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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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