Illustration

Fostering Curiosity and Creativity in Children - SE4EP7 - Bonnie Kelso

Today, we are thrilled to have Bonnie Kelso with us. Bonnie is a former Smithsonian exhibit designer turned children’s book author and illustrator. Her debut picture book, Nudi Gill, explores ocean conservation through the eyes of a curious snorkeler and a fascinating nudibranch (Pronounced: NOO-dih-brank). Bonnie’s vibrant work extends beyond books to public murals and educational workshops, making her a dynamic advocate for art and environmental awareness.

Gnome Road Publishing Teacher Resources (scroll to the bottom of each book page for the free PDF downloads):

https://gnomeroadpublishing.com/products/nudi-gill

https://gnomeroadpublishing.com/pages/for-teachers-and-librarians

Bonnie Kelso's website: https://bonniekelso.com/

Sponsored by Skill Samurai - Coding, Maths and STEM Academy | | www.skillsamurai.com.au

AI Generated Transcription

Speaker 1 (00:08):
Welcome to the Parenting in the Digital Age podcast. Many parents are concerned that their child might be falling behind. Others are just looking for ways to help their children thrive, not just in the classroom, but socially and well into their future careers. Each episode we explore the challenges facing parents in the modern world, from behavior, education, and nutrition to device and gaming addiction. We interview a range of leaders in the area of childhood development to help you successfully navigate parenting in the digital age. Here is your host, Jamie Buttigieg.

Introduction
Jamie (00:00.534)
Hey parents and listeners, welcome to another episode of Parenting in the Digital Age. Today, I'm very excited to have with us Bonnie Kelso. Bonnie is a former Smithsonian exhibit designer, turned children's book author and illustrator. Her debut book, Nudie Gill, explores ocean conservation through the eyes of a curious snorkeler and a fascinating nudie branch. Now I did have to look up what a nudie branch was, and I promise you if you Google the same, you won't be disappointed. They are fascinating underwater creatures.
Now Bonnie's vibrant work extends beyond books to public murals, educational workshops, making her a dynamic advocate for art and environmental awareness.
Interview
Jamie (00:01.245)
Bonnie, welcome to the show. It's so great to have you. Can you start by telling our listeners a little bit about your journey, what you do and what you're passionate about?
Bonnie Kelso (00:01.582)
Well thank you for having me, Jamie. Yeah, I am very passionate about children's books.
And I'm an author illustrator. And where it really started was with my passion for the environment and wanting to protect the environment and especially our oceans. So I started writing children's books about all the wonderful creatures that are in the ocean and having very subtle messaging to go along with it that, you know, we want to help these animals live and.
be there for future generations to enjoy.
Jamie (00:48.061)
It's an important message, Bonnie. And one of the books I learned about in my pre -show research is called Nudie Gill, if I've got the pronunciation right, and focuses on the life of a nudi branch Now I actually had to look up what a nudi branch prank was. I had no idea. So tell us a bit about the character, the animal, and what the book is all about.
Bonnie Kelso (00:54.094)
is called Nudie Gill, if I've got the pronunciation right, and focuses on the life of a nudi branch prank. Now I actually had to look up what a nudi branch prank was, I had no idea. Tell us a bit about the character, the animal, and what the book is all about. Okay, sure, yeah. So when I started writing, they said, you know, write something that you know about and that you love, and so I said, well, I know and love nudi branch pranks. They are very small, tiny sea slugs. And...
All nudibranchs are sea slugs, but not all sea slugs are nudibranchs. So they're a very special kind of sea slug. They can be really small. They have very interesting patterns, colorations, textures to their skin. Their gills are on the outside of their body, so they breathe.
you know, through these apparatuses that look like little ears and they sense things through these feelers. They're just really interesting animals. And ever since I've started diving, I've been excited to see them and look for them and, and.
they're just so tiny that it's sometimes, you know, they're overlooked, which I think is kind of a cool thing to relate to children too, because I think kids can understand what that feels like to be small and not heard or not seen. So I think Gil, my character, does. He's kind of a kid himself and he's got a lot of attitude.
Jamie (02:22.909)
So how do you balance humor and education in your books, especially when you're tackling serious issues and themes like ocean conservation?
Bonnie Kelso (02:23.214)
So how do you balance humour and education in your books, especially when you're tackling serious issues and themes like ocean conservation?
Mm -hmm. Mm -hmm. Yeah, it's a challenge. I think I just sometimes I will practice a joke on my kids or you know other kids that I meet just to see if it resonates. But you know with Gil it was pretty obvious that you know kids would find the fact that he's naked hilarious. So I knew that was gonna be my big punchline in the book.
just trying to set that up so that it had as much impact as possible. And it does, it always gets the laugh when I need it. I imagine when you as the author does a live reading in a school or a library, it goes down pretty well. Yeah, yeah.
Jamie (03:02.045)
And you mentioned.
I imagine when you as the author does a live reading at a school or a library it goes down very well.
Bonnie Kelso (03:13.838)
They're kind of like, first they're just like, what is she talking about? You know, unless they know, I usually say, does anyone know what a nudi branch is? And you know, there's usually like one kid who's like, yeah, I do. And then they start telling me all about nudibranchs and I'm like, okay, great, yeah. All right, well for everyone else who doesn't know, that's why I wrote this story.
Jamie (03:35.677)
That's incredible. And you mentioned earlier, you started diving. How long have you been doing diving for it? And are you talking like snorkeling or like proper scuba diving?
Bonnie Kelso (03:42.702)
snorkeling or like proper scuba diving? I like both. Lately I've been doing more snorkeling when I go on vacation because I'm with my kids so we do snorkeling together. But when I was single I was learning how to scuba dive and I did some traveling around the world, even went to Great Barrier Reef, yay, did some scuba diving and yeah, it's all did like a live aboard and I love it. It's just so much fun. Fantastic.
Jamie (04:10.941)
Fantastic. And kudos for getting your kids involved in that as well and understanding the oceans because it's an important thing to do. From a creative perspective, like I'm curious, can you walk us through the creative process? Like how do you develop a new story and or illustration? Because you do both.
Bonnie Kelso (04:12.91)
I think I wrote the story first and then I...
Bonnie Kelso (04:39.15)
At the same time, I was kind of thinking of the character. Which nudi branch am I going to choose? Because there's over 3 ,000 species. So it's like, which one am I going to choose? And so I just picked one that was one of my favorites, which is blue with these yellow stripes down his back. And we always used to make jokes about animals with stripes, is that those were their racing stripes. Which is kind of funny because he's a slug. So.
Anyway, I just felt like there was a lot of material to work with there. And then, yeah, I'll start putting together a dummy, which has a bunch of sketches and kind of, usually your sketches will try to tell a little something different about the story so that you're hearing the story, but you're seeing the pictures and you have two things going on at the same time. Fantastic. What do you hope children take away from reading your books?
Jamie (05:27.933)
Fantastic. And what do you hope children take away from reading your books?
Bonnie Kelso (05:32.302)
I just hope that they develop a curiosity for the world and the creatures that are in it. I like to, when I'm doing books like this last one I did is Sea Smiles, and I have a whole cast of characters in that one. And I chose some animals that are common and known, like the narwhal.
But then there's other ones like the wolf fish, which I think are really interesting. And he kind of becomes like the sidekick in the story. And so I think it's good to choose animals that are maybe less represented. And then kids can get an understanding of like, there's just so many, there's so much diversity in the ocean and there's so many different animals and that they have their own needs and even the.
Atlantic will fish is starting to have some problems with survival. So I think it's, you know, you never know which animals are going to be affected first and which ones we're going to lose first. So
Jamie (06:34.141)
Yes, you're doing some important work, bringing awareness to that and hopefully inspiring the next generation to be actively involved and contribute to ocean conservation. Because it's one thing to know about it, but it's another to actually do something about it. And I'm sure that the work you're doing will have that impact over the years. Coming back to creativity for a minute, something I want to explore and I know listeners are always passionate about, particularly helping their kids develop creativity. Because you're an illustrator,
Bonnie Kelso (06:53.326)
Coming back to creativity for a minute, something I want to explore and I know a listener is always passionate about particularly helping their kids develop creativity. If you're an illustrator, what does that look like as an illustrator? Help me understand because I think I like to be creative but I'm not that creative. Is it all computer based? Is it painted? Is it drawn? What's your creative process with actual illustrations? They're incredible. Thank you. Well, my process, I start with pencil sketches. I always draw
Jamie (07:02.845)
Like what does that look like as an illustrator? Like help me understand because I'm like, I think I like to be creative, but I'm not that creative. Is it all computer -based? Is it, you know, do you paint it? Is it drawn? Like how do you, what's your creative process for the actual illustrations? Because they're incredible.
Bonnie Kelso (07:23.28)
I draw with pencil and then I like to use Sharpies and just really outline the characters, make it real heavy. And that's how I kind of fill up my pages. I just use regular typing paper for my initial dummies. And I call them my down and dirty dummies because they're really rough and really fast. But I find that I get a lot of gesture in there when I can use my hands and the markers. And because I'm using markers, it's permanent. So I can't go back and fuss with it and try to erase it.
it perfect. So I totally intend for them to be really sloppy and ugly, but I think it's an important part of the process because it really like you get that flow going and as you turn the pages and draw real fast you start to see the book come together. And then after that phase that I go back and look at the manuscript again and see how it's relating and I might you know fine -tune it a little more.
But then I end up doing everything digitally in the end. So all the coloring, textures, and final art is done on my iPad, actually.
Jamie (08:29.533)
Get out of town. And so for kids who are aspiring to be digital illustrators or creative artists, like they've got an iPad, what sort of apps do you use to do this sort of digital illustration?
Bonnie Kelso (08:30.798)
Yeah.
aspiring to be digital illustrators or creative artists. They've got an iPad. What sort of apps do you use to do this sort of digital illustration? Well, there's this fantastic app called Procreate. And if you already have an iPad, you should definitely download it. It's super cheap. I think it costs like $14 or something. But it does all these amazing things. It has really great pen sensitivity on the...
board so you do have to get your Apple iPad, I mean your Apple Pen to be able to work with it, but it's amazing. Yeah and I think even little kids can learn how to use it, it's very intuitive. A lot of illustrators are using it now, it's not just me.
Jamie (09:14.525)
There you go, parents. Procreate is the app that you're looking for.
Jamie (09:22.269)
Indeed. So what are your thoughts? That's a controversial question. What are your thoughts on AI book illustration and AI book writing for that matter? So, yeah, like I'm curious.
Bonnie Kelso (09:24.078)
What are your thoughts on AI book illustration and AI writing for that matter? I'm curious. Well, the children's book industry is hyper sensitive about it right now because obviously we don't want to hurt the people who are creating these books, the talent. We want to be able to keep having...
real artists, human artists, human writers creating these things. The way it is right now, you can still tell. You can still tell if it's been done by AI or by a person, and especially, I think, with the writing part.
And then children's books particularly are a little tricky. Everyone thinks, you know, children's books seem so easy to write. The language is so basic. But if you really look at a children's book and you see the character arc that's developed and you really analyze it, you realize that there's a lot more going on.
then you realize, and I think those nuances are lost with the AI at this point. I know it's growing, it's just exploding on the scene right now, and it's learning so quickly from us. So I'm sure it'll only be a matter of time before it catches up with everything we're doing. But I think in general, the industry wants to keep it human.
humans relating to humans and picture books have a wonderful way of doing that because they're not, I mean, you can get picture books as an ebook, but there's something about sitting with a book in your lap and opening it and turning the pages and seeing the artwork right in front of you that way that just appeals to children and makes it easier for them to engage. So I don't know if that process of reading an actual book is ever gonna.
Bonnie Kelso (11:23.758)
change completely.
Jamie (11:25.693)
Yeah, it's I think flipping through the page and to me even the smell of a book and, you know, conjuring up that vivid imagination. And I guess it's the difference between difference between maybe AI creation and human creation is kind of like I looked at my own kids growing up and my granddaughter now. It's the difference between the books that they pick up again and again, versus the ones that get read once and never see the light of day again.
Bonnie Kelso (11:29.07)
Yeah, the ink.
Jamie (11:53.181)
And I really believe in that. And I think the world's going to go full circle. I think we're going to see a lot more of it. I don't think it's necessarily a great thing. But I think like anything else, as humans, the pendulum is going to swing, but it will correct itself. And I even look at my own vinyl record collection, that's made a comeback. And because it's tactile, it's got a sensory difference about it compared to digital music. And maybe that's not the best example, but I know that...
Bonnie Kelso (12:19.824)
That's true, and I think that is a good example because there's something about holding an object that, you know, even if you're doing virtual reality, you're not actually holding the object. You're, you're.
Jamie (12:21.917)
You know, nothing can replace a human artist.
Bonnie Kelso (12:37.998)
It's like you're almost touching it. You are touching it, you're moving it, you're manipulating it, but there's nothing tactile there. So yeah, when you hold that album, when you pull it out of the sleeve and you see the images on the, like I remember they used to open somewhere like even books. There's something special about that for sure.
Jamie (12:58.365)
So very true. Now in my pre -share research, one of the things I learned about you is that you conduct live and online art workshops. So tell me about that.
Bonnie Kelso (13:06.35)
So tell me about that. Yeah, I love to teach workshops. So sometimes they're related to children's book illustration and sometimes they're more like art workshops. Like this morning I just taught a mandala art workshop and I showed them easy ways to fold the paper to make a mandala grid and then we use stencils and stuff to trace the circles and showing them different examples of way mandalas can be done.
the way they've been done in the past and the way modern takes on the mandala and different things to get their creative juices flowing. But I love working with people and talking to them about art. And I love it when people say, I'm not creative, I don't have a creative bone in my body, which sounds familiar, right? And just showing them that, yes, you are, we're all.
creative, we can all engage in this and enjoy it. You know, it's our creativity exists for us to enjoy it. So that's my favorite thing to do.
Jamie (14:07.901)
And you're so true. And to those parents listening, like this is the importance of, you know, really fostering a love for art and creation in your children, you know, not just for art's sake, but for their future, you know, it helps kids develop these creative thinking pathways and even problem solving pathways will benefit them in other areas, not just in the art classroom. But Bonnie.
Bonnie Kelso (14:21.646)
.
Jamie (14:33.117)
What's been the most rewarding experience for you as a teaching artist? So, you know, when you run these workshops, what's the most rewarding thing for you?
Bonnie Kelso (14:51.6)
bursting with ideas and that just makes me feel good because I knew it was in there. It's like a coaxing.
Jamie (14:59.933)
Exactly right. And I think that's one of the most beautiful things as an educator is when you see the penny drop almost and they realize that they are capable, that's a tremendous reward.
So let's say there's maybe a parent listening now or a child listening now at some point, what advice would you give to an aspiring author or illustrator who is just starting out?
Bonnie Kelso (15:16.557)
Let's say there's a parent listening now or a child listening now at some point. What advice would you give to an aspiring author, illustrator who is just starting out? Draw and write about things you love.
Like feel the passion for it and you know, if it's something that you're really interested in, make a little book about it. Why not? You know, that's how you start. And when I was little, that's what I used to do. I used to draw these little dogs and people and like they had little, I had little characters and then I'd fold them up into little tiny books and I'd put like, I'd try to sell them to my parents. I put like 10 cents or 25 cents on the book and like hustle my parents for the money. So I always.
knew I wanted to do this. And if you're really into it and you're young, like don't ever forget that. Don't forget how it felt to do it because I did. I forgot. And I, you know, I got busy with my career and I was doing exhibit design and a lot of different other things and I kind of lost track of how much I love making little books. And so then when it came back to it, I was like, yeah.
This is something I've been wanting to do for a long time. And then I learned more about the art and, you know, went through the process of finding an agent and getting published and all of that and realized, hey, you know, I probably should have done this a lot earlier in life because I really love it. Big surprise, you know.
Jamie (16:50.269)
Find your passion early kids. That's what you've got to do. And parents, you know, for those listening, if you haven't found your passion, find it. It is never too late. But the advice there seems deceptively simple, though, is that write and draw about what you love. But it goes beyond that because like you can tell when I pick up a book or an e -book, no matter what it is, somebody who's written the book.
Bonnie Kelso (16:52.558)
And parents!
Bonnie Kelso (16:58.702)
The advice there seems to be simply simple though, is that the rights can draw about what you love. But it goes beyond that because like...
You can tell when I pick up a book or an e -book, no matter what it is, somebody who's written the book for an algorithm on Amazon or somebody who's written the book because there's a commercial outcome versus somebody who's written the book for their absolutely loved nudi branch ranks. There's a complete difference when you're reading those two books. And so writing about what you love and drawing and illustrating what you love, I agree with you, is probably the best place to start.
Jamie (17:13.853)
for an algorithm on Amazon or someone who's written the book because there's a commercial outcome versus someone who's written the book because they absolutely love nudi branch ranks, right? That there's a complete difference when you're reading those two books. And so writing about what you love, drawing and illustrating what you love is, I agree with you, is probably the best place to start.
Bonnie Kelso (17:36.174)
Yeah, absolutely.
Jamie (17:38.941)
So what else are you working on?
Bonnie Kelso (17:39.406)
So what else are you working on? Well, right now, I just finished up the Sea Smiles that came out in February. It's actually a trilogy. I have two other books coming out, Sleepy Sea, which I just sent to the publisher. And then the third one will be Sea Suds. And they all tackle some sort of childhood milestone, but also talks about sea animals and how they relate to this thing. So Sea Smiles is about a girl who
loses her first tooth. And she's not feeling very good about her smile. And then she meets all these other sea animals that have really crazy teeth, like really weird teeth. Like if you think about the narwhal, that horn that comes out of their face, that is a tooth. So after she meets all these animals, she feels a lot better about her own smile. And that's the resolution of the story. But then Sleepy Sea is more about, you know,
being in your bedroom alone for the first time, sleeping all by yourself and not being able to fall asleep. And so we go and we see all these sea animals and the different sleep habits that they have. And then of course, sea suds is about.
taking your first bath and getting clean and wondering like how do sea animals get clean? You know they're always in the water. Do they have to take baths? Well turns out they do. It's just a little different than how we do it. Who knew? Anyway they're a lot of fun. I like that series.
Jamie (19:09.789)
Who knew?
Jamie (19:16.637)
Right. We'll keep an eye out for that and we'll definitely put some of these notes and where parents can find these incredible books in the show notes. But as a parent now, how do you balance your creative work with family life?
Bonnie Kelso (19:23.278)
How do you balance your creative work with family life? Well, it's a lot easier now because my kids are getting older. They're 12 and 14 now, so they don't want me around as much as they used to. But yeah, it's great. It's actually as my career has grown, that letting go.
of my kids is beginning. I haven't let go yet, of course. They still need me in their own ways. But yeah, it's actually evolving naturally because I was definitely a stay at home mom in the beginning. And I'm lucky that this kind of work I do, I can do from my home. So I get to literally stay at home, but I might not be interacting with my kids all the time like I used to. So.
Jamie (20:16.637)
Yeah, that's COVID has taught us a lot of things. And one of them is that we can have some work from home balance if you like. So yeah, it's important. So being someone who's so purpose driven and artistic, how do you encourage creativity or how did you encourage creativity in your own children?
Bonnie Kelso (20:18.266)
Yeah, yeah, I really love it.
Bonnie Kelso (20:32.686)
How did you encourage creativity or how did you encourage creativity in your own children? Well, we used to love to paint together and what I would do is roll out a big sheet of paper or a large canvas or something and we would just put on some music and I'd get the paints out and we would just explore like using brushes, using different rollers, using sponges, anything that we had that we wanted to maybe stamp into the canvas or anything.
And it was really fun and I love to teach collaborative painting workshops still to this day. So I think there's really something special about working on a piece of art with someone else. It's really different. A lot of people, you know, they think art is just you in the canvas and that's it. And you enter that little world to yourself. And that's great too. It's a different experience, of course. But there's something really fun and special about creating collaboratively. So that's it.
something I think everyone should try at some point or another, especially if you have some kids who love to paint.
Jamie (21:40.829)
So speaking of collaboration and partnerships, you've had quite a long career and we haven't really touched on some of that stuff. You talked about exhibit curation and I know you've worked with the Smithsonian and some other important organizations. So can you share any memorable collaborations or partnerships you've had in your career?
Bonnie Kelso (22:01.582)
sure, yeah. I know like working for the Smithsonian was definitely my dream job until I got this job of making children's books. But I would say my last favorite job was working for the Smithsonian and what a fantastic experience it was just being a part of all of those museums and all the talent that's there. I worked for the Office of Exhibit Central and they had you know a fabrication shop, they had people who did the taxidermy.
of actual animals, they did mounts for gems, like the Hope Diamond Mount and all these amazing objects that needed our help in just displaying and making as beautiful as possible.
Jamie (22:50.853)
incredible. Sorry, I've almost lost my place there. My mind was wandering there and I was getting ready for this next big impactful question. Anyway, I'm not even going to edit this out. Let's see.
Bonnie Kelso (22:54.314)
I'm sorry, I've almost lost my place there. I was wondering there. I'm getting ready for this big impactful question. Anyway, I'm not even going to edit this out. Your mind was in the shelves of the Smithsonian. To be honest, I've got this screen up. I was giggling, I've got a blue raucous sitting on my screen. yes.
Jamie (23:13.597)
Well, to be honest, I've got this screen up. I was Googling Nudie Branks and I've got a blue glaucus sitting on my screen. So very fascinating creature. See, you've inspired love of learning right in the middle of the podcast.
Bonnie Kelso (23:23.662)
the Glockus Atlanticus. Yeah, those actually, since you're from Sydney, they were washing up on the shores of Sydney not too long ago. I think it was a couple of years ago. Little tiny ones. It was a whole like.
colony of them that just washed up all at once because I remember seeing it on social media and people showing the videos of them washing up in the waves. It had to be, yeah, there had to be something going on. They feed off of the blue bottles, right? So if you have a big population of blue bottles in the area, you'll find those as well.
Jamie (23:55.965)
Okay. And was that because of a something that went on in the ecosystem or we don't know.
Bonnie Kelso (24:14.798)
They're a lot smaller, they're bright blue, like the blue bottle, because what they eat, they become that color. So the Glockus Atlanticus becomes this blue, bright blue color. Yeah, and that's why they're so deadly, because they absorb the poisons, the toxins from the blue bottle. I'm going to try and share my screen. yeah, sure. I've never done this before.
Jamie (24:36.989)
I'm going to try and share my screen. I don't know if I can do this. I've never done this before in my podcast. So there we go. Can you see that?
Bonnie Kelso (24:44.878)
yes, they're beautiful aren't they? Absolutely, yeah. They're not aggressive, but and they're tiny tiny they can be like as small as your pinky fingernail they're just tiny. They can get a little bigger and yeah they...
Jamie (24:47.229)
And hopefully our viewers and listeners, well, our listeners can't see, but our viewers can see. What an incredible creature. So you're saying these are poisonous too.
Bonnie Kelso (25:07.566)
They're pelagic, so they're out in the open sea and they latch on to these blue bottles. That's their favorite thing to munch on. And they just kind of hang out with the blue bottle, slowly eating it.
Jamie (25:22.365)
And what variety is Gil from your book?
Bonnie Kelso (25:23.118)
What's the color of your gill? gill is a chromadoris. Chromadoris N -A -A -N -N -A -E. Yeah, so he's blue with yellow and white. Yeah, there he is. And his, his rhinophores, which are, they look like little horns on top of his head, those are orange and they are actually,
Jamie (25:32.829)
Aha!
Jamie (25:41.533)
Incredible.
Bonnie Kelso (25:51.502)
his nose that's how he senses smells through this yeah exactly he's tiny he's probably i don't know five centimeters or so little but they can get a little bigger yeah so how would a parent or a teacher or an educator in school who's watching or listening now how could they use your books to
Jamie (25:56.253)
And how big is that nudi branch prank? Gil?
Jamie (26:07.737)
Incredible, incredible. So how would a parent or a teacher or an educator in school who's watching or listening now, how could they use your books to foster awareness and discussion on these important topics?
Bonnie Kelso (26:21.614)
foster awareness and discussion on these important topics. Yeah, I love to do an activity with them, with the kids. After we read the book, we talk about what it's like to discover a new species because new nudibranchs are being discovered all the time. And so you imagine that you're a scuba diver and you come across this new species and you need to go back and record all the things,
that you noticed about it. And so I have them create their own species on a piece of paper and they draw their own nudi branch. It's sort of like they're designing the new species that they discovered. And because they discovered it, they get to name it. So that's always fun too. The kids are like, they come up with really crazy names for their nudibranchs. That's incredible. That sounds like a wonderful lesson. Yeah, it's a lot of fun.
Jamie (27:14.173)
That's incredible. That sounds like a wonderful lesson. You need to have lesson plans. You need lesson plans with these books.
Bonnie Kelso (27:20.654)
Yeah, and we do too. We have a lot of educational resources. So these ocean books that I've been publishing are through Gnome Road publishing. And if you go to their website and you scroll down to the bottom where each book page is, there's all kinds of educational resources. So we put together these packets that have different.
activities for kids to do. There's things that teachers can pull in to their lesson plans, so it's very well thought out.
Jamie (27:55.005)
an ocean awareness week. We do in our own learning centers here in Sydney and New Zealand, we have a underwater robotics lesson that we teach kids where they've got to program this virtual ocean cleaning robot. And we talk about sustainability and microplastics. And anyway, they can take, they can get from one lesson to another and have an environmental ocean awareness week or something. That would be cool.
Bonnie Kelso (27:56.814)
I love it, yeah.
Bonnie Kelso (28:20.686)
Very cool.
Jamie (28:21.113)
So can I ask you to, can you shoot me that link after the show? And then I'll pop that in the notes for parents and teachers who are interested in looking at some of those resources, because I think they're incredibly important and we need to share them with more people and more of our next generation. Now, Bonnie, where can I, actually before I ask any more details, I've got to ask my fun question that we ask at the end of every episode. And that is if we had a time machine and Bonnie Kelso could go back to maybe your 12 year old younger self.
What's one piece of advice that you'd give to the young Bonnie?
Bonnie Kelso (28:50.78)
I would say believe in yourself because I did struggle with that. I took criticism harder than I should have. I should have just blown it off and kept going with what I'd like to do. So instead of trying to be what everyone else wants you to be, just believe in what you want to be and be it. That's right.
Jamie (29:14.141)
Back yourself, back yourself. Wise words, always wise words. How can our listeners get a hold of you or follow you or find you in the interwebs?
Bonnie Kelso (29:19.422)
Yeah, I'm just BonnieKelsa .com. That's my website and you can find links to my social media there. I also have a blog so there'll be some stories and updates on my blog. Yeah.
got some new books coming out this year too. Wonder of the Woods is coming out in September and it's about my childhood growing up in the Appalachian Mountains. So that idea of having forest in your backyard, which I think is becoming more and more rare an experience for children. So yeah, there's that. And then Quail Trail is coming out in November. And we have a lot of quail here in the area where I live in the desert.
And so I decided, because I love them, I love quail, they're adorable, they're really fun to watch. I made a story about them that kind of touches on the safety of hiking together as a group and the importance of listening. So there's always some subtle messaging in there. That's incredible. I've never met anyone who's overly passionate about quails.
Jamie (30:12.349)
Ha ha ha ha.
Jamie (30:24.157)
Safety and hiking.
That's great. That's incredible. And I've never met anyone who's overly passionate about quail. So this is a first for me, too. And we need people like you. We need people that are passionate about everything for conservation and education and all the good things. So Bonnie, thanks for sharing your time and your generosity with us today. I know I've learned something, so I know our listeners and hopefully their kids and maybe some educators listening today can take those resources.
Bonnie Kelso (30:37.038)
We need people like you. We need people that are passionate about everything, the conservation and education and all the good things. So, Bonnie, thanks for sharing your time and your generosity with us today. You bet. I've learned something, so I know our listeners and hopefully their kids and maybe some educators listening today can take those resources. Yeah. Bonnie Kelso, thanks for your time and I hope we cross paths again soon. Yeah, I hope so too. Thank you, Jamie. Cheers. Bye bye.
Jamie (30:55.229)
Bonnie Kelso, thanks for your time and hope we cross paths again soon.
Cheers, bye bye.

If you enjoyed the show, please connect with Jamie on LinkedIn or Instagram. You'll find links in the podcast description. Parenting in the Digital Age is sponsored by Skill Samurai Coding and STEM Academy for Kids. Skill Samurai offers afterschool coding classes and holiday programs to help kids thrive academically and socially while preparing them for the careers of the future. Visit www.skillsamurai.com.au.
This episode is sponsored by Skill Samurai - Coding & STEM Academy www.skillsamurai.com.au.


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