Publisher: The Clarke Family. Profits from the sale of the book go to save the Orangutan and its habitat.
A kids book written by children, for children.
"…my exploits are nothing compared to the courage shown by Daniel Clarke and his younger brother William. Their spirit of adventure and determination to help others is a wonderful example to all of us." Dick Smith, Australian Entrepreneur and Adventurer
Daniel has cerebal palsy and spends most of his life confined to a wheel chair. When the Starlight Foundation granted Daniel a wish in 2007, 10-year-old Daniel said he wanted to save the Orangutan of Borneo. A selfless wish that the foundation didn't quite know how to grant. A seed of hope and determination was planted in Daniel, inspired by his hero, Steve Irwin, The Crocodile Hunter. Since 2007 Daniel's parents, Rodney and Penny, have worked hard to encourage Daniel in his quest and his younger brother, William, has joined him on his mission to save the Orangutan of Borneo.
To have an insight into these two extraordinary young authors, you really must view their introductory video.
Be inspired by reading a little of William and Daniel's journey to Borneo to meet the Orangutan (wheel chair and all) and the book they wrote about their experience, Tears in the Jungle.
1. What brought your attention to the plight of the Orangutans in Borneo?
When we were young we were watching a show called ‘Saving Orangutans’ as well as an entire collection of Steve Irwin DVD’s. And they both mentioned how endangered the orangutan are. When Steve Irwin died Daniel felt inspired to start to save the orangutans.
2. Who came up with the idea of writing Tears in the Jungle?
We learned so much about being with the orangutan in Borneo that when we came back we realised that so many kids our age had no idea about what was happening to the orangutans habitat that we came up with the idea together as we thought the book could be educational for all kids but still a fun picture book.
We chose the name, “Tears In The Jungle” because it has a double meaning. The first meaning is ‘tears’ as in crying and the other is ‘tear’ as the forest is being torn apart.
3. What was it like to get up close and personal with the Orangutans in Borneo?
It was life changing. It's something that our whole family wishes to do again. You would expect them to be fluffy like a teddy bear but up close they are just like us.
4. Can you explain your goal in writing the book?
Our goal in writing the book is;
- Raise awareness of how endangered the orangutan are due to habitat loss
- Educate kids around the world about the orangutan
- Raise money to buy back the jungle (our goal is to raise $1million)
5. How close are you to reaching your goal?
We are selling our book through our website and so far we have sold a number of books to the USA and the UK so we are slowly getting our message out to the kids around the world but it is really slow going.
My brother and I regularly visit schools and present to the kids on our experiences and the issues facing the orangutan and these talks have been really successful. Recently we were asked to be guest speakers at a Young Leaders Conference as well as opening the Manly Ocean Care Day Festival and speaking to the Warringah Council Staff in an organised breakfast function.
We are constantly approached to talk about the orangutans which is great to have the opportunity to get the message out.
After my brother and I achieved the goal of raising $600,000 to save the orangutan we have now set ourselves a new goal of raising $1m to buy back the jungle so that the orangutan have a safe place to live.
In our presentation we leave the audience with the message, “In order to save the orangutan we have to save their habitat”.
7. Daniel; you are pursuing dreams and goals not many people attempt and you don't let cerebral palsy limit you. Were you convinced you could make a difference before you started?
Yes, I knew deep inside me that I could make a difference in the this world, and my brother, Will helped to make it possible.
8. William; who is your biggest inspiration in your pursuit to help save the Orangutans?
My biggest inspiration to save the orangutans is my brother. His passion is the reason why I have a passion for the orangutans and I knew that we could make a bigger difference working together than by working by ourselves, and I decided to join him in 2009.
9. Do you both have any more projects planned to help save the Orangutan?
Once we achieve our goal we have set our sights on completing a series of books around the great apes as they are all critically endangered for the same reasons. We are looking at travelling to Rwanda for the Gorillas and the Bonobos and to Gombe, Africa, for the Chimpanzees. We are hoping to raise lots of funds and awareness of the problems facing the great apes of the world.
10. Daniel & Williams favourites:
Book: Daniel: the Henderson Boys book series William: The Hunger Games Trilogy
Hero: Steve Irwin
Game: Modern Warfare 3
Motto: We can all make a difference
Charity: The Daniel Clarke Foundation
Thank you Daniel and William for your time, for sharing your story and for challenging and inspiring us to look beyond ourselves to see what we can do to preserve and improve the world for others.
If you are as encouraged as I am by the boys' endeavour, spread the word with your friends, they might have someone in mind to Buy the book for, in support of these boys and to help save the Orangutan in Borneo.
This is my last author interview for 2011. I will be back on the 16th of January to start the year with another round of weekly author interviews and posts about book club discussions. I hope you'll join in the discussions. Until then, have a refreshing Christmas and New Year's break.
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