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Survival Stories Series

Tuula Pere Author Interview

Traveling Companions follows three villagers that are left alone after the destruction of their homes from a mudslide, together they must find a way to down the mountain alone. What was the inspiration for your story?

I often write about even extreme difficulties and challenges faced by individuals and the interaction between people in such situations. The background of the events can be a disaster affecting the wider community – sometimes even the entire society.

The main reason for this book and the entire Survival Stories Series is the tragedies that Nepalese people faced in the massive 2015 earthquake. It was by no means a single event but a whole series of difficulties that still exist and are reflected in life. Many new things had to be built and the old repaired – which applies to emotional damage in addition to material things.

Naturally, I followed the flow of news related to the events, but I felt very powerless in the face of this great distress. The catastrophe was experienced on the other side of the globe, where I had not even been to myself. However, I have friends who are familiar with the places or live in Nepal. They emphasized the importance of children’s literature in a situation like this. They made me see that I have this particular way of making an impact, even a modest one.

I loved how you showcased that everyone has value and can contribute in this story. What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The book’s title – Traveling Companions – expresses the idea that we humans are together on all our life journeys. It is wisest for us to support each other in every way. That makes us stronger and helps us achieve better results.

It is important that we see the value of other people and respect them for who they are. Everyone has their weaknesses and their strengths. The best overall result is achieved when these different characteristics are considered.

To emphasize this, I have included three very different people in the story. Each of them is deficient in some respect. My message is that they are all valuable in their own right. When the special skills or characteristics of each of us are combined, the end result is greater than the sum of its parts.

The story also emphasizes the value of both childhood and old age ¬– as well as using strength for the benefit of others. The child can see with his clear eyes. The older man can share his knowledge of medical assistance and help find the way to the valley. The strong but blind man can use his strength with the help of others.

All the traveling companions in real life, too, need each other!

Do you like audiobooks, physical books, or e-books better? Why?

There were only physical books in my childhood, so they are naturally the most familiar to me. Even as a writer, at first, it was my ultimate wish to succeed in creating a beautiful paper book with valuable content. I imagined as many children as possible holding them in their hands and enjoying the illustrations and stories in peace, in a place of their choice.

I have read countless paper books to my children and later to my grandchildren. My bookshelves are still full of our favorite children’s books. There is nothing better than a peaceful moment you can offer the child in your arms by reading a good book together.

Technology has increased the possibilities of enjoying literature in many new ways. I approach all options with an open mind. The most important thing is the reader’s opportunity to choose the most suitable way to enjoy good literature. My own stories have also been published in all possible formats. I believe they all have their place.

In the end, the most important thing is always the quality of the content produced and a meaningful message. Good is good, even when served in different ways.

What other books are you working on in the survival series and when will they be available?

The Survival Series already has three books: Traveling Companions, Saved from the Flames, and The Owl and the Shepherd Boy. They all have strong illustrations by Catty Flores, which I think fits well with the dramatic events of the books. The style also leaves room for the reader’s thoughts, and it is possible to place the events in a wide area.

I consider it possible that there will be sequels to the series. The world is full of events and situations where you need to believe in the possibility of survival, even if everything seems impossible.

As a mother and a children’s author, my thoughts turn to children whenever there are various challenging events – such as natural disasters, accidents, or wars. Of course, it is difficult to improve the world and help even in small matters by just writing children’s books. Even so, I still see some ways to make a difference.

Writing survival stories is all about sharing experiences and putting yourself in the shoes of others. I have a unique opportunity to influence readers’ attitudes, as I can share information about things that would otherwise remain unknown. I can also increase readers’ empathy towards the suffering of others and make them ready to help.

The importance of books like these increases, particularly in complex and extensive problem situations. Good stories can make the events more understandable. The sense of community can then cross not only geographical boundaries but also cultural boundaries.

Author Links: Facebook | Website

After devastation caused by a landslide, the people of a small mountain village are forced to leave their ruined homes and embark on a difficult journey towards the valley.

However, an unlikely trio has to stay behind and wait for help. The rope-maker’s son, Tony, has injured his leg; the oldest of the village is weakened by his age; and the blind blacksmith is not likely to make the difficult trek down. They are anxiously waiting to be rescued, but they are running out of options.

Even though the odds are against them, the three companions gather their courage and set out. On this dangerous journey, they rely on each other and share the little they have left.

Traveling Companions 

When a mountain village is destroyed by a mudslide, the villagers must relocate to the bottom of the mountain. A young boy is injured in the mudslide and has a broken leg. He can not walk with the rest of the villagers, so he remains in what is left of the village with the old village elder and the blind blacksmith. They face the choice of waiting there with little water and food or trying to reach the valley on their own. Together they form a plan to try and reach safety relying on one another.

Traveling Companions by Tuula Pere is a beautiful children’s book about working together and realizing each person’s strengths and values in life. While each of the three companions has a significant physical challenge, they can work together and put their skills to use to survive.

I love how the weakest and most vulnerable are brought into focus for this story. It teaches compassion to those that need it and shows that even when old, sick, or disabled, people still have value and can contribute. Children will learn that everyone has value, even if you can not see it immediately. Each member of the traveling group has an important job. The young boy had food and water that the other two did not, as well as good eyesight, the blacksmith had strength that hey other two lacked, and the elder had knowledge of how to safely get down to the valley.

Traveling Companions is a heartwarming picturebook for classrooms and families that teaches children about diversity and acceptance and that everyone has value in society. The message of teamwork and persistence shines, though, and kids will see that when they work together, they can accomplish things they would not be able to on their own.

Pages: 32 | ASIN : B07HYXSPYV

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