Wildlife war­riors unite

Fremantle Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Pic­ture: Martin Ken­nealey

CHIL­DREN will be taken on a dar­ing new ad­ven­ture to pro­tect Aus­tralia’s most im­por­tant wildlife in a new book from Hamil­ton Hill’s Deb Fitz­patrick.

DEB Fitz­patrick knew early on that one of her most re­cent fic­tional char­ac­ters would not be a one-and-done af­fair.

The Hamil­ton Hill au­thor first in­tro­duced her young au­di­ence to the vi­va­cious Spencer in 2013 of­fer­ing The Amaz­ing Spencer Gray and said she had been ea­ger to bring him back for an­other ad­ven­ture ever since.

And an ad­ven­ture is ex­actly what Spencer gets af­ter he stum­bles on a sin­is­ter op­er­a­tion in the bush that sends his life down a crazy path in Fitz­patrick’s new re­lease, The Spec­tac­u­lar Spencer Gray.

“Spencer and his mates are play­ing soc­cer on the oval at lunchtime and the ball gets kicked into the bush,” Fitz­patrick said.

“Spencer re­trieves the ball, but while he’s in there he sees a man run­ning away, as though Spencer has in­ter­rupted him do­ing some­thing.

“Well, Spencer just has to go back to in­ves­ti­gate, doesn’t he, and he gets caught up in some­thing pretty sin­is­ter.”

A fan of the fun, hu­mour and growth that she can cre­ate in a chil­dren’s book, Fitz­patrick said she also en­joyed be­ing able to in­cor­po­rate im­por­tant is­sues into her books in a way that chil­dren could un­der­stand.

“I have a big in­ter­est in the con­ser­va­tion of our na­tive an­i­mals, and I wanted Spencer to have an­other ad­ven­ture, so I put these two ideas to­gether,” she said.

“I did some re­search on in­ter­na­tional an­i­mal smug­gling and learnt that quite a few Aus­tralian birds and an­i­mals are traf­ficked and I quickly be­gan to want to write about that.

“I love be­ing able to work my in­ter­ests and con­cerns into my books, and car­ing for the en­vi­ron­ment is an abid­ing in­ter­est for me.

“I re­ally be­lieve that kids have the power to make a dif­fer­ence, and I love putting them into sit­u­a­tions in my books where they can prove this.”

The Spec­tac­u­lar Spencer Gray is avail­able from www. fre­mantlepress.com.au.

Www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d468711

Hamil­ton Hill au­thor Deb Fitz­patrick.

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