Australia is a land of geographic diversity: of grassy plains, stony deserts, forested mountains, snow-capped peaks, golden beaches and sparking blue water.
It is home to world’s largest coral reef system, the Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven wonders of the world and a popular tourist destination.
Kim Michelle Toft is an Australian silk artist who makes beautiful picture books with an environmental message aimed at increasing an appreciation of our oceans and their precious creatures and raising awareness of the importance of protecting them.
I own these five of Kim’s books; each of which has an engaging story supported by child-friendly information about the marine environment and its importance, and is beautifully illustrated with magnificent silk paintings, which are delightful in themselves:
One Less Fish counts back from twelve to zero and contains the message “Without constant care we will lose some of the world’s most beautiful natural resources. Remember: fish that die one by one may soon become none by none.”
Reef Superstar introduces many creatures of the reef and provides supporting information about the reef and each creature featured. (Does not appear to be available at the moment.)
The World That We Want contains forty-five creatures to be found in illustrations of nine different habitats and explains the inter-connectedness of ecosystems and their importance. The beautiful last pages open out to four pages in width showing the world that we want, from the forest to the ocean.
The Twelve Underwater Days of Christmas is an innovation on the original carol using beautiful illustrations of marine creatures. As well as information about all the animals it includes a stunning six-page foldout poster, and information about the original carol.
In this video Kim invites you into her gallery and studio and explains her silk painting technique.
Kim is also available for visits to schools. When she visited “my” school she read from her books, engaged students in related activities and demonstrated silk painting by creating an original which the school was able to purchase. Her vast knowledge, experience, and passion for her work and the marine environment make these visits worthwhile.
Kim’s books can be enjoyed by adults and children for the beauty of their illustrations alone. However the combination of visual appeal, richness of information and encouraging (strong, but gentle) environmental message provides even more reason to have them on your bookshelf or, better still, coffee table. They make perfect gifts for people of any age. I am happy to recommend Kim’s books to you.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.