Rita created this book to help educate about animal extinction and the importance of the rain forest. There are fun facts written throughout the book. Her book is beautifully illustrated as you can see from the paintings at my blog. Check out Rita's Kickstarter here, but not before you read the interview!
Dani: Why did you choose to focus on Orangutans in your story?
Rita: I've been a plein air painter and sketcher for years, and spent a lot of time sketching animals at the zoo. The orangutan family were great subjects, and as I became more interested I started doing research and realized how serious their threatened extinction is.
Dani: What's the silliest thing you've seen (or hear of) an Orangutan do?
Rita: I saw them at the zoo putting pieces of cardboard on their heads like hats. I learned later that it's a natural behavior to put a big leaf on their heads to shelter from rain. The zoo didn't have huge leaves, so they gave them sheets of cardboard from boxes.
Dani: Finish the following thoughts:
I need to express how urgent the plight is. I hope my book engages young readers with the natural world and endangered species. If they learn to love and respect orangutans, maybe they can make a difference in the future.
Animals are not for entertainment, but to be respected and cared for.
If only people would realize that the world's ecosystems are all intertwined, and each species depends on the others.
Dani: What's special about your work?
Rita: My educational background is Elementary Education with a concentration in Art. So when I started writing and illustrating pictures, I felt a real connection, both with the kids and the illustration. My pictures are colorful and whimsical, and in this particular work, I kept the story upbeat. I don't want to upset kids with a problem they can't help now. I just want them to learn about orangutans and the rainforest, so they'll help when they grow up.
Dani: What is your ultimate goal in life?
Rita: To help change the world for the better through education. That sounds kind of vague, but my specific goal now is to get this book printed and distributed. Toward that end, I've launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the printing. The kickstarter page has a video with sample pages, and an explanation of the project. It's a community effort from animal-lovers on all levels. Please check it out at this link: http://kck.st/1zsJVWe