Gilgandra artist launches new children's book about drought

INSPIRING NEW DROUGHT BOOK: Talented Gilgandra artist Amy Naef (right) reading to her son Archie Valler (left) on the banks of the Macquarie River in Dubbo. Photo: CONTRIBUTED
INSPIRING NEW DROUGHT BOOK: Talented Gilgandra artist Amy Naef (right) reading to her son Archie Valler (left) on the banks of the Macquarie River in Dubbo. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

Gilgandra woman Amy Naef found her latest inspiration while riding in a taxi after a Hugh Jackman concert in Sydney earlier this year.

The mother-of-three and passionate artist was talking to the driver about the dry seasonal conditions facing much of the state when she realised just how few people knew what was going on in the bush.

She wasn't a trained forecaster or weatherman so she knew she couldn't change the grim weather forecasts, but instead she wanted to use her creativity to create a much more positive outlook.

For the last two months, Amy has been designing and writing her first children's book titled, One Day Closer to Rain.

It shares the story of the Australian climate, with a focus on drought and the importance of water, and encourages positive solutions.

"I created the book for children because, number one, our kids are our biggest influences, whether you have got children of your own or they are around you, they are the ones coming into the world next," she said.

"I've written it for country folk to have a positive outlook because it is one day closer to rain, it will rain again. It's also been written for city folk who may not understand what a drought is and its impact and what we can do about it.

"Then it's got solutions asking kids what they can do so only flush the toilet when you poo and leave it sit when you wee."

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The story is an interactive experience and Amy is speaking with teachers about the possibility of creating supplementary educational material.

"It's a conversation starter," she said.

"It has been written for parents to read to their children and for schools to read to classes and have that conversation.

"It's to create awareness about the drought, but not to frighten anyone, and to inspire people who might be affected by it to just hold on."

The book is self-published and entirely Australian made. Pre-sales opened on September 25 and 100 books sold in the first two days.

Amy said the feedback had been overwhelmingly positive.

"I think it's pretty relevant right now.

"We are at the business end of things, things are starting to get quite dire with all the climate discussion that is happening in the world lately.

"You don't want kids to be frightened of things, you want them to be empowered. We don't just want to see problems, we want to see solutions as well."

This isn't Amy's first brush with fame Amy has found herself in.

Earlier this year, following floods that swept through Queensland and killed hundreds of thousands of cattle, Amy decided to put a call out to paint a cow with a fantastic story.

She came across the social media famous Berryl the Brahman who had survived the ordeal.

Amy created a print for the cause and raised more than $15,000 for charities.

"My motivation is if you can do something, you must and the way I can help is with my art," she said.