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Book Review: Sibo Saves Water, by Ginny Stone, and an Interview with the Author

At a time when water-related issues are becoming increasingly important, Ginny Stone’s brightly illustrated Sibo Saves Water (Lets Look; ISBN: 978-1-92011669-9) comes like a breath of fresh air, excusing the mixed metaphor. In line with her other books in the Sibo series, the narrative tells the story in rhyming couplets of how Sibo recalls how the visiting environmentalist, Earthman, had shared with her school that many parts of the world are in dire need of a clean water supply. Beginning with a succinct description of the water cycle, the enterprising and IT-savvy Sibo then explores, by way of the Internet and books from the library, how water is purified and cleansed for domestic use.

“Sibo Starts to Save Water” then tells of numerous water-saving strategies that Sibo gets her entire family following, much to their annoyance at first, but with a dawning awareness of how efficient water use can help their family make the most of the resources that are available to them. The strategic importance of wetlands is the next issue that comes to light, when Sibo goes on a picnic with her best friend, Wayne, and her Dad to celebrate her birthday at the local Wetlands Park. The book ends with some more facts about water use and recycling, and some additional tips on how the reader can save water.

Aimed primarily at tweens, the Sibo series is pleasurable and fun reading for children of all ages. Its colourful pages bring the issue of water management to life in a meaningful, yet entertaining, way. If you try this one with your kids, in an effort to make them more water conscious, and would like to access other relevant books together with them, do note that some of the Sibo books are available for free from the website https://sibo.co.za. If you’re keen on greening the planet, and wish to inspire other youngsters with similar ideals, as well as to arm them with workable solutions to impinging environmental issues that challenge, if not threaten, the world, you need go no farther than the Sibo series – the expanding series is bent, in time, on covering them all.

An Interview with Ginny Stone, Author of Sibo Saves Water

Lois Henderson, reviewer for BookPleasures.com, welcomes as our guest Ginny Stone, author of fourteen books in the Sibo series, who combines a hectic home life with being secretary/treasurer of the Southern African Association of Science and Technology Centres (SAASTEC).

Lois: Good day Ginny, and thanks so much for participating in our interview. Please explain the background to your writing of Sibo Saves Water.

Ginny: Sibo Saves Water was an easy title to write. Water is precious, and kids are always being told to save it, but it’s a bit confusing because rain (a.k.a. water) falls freely from the sky. I wanted children to know how it falls from the sky (yes – I know they do the water table in school) and what happens to it after that. I wanted them to buy into the whole deal of saving water. All my books are about empowering children with knowledge in a fun way. They don’t even realise that they are learning. Also, we used to go walk in the wetlands (at the Marievale Bird Sanctuary), and I never saw many kids there – so wanted to bring the idea of visiting these lovely places into the book.

Lois: Please provide a synopsis of the plot of Sibo Saves Water.

Ginny: Sibo watches the water trickling down the plug one evening, and starts thinking about water and where it comes from. She wants to know more – like how does it get into our homes, and what happens to the water that gurgles down the plughole. She finds out just how precious it is, and also discovers ways to save water, and checks that her mum does not waste it either. For her birthday, instead of going to the mall with her mum, her dad takes Sibo and Wayne (her friend) to the wetlands, and they have a fabulous time.

Lois: What were your major challenges with writing Sibo Saves Water?

Ginny: Again – no challenges really. Sometimes getting the information to make sense in rhyme can be interesting, but it was a pretty easy topic to write on.

Lois: What were your highlights with your writing of Sibo Saves Water?

Ginny: We launched the book at the SciBono Discovery centre in early 2009. I then made a flexagon worksheet using pics from the book, and did workshops at SciFest in Grahmstown. I enjoyed including the wetlands – they are unsung heros half the time.

Lois: What has your feedback about Sibo Saves Water shown in terms of the impact that it has had on your target audience? Please give concrete examples of such, if possible.

Ginny: Just recently a class of Grade 3’s in Cape Town read this title, and wrote me lovely book reports, with delightful pictures. It was great to see that some of them learnt new things from reading the book, especially in the light of the water problems that CT is experiencing now. Some examples:

“Close your taps if it is open” – Chloe

“If your car is clean, just polish it – don’t use a hosepipe” – Vincencious

“From now on, I am going to save water. And tell other people to also save water.” – Liam

“I loved this book, because it is about saving water. Some people might think that they can waste water, but this changes everything for me.” – Ashlin

(The comments are available on Sibo’s website [http://www.sibo.co.za].)

Lois: What effect has your writing of Sibo Saves Water had on your writing career?

Ginny: Hard to say – but whenever a part of the country is experiencing water shortages, I make it freely available on Sibo’s website for kids to read. I feel like I am maybe helping in a teensy way. It does get read in schools, and it is in libraries too.

Lois: Thank you so much, Ginny, for granting me this opportunity to interview you. Especially in our drought-stricken country, Sibo Saves Water should certainly inspire us all to be mindful of how we use and abuse water – it is such a precious commodity. We wish you all the very best with your future Sibo books.

What do you think?

5 points

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