As many of you know, I have been working for some years to dispel the many myths that circulate about penguins. My picture book The Truth About Penguins was an important step in this process.
Since its publication, I have gone into schools, libraries, festivals – wherever they will have me – presenting the facts to children young and old. Some of my audience, I find, are more easily persuaded than others. Some are downright stubborn.
Earlier this week, to kick off the National Year of Reading, I went down to Kwinana Library. There I attempted, mostly in vain, to preach my penguin-y gospel.
Audience feedback went something like this:
But penguins don’t eat pizza! They’re not funky! They don’t go to the beach! They’re not colourful! YOU’RE JUST BEING SILLY!!
It really is hard work sometimes.
Here’s something I found interesting, though. Following my talk, there was a craft activity. A penguin-based activity. Wherein stubborn children who know everything about penguins and think I’m JUST BEING SILLY made snowglobes. With penguins in them. And I watched as
they stuffed handful after handful of glitter into those snowglobes, as they dressed them up in stickers and sequins and colourful ribbon and glitter glue.
Because argue as they might, deep inside themselves, they know that what penguins really love is colour – spots and stripes and great snowing sparkles of it. They know that every penguin’s fondest wish is to be as funky as possible.
Thanks for your help in my quest, Kwinana Library. Slowly but surely, my message is gaining ground.
For those still sceptical, I offer this recent news item, from the local shores of Denmark, WA. Two salient details from the article:
The northern rockhopper penguins arrived on Parry and Ocean Beaches early last week …
Denmark’s two penguin visitors were released into the wild last Thursday after a surfboard ride to an island off Walpole.
Beaches! Surfboards! I rest my case.