North Rock reefs inspire children’s book sequel
One of the best snorkelling places around the Island is North Rock.
It’s one of Bermuda’s largest coral reefs, and hard to get to if the weather isn’t good.
A children’s picture book by nurse Debbie Jones, illustrated by Jodie Tucker, makes it more accessible to everyone.
‘Fish Tales Battle of the Barracuda’, is a fictional story written in verse, about two little wrasse who mobilise their reef community to fight off two barracuda predators.
“This is actually a sequel,” said Ms Jones. “We wrote the first book, ‘Fish Tales’, 17 years ago when our children were small. We were always looking for children’s books. When I was out at North Rock snorkelling with my children I thought wouldn’t it be wonderful to write a story about it. We saw a barracuda and watched all the little fish swimming away, and made up a story about it.”
With North Rock so stunning, she thought it sad that more people did not get the chance to see it.
“You can stand up out there,” she said. “The fish are amazing. The only thing is that it can be quite rough, if the weather is the least bit funny. You have to be sure of conditions before you set out. There used to be a massive formation of rocks out there. People would go out there and have picnics. Then they used the rocks as shell practice in the Second World War. So there is only one main rock that still stands. There is a beacon out there to warn ships. It is just stunning. The sand is crystal clear. There are all these little reefs with these magical little fish. I have always loved fish and I love to watch them.”
After the first book was published, she wrote others, but never got around to publishing them. Then, recently, she found her stories again. She sent them to her friend Ms Tucker, who now lives in France, and they decided to bring out a second book.
Ms Tucker is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Art and Design. She regularly returns to Bermuda to visit and has held several art shows here and in France. To illustrate this book she tapped into memories she had of watching fish when she lived next to Hungry Bay in Paget as a child.
“I always loved to draw fish,” she said.
“One thing that is different about this book compared to the other one is that in the back we have added a glossary of all the fish that are in the book, and facts about them and their life,” said Ms Tucker. “That is quite nice.”
The two women learned a lot about the ocean from researching the book. They were amazed to learn that octopus turn white when frightened and that sea urchins climb on top of each other to make a wall of sorts.
The duo are considering marketing the illustrations as prints or notecards. Ms Jones said they hoped this wouldn’t be their last book, as they had more stories to tell.
The book was launched at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo recently. Some of the money from book sales at special BAMZ events will go to BAMZ. The book will be sold in stores all over the Island.
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