Back in 1992 a young girl addressed the United Nations with a powerful speech.
Raised in Vancouver and Toronto, Severn Cullis-Suzuki has been camping and hiking all her life. When she was 9 she started the Environmental Children's Organization (ECO). They raised enough money to go to the UN's Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Their aim was to remind the decision-makers of who their actions or inactions would ultimately affect. The goal was reached when 12 yr old Severn closed a Plenary Session with a powerful speech that received a standing ovation.
“We're a group of 12 and 13-year-olds trying to make a difference ... We've raised all the money to come here ourselves, to come 5,000 miles to tell you adults you must change your ways. Coming up here today, I have no hidden agenda. I am fighting for my future. Losing my future is not like losing an election or a few points on the stock market. I am here to speak for all generations to come. I am here to speak on behalf of the starving children around the world whose cries go unheard. I am here to speak for the countless animals dying across this planet, because they have nowhere left to go. I am afraid to go out in the sun now, because of the holes in the ozone...
Did you have to worry of these things when you were my age? All this is happening before our eyes, yet we act as if we have all the time we want and all the solutions. I am only a child and don't have all the solutions. I want you to realise, neither do you... If you don't know how to fix it, please, stop breaking it.”
The Secret Quest to Jumlatan
The Secret Quest to Jumlatan was created as an expression of deep concern for the environment. While it is an action-packed, fast-paced adventure novel, critics describe it as an “environment fable” an “action adventure with a conscience”. Aimed at a teen audience (or anyone who loves a good tale) it follows the adventures of two young people, Brad and Crystal who embark on a quest given them by the Carers to help in the preservation of the planet. In the fictional world of the novel The Carers, unbeknown to humanity, have been protecting planet earth for millennia from the ravages of the dreaded Pitters, a race whose one aim is to rid earth of all fauna and flora and to gorge on the minerals of the earth that gives power and sustenance to them.
A book that shows the way of the future
The Secret Quest to Jumatan makes innovative use of multimedia. Embedded throughout the book are several tracks from the album of the same name. Produced by well-known Melbourne music producer Ross Ingles, the songs are an inspirational reminder of the responsibility each of us has to take care of the planet. Performed by the Cootband a fantastic group of characters, half-marsupial, half-human. These amazing beings not only sing, they are consummate martial artists, led by the formidable Bilby, who is guardian to our heroes throughout their quest.
Instead of the usual cast of goblins, dragons and witches from European folklore and Tolkein The Secret Quest to Jumlatan introduces children to a story set largely in thec land downunder, white and indigenous, playing the key roles alongside a unique assembly of freshly created characters: marsupial men, changelings, insect tailors and the villainous Pitters, creatures of living stone.
In addition to the music, available on iTunes as well as in the iBookstore, there is also an epic video trailer. http://youtu.be/
Given the extensive use of electronic media and multimedia among contemporary youth, the Secret can be seen as an example of how publishers will have to reach the new audiences of today and the future, another lesson this futuristic fable has to offer.
What the critics say:
A very positive novel, its message beautifully reinforced by humour and natural contemporary dialogue. The SECRET – Quest to Jumlatan is an ecological fable that will engage all young readers.
Leigh Blackmore, Editor of Terra Australis (Pan McMillan) and George Turner Prize Judge.
"Eco-warriors, a classic quest and plenty of humour thrown into the mix: The Secret is adventure with a conscience. The combination of cynicism and affection in Brad's relationship to his father is spot-on, while Kel's one-liners brought a smile to my face at even the darkest moments of the tale. Even the non-human characters are engaging - I was horrified to think that the loveable Bilby had perished before the quest was over! An endearing and believable cast all round."
Nansi Kunze, author of Mishaps and Dangerously Placed (Random House)
‘I’ve come to the last page of your book and all I can say at the moment is WOW! … It’s a terrific imaginative work, an Aussie ‘Lord of the Rings’ or an extended Harry Potter for teens … The kids dialogue is full of wit and banter, which gives a light touch in those many dire situations … Saving the life of the planet is the ultimate in goals and couldn’t be more relevant! ... No Doubt about it! A complex story packed with incidents, clearly presented, and each slotting perfectly together … The writer is gifted in being able to present a scene clearly and economically so that the story keeps its cracking pace … The pictures too are just right for the teen reader …”
Author/Illustrator of A Strange and Powerful Magic and Skew-Wiff (Hodder Headline)
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to obtain a FREE multimedia digital copy of the book and music for review.