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Learning About Australia’s Unique Wildlife

Anna Finch Author Interview

Hide and Seek Alphabet: With Australian Animals teaches children about the animals native to Australia while learning the alphabet. What inspired you to write a story about this topic?

I was inspired to write this when I noticed that a lot of the alphabet concept books, even ones with Australian animals, only write the letter, name of the animal and put a picture of it. I wanted to do something that was more interesting and engaging for young children. Australia has some unique wildlife with unique sounds like the lyrebird which is known for mimicking sounds like a car alarm and whistling or the kookaburra with its cackling laugh. I hope children will enjoy learning about Australia’s unique wildlife as much as I do.

The art in this book is fantastic. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator A.P. Gil?

Brilliant. A.P. Gil is an amazing artist to work with. They were very thorough and meticulous. We were both very clear about the expectations for the project, from both sides. I gave them a copy of the manuscript, reference images for each animal and some information about their habitat. My only request for the illustrations was that it needed be in a slight suitable for children, the animals needed to be recognisable as the real animal and on the ‘hide and seek’ pages the animals needed to be partially hidden. I gave them the creative freedom to design illustrations based on their interpretation of the manuscript. As part of this they would create sketches with different layouts for each animal as well as colour studies unique for each set of pages. We would regularly talk via Upwork to review any necessary changes that needed to be made and what to expect over the course of the week.  

What educational aspects were important for you to include in this children’s book?

As part of my teaching, I had done courses on improving spelling by explicitly teaching phonics or sounds that are represented by the graphemes or letter groupings. I had seen the benefits and positive impact of it on student learning with secondary students. I knew that when phonics are introduced at a younger age it is much more effective, especially with repeated exposure. This book allows teachers and parents to begin doing this. I structured the lines in the story using alliteration for each letter of the alphabet to help reinforce their exposure to the phonics or sounds of the letters.

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

I’m currently heading into the pre-order and ARC stage of my next picture book Mellie the Mermaid Is NOT Scared Of ANYTHING. It isn’t on any platforms yet as I’m currently creating an ebook. I’m also currently editing and publishing companion activity books for Hide and Seek Alphabet: With Australian Animals including a handwriting workbook and a colouring book with Australian animals. These activity books will be officially released in 2023, with those who follow me on Facebook (in certain regions) able to purchase of these books early directly from me this December. Mellie the Mermaid Is NOT Scared Of ANYTHING will be coming out on Friday 10th of March 2023.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Let’s go on an adventure through Australia. Hidden in the water and in the trees, or among the leaves, what will you find?
Australian animals are hiding from your eyes. What do they look like? What sounds do they make?
From A-Z, can you find the Australian animals with me?

Hide and Seek Alphabet: With Australian Animals

Hide and Seek Alphabet: With Australian Animals is a highly engaging children’s book that educates as well as it entertains. I’ve come across many alphabet books that use generic words, but Anna Finch adds yet another layer of education to her book with the focus on animals specifically from Australia. Some of the names of the animals were hard to pronounce but children will love seeing the exotic animals, especially in the beautiful artwork that illustrator A.P. Gil has created.

There are multiple levels of engagement to this wonderful children’s book. The book goes through the alphabet one letter at a time. With each letter we learn about an animal whose name starts with the letter, we learn a fact about that animal, and we learn sounds that it makes. Children will mostly love how the book invites them to find the animal on the page, and they’ll also enjoy making the different noises that accompany each animal. All of this together makes for an engaging lesson that any parent or teacher can use to ensure their kids are focused on the subject.

Hide and Seek Alphabet: With Australian Animals is an entertaining and educational children’s book. This is a perfect fit for any kindergarten or preparatory class. I highly recommend this book to any parent who is struggling to keep their child focused as there is plenty of fun activities built into this book.

Pages: 58 | ASIN: B0BHLH35BM

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