, and it is a rhinoceros hornbill named Tallulah. Tawny loves the look of Tallulah’s horn and asks if she can help her have a colorful shiny horn too. Tallulah helps her, and suddenly Tawny has more confidence. Shortly after, she hears another rhino playing in the mud, and Tallulah encourages her to go and make friends with them. Tawny is very nervous, but Tallulah is there to help her make this big step.

What’s Troubling Tawny? is the second book in Emma Sandford’s Sumatran Trilogy. This remarkable children’s book deals with the challenging topic of making friends and being confident in who you are. Being shy is an emotion that children often face, and it is hard for them to see a way to get past that shyness.

Tawny thinks no one will like her for who she is and that her new rhino friend only likes her because of her shiny horn that is different. This stunning picture book shows children that it is important to find things you both enjoy doing together when making new friends. Making new friends is hard for some children, and this heartwarming story shows how it is ok to be afraid but to take a chance. Together Tawny and Rusty discover all the things they enjoy doing that are the same.

What’s Troubling Tawny? is an engaging and vibrant picture book that children will love and relate to. Parents and teachers will find this through-provoking children’s book a great addition to their library to help kids work through the complex emotions of making friends.

Pages: 30 | ISBN : 1916896812

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The Sumatran Trilogy

Emma Sandford
Emma Sandford Author Interview

The Problem with Poppy is about a porcupine that has trouble making friends and overcomes that fear. What was the inspiration for your story?

Like Poppy, I have been defensive where I didn’t need to be out of fear as I had experienced trauma which made it difficult for me to trust people and make friends. I wanted to write a book that drew on my own personal experiences but in a child appropriate way to show children that if they too have an issue with making friends, they need to overcome a fear and trauma or are defensive, they are able to overcome this. Everybody has a natural defence system, it’s a survival skill, but there is a time and a place to use it and as Poppy learns in the story, being defensive when she doesn’t need to be can have upsetting consequences. However, Poppy makes the brave step to address the issue and makes a lifelong friend in the process. I think people can relate to Poppy and learn that being brave and addressing your issues can make your life so much better and happier.

What inspired you to write a series about the rainforest?

The rainforest is so important as it enables so many different species of animals to live there. Sadly, with deforestation and poaching occuring around the world, I wanted to write a book which teaches children the importance of protecting these animals and the rainforest as well as educating them about how to deal with their own issues. I also wanted to help protect the animals and rainforests in any way I could and as a result of book sales from The Problem with Poppy and the next two books in the Sumatran Trilogy I donate £1 per book sale to Rainforest Trust UK which is then used to save the Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra, where the book is set. The Leuser Ecosystem is the last place on earth where tigers, porcupines, orangutans and elephants co-exist in the wild so I wanted to educate children on this amazing part of the world and what we can all do to preserve it.

How did collaboration go between you and the illustrator for the book?

My illustrator, Olena Osadcha, is based in Ukraine. It has been a pleasure working with her for this book. Olena is also illustrating the next two books in the Sumatran Trilogy, What’s Troubling Tawny? and Hooray for Heidi! Olena shares the same passion that I do in relation to the story and feels that the book has some important messages for children. Olena and I have worked very closely in getting the illustrations as perfect as possible to make them fun, cute and captivating for the reader.

I see there are two more books in the series set for publication, are they going to build on The Problem with Poppy or are they their own stories?

The next two books in the Sumatran Trilogy have some similarities to The Problem with Poppy but also some differences. They will both be set in the Sumatran rainforest but they will introduce new characters into each story while at the same time the characters from the previous book making cameo appearances! The next two books will, again, touch on important messages for children such as self confidence, self esteem, self worth, working as a team, trying your best, taking part in activities, along with reinforcing the importance of saving the rainforest and the animals that inhabit them.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Website | theproblemwithpoppy.co.uk

WINNER: Maincrest Media Award 2021 for Picture Books

Poppy the porcupine has always wanted to make a friend, but her defensive nature prevents her. When a young tiger cub stumbles upon her one day in the rainforest, she reacts badly and scares him away.

Determined to change her ways, she sets out to find him, but little does she know that the tiger cub is about to have a problem of his own. In the face of danger, will Poppy find a way to save the day?

The Problem with Poppy
 is an award-winning picture book aimed at children aged 4-8 and is the debut by British author Emma Sandford. Illustrated by Ukrainian artist Olena Osadcha.

“The Problem with Poppy by Emma Sandford is a perfect combination of fun and learning that any little kid will love.” – Readers’ Favorite ★★★★★

The book is the first in a series called The Sumatran Trilogy. The second book, What’s Troubling Tawny?, will be published in December 2021 and the third book, Hooray for Heidi!, will be published in June 2022.

£1 per paperback book sale donated to Rainforest Trust UK.

The Problem with Poppy (The Sumatran Trilogy) 

The Problem with Poppy (The Sumatran Trilogy) by [Emma Sandford, Olena Osadcha]

It is hard being a porcupine. Poppy is a young porcupine that scares easily due to being mistreated in the past. Now when someone new approaches her she sticks out her quills, stomping her feet, and hissing at them. It makes it very hard to find new friends, and Poppy is very lonely because of this. One day a young tiger tried to make friends with Poppy and she scared him away, instantly feeling bad. Today was going to be different though, today Poppy was going to go find the little tiger and apologize. After finding the young tiger disaster strikes and Poppy must overcome her fears to save her new friend.

I found the development of Poppy’s character appealing. A timid little porcupine that reacts with fear to all new interactions, turns into a character that is strong and loyal. Poppy will be relatable to young children that are often afraid of new people and situations. Poppy shows them that it is okay to be afraid while still doing new things.

When looking for a children’s book that has a meaningful message, captivating illustrations, and a unique story line look no further. Emma Sandford’s picture book The Problem with Poppy hits all the right marks for children and the young at heart. The reading level is ideal for kindergarteners and those that are on an early elementary reading level.

Pages: 17 | ASIN: B095XF3RK5

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