Children’s book about ocean conservation to be donated to Goleta library’s summer reading program
One bright morning, a little green sea turtle basks on the surface of Turtle Cove, where he arrived the night before.
He hatched from a sandy cradle on a shore hundreds of miles away and has spent the first six years of his life swimming through the open ocean.
Here in Turtle Cove he meets the inhabitants — a wise elder turtle, Kato, and other sea creatures. He admires the unique features of an octopus and starfish and wishes he could swim with a school of fish. He observes the gulls and terns circling overhead, flying freely and begins to question his identity.
“Have you ever wished you were someone else?” he asks wise Kato.
“Makana is a Gift” by award-winning local author Janet Lucy is the story of a little green sea turtle’s quest for identity and purpose and an all-too-common life-threatening encounter with a plastic bag he mistakes for a jellyfish.
“In the end, he understands that all creatures are needed to help and care for each other. He, too, has a unique and essential purpose — that life is a gift, and so is he. In Hawaiian, ‘Makana’ means gift, and thus he receives his name,” Ms. Lucy told the News-Press.
The book, which costs $18.95, is published by Seven Seas Press, a women-run, nonprofit based in Santa Barbara, which is fundraising to donate 400 of the books to the children participating in the summer reading program at the Goleta Valley Public Library.
“Seven Seas Press and the Goleta Valley Public Library share a passion for children’s books and the power of public libraries to reach young readers,” Ms. Lucy said.
Seven Seas Press’s fundraising campaign will run through July 30. For more information, visit igg.me/at/makana.
“The topic of ocean conservation along with the theme of the Goleta Valley Public Library’s summer reading program, ‘Oceans of Possibilities,’ brings a message of hope and empowerment to children who see themselves in Makana and want to do their part to protect the undersea world from the perils of plastic pollution,” said the author.
“Vibrant, life-like watercolor illustrations by Mexican artist Alexis Cantu make the story come alive.”
The books in English and/or the bilingual Spanish/English version, paperback or hardcover, can be purchased for personal use through the campaign, while donating a book at the same time.
A discussion guide, activities, facts, sources and resources are included. Children, ages 4 through 8, will learn about the biological beginnings of a sea turtle’s life as well as their ancient legacy, significance and symbolism and the importance of their ecological protection.
“ ‘Makana is a Gift’ is inspired by a little boy named Makana, who received his name five months after his birth, common in many traditions — to name a person after their nature or something special is revealed about them,” said Ms. Lucy, who is also a co-founder of Seven Seas Press.
“I’ve been carrying a sea turtle story in my heart for years now, having met sea turtles in the waters of Mexico and Costa Rica, and while swimming with the honu, the green sea turtles in Hawaii,” Ms. Lucy said.
“These magnificent creatures glide gracefully through the water, their peaceful vibration palpable. During one extraordinary encounter, an enormous sea turtle swam straight toward me in a clear shallow bay, where we were suspended momentarily, face to face, eye to eye, in a communion I can only describe as transcendent.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that these exquisite creatures possess a divine intelligence and inner peace, which ripples throughout the world-wide ocean, resonating with our own inner seas. Their protection from plastics, pollution and poachers is essential to the preservation of their beneficial presence.
“I have deep respect and appreciation for all of the people and organizations devoted to the preservation of sea turtles and all life beneath the sea. I’m especially grateful to my young friend Makana Ligrano, who inspired the character of the little green sea turtle.
“Themes of identity and belonging are important for young children. Through Makana’s story they can recognize challenges they experience. ‘Makana is a Gift’ offers children and families timely themes to explore together. May we all play a part in protecting these magnificent, magical creatures.”