The creative duo behind award-winning Blue Mountains children's book Leonard the Lyrebird are teaming up again for a second book - and they're not letting a pandemic get in their way.
Bullaburra writer Jodie McLeod and Katoomba artist Eloise Short recently launched the crowdfunding campaign for their next collaboration - Lilah the Lyrebird, a follow-up to Leonard - and are confident this is one arts project that can withstand the impact of COVID-19.
"It's certainly a strange time to be launching a crowdfunding campaign - right in the middle of a pandemic - but I didn't want our book to be yet another casualty of this virus," said Ms McLeod.
"We hope the prospect of our book will be a nice, positive counter-balance to the stress of this time in isolation, and give children and families everywhere something to look forward to."
As with their first book, Lilah the Lyrebird will feature many Blue Mountains landmarks and native Australian animals in a story about resilience, bravery and love - but this time with a female protagonist.
"I wanted to show off the female lyrebird's talent in this story," said Ms McLeod. "Not many people know female lyrebirds can mimic other animals just as well as male lyrebirds.
"I also wanted to weave in the concept of bushfires, and how this remarkable bird behaves in the face of danger."
The devastating bushfire season of 2019-2020, which destroyed an estimated 80 per cent of Blue Mountains National Park, inspired some of the book's plot and also motivated Ms McLeod to use the book for a good cause, with five per cent of profits from every book sold through crowdfunding going to wildlife protection charity WIRES.
"It's a good feeling that you're not only supporting a local arts project and receiving something truly special in return [by making a pledge]; but you're also helping save wildlife at the same time," she said.
The success of Leonard the Lyrebird, which won Best Children's Book in the Royal Zoological Society of NSW's Whitley Awards, has seen the two Blue Mountains residents visit many schools in the Blue Mountains and Sydney to share the story behind their book.
"It's so nice to see how much local children love this story about a bird they see in their backyards, and that was always our aim with both books - to help children connect with nature."
"If people are in a position to be able to support a local arts project - with the promise of a beautiful book in return, plus lots of other rewards, we urge them to head to our Pozible campaign page to make a pledge before April 30."
Visit https://www.pozible.com/profile/jodie-mcleod to support the book.