Kempsford children's author helps to educate children in Malta
Minister for Resources and Rural Affairs George Pullicino hands out copies of Harvey the Dog to school children in Malta
A CHILDREN’S author from Kempsford is helping to educate school children in Malta about water conservation, with the help of her popular character Harvey the Dog.
More than 12,000 copies of Jennifer Hyland’s book, entitled Learn to Care About Water with Harvey, are currently being distributed to schools across the country, as part of an educational water conservation campaign called Catch the Drop.
Jennifer said the stories were educational with an element of fun. "If they make the kids laugh, they are more likely to remember the message," she said. "Harvey is not about preaching, he is about bringing children together and promoting common sense."
The stories, which are illustrated by Chris Mundy, are aimed at primary school children aged between four and nine and include interactive activities, such as puzzles and colouring exercises.
The character started life as a pencil drawing and was originally inspired by Jennifer’s own pet dog. "He was a black retriever cross, but when I tried to draw him, the outlines weren’t distinct enough, so I decided to make the character blue," she said.
The project developed when Jennifer took part in a health promotion campaign for Swindon Borough Council in 1995, which led to the publication of her first book, Harvey the Lifestyle Dog. The book included a series of 18 short stories about issues of health and fitness, such as exercise, personal hygiene and drugs awareness.
Jennifer, who has spent time living and working in Malta, had already contributed to a junior news supplement in the Times of Malta before she was commissioned by the Maltese Ministry for Resources and Rural Affairs.
She hopes her links with Maltese schools could lead to a twinning programme for schools in Gloucestershire. She said: "The Ministry is keen to make connections with schools in the UK to add another dimension to the project."