Our mission is to provide children with beautiful, fun and engaging books and toys that cultivate a love of learning and encourage curiosity, while bringing awareness to the beauty and fragility of nature.
We are passionate about inspiring everyone, especially children, to protect and conserve the natural environment. Through our books and toys, children learn about topics that impact the natural world through relatable stories and colourful illustrations. Each story is woven around interesting and scientifically accurate details and fun facts. Each story includes a little drama (you’d be amazed how children love this!) but our main characters are always safe and happy in the end.
Our very first book, Turtle Tracks, is dedicated to those committed to the protection of endangered sea turtles. It was inspired by the work of the Barbados Sea Turtle Project, the local sea turtle conservation organization in Sue Trew’s home in Barbados. Sue greatly admires the work of the many organizations involved in the conservation of these ancient reptiles worldwide, monitoring nesting females, juveniles and hatchlings. Her book is about a turtle called Tilli returning to the beach where she was born 25 years ago to lay her eggs and relates some of the challenges that she – and later her hatchlings – encounter.
Fact: Hawksbill turtles mature when they are about 25 years old. As adults they leave their feeding grounds and migrate hundreds of kilometres, returning to the vicinity of the beach where they were born, to mate and lay their eggs. Sadly, they often find the shoreline has changed with new buildings, walls and bright lights, making nesting difficult.
The book Happy Hatchlings, of course, had to come next! Anyone who has watched hatchlings emerge from their sandy nest and make a dash for the sea, is sure to agree that it is an unforgettable experience. This book introduces children to the exciting adventures of six specific hatchling turtles and focuses on experiences they are likely to have in the first few days of their lives. Hatchlings must overcome a large number of challenges and sadly it is estimated that only 1 in 1000 reach maturity.
Fact: We can all help protect turtles by turning out lights shining on the beach or using special turtle friendly bulbs during nesting and hatching seasons. This prevents nesting females from being disturbed and hatchlings from scrambling onto busy roads and into homes, as they follow the light instead of finding the sea.
The third book, Calypso Conch, follows the story of a queen conch. This was chosen because queen conch are a commonly-overfished food source in Barbados and other Caribbean islands and many of us know very little about these threatened creatures. They typically take four years to mature, growing from the size of a dot to 30 cm (1 ft) long and weighing 2.3 kg (5 Ib). The conch has several natural predators, but humans are the most threatening to the species because the edible snail inside the shell is often caught in large numbers before they have had time to reproduce.
Fact: For centuries in the Caribbean and southern Florida people have eaten the tasty meat of the queen conch. The tendency of conchs to gather in shallow waters to spawn in the summer months has allowed them to be easily exploited. Fishing for conch was banned in Florida and Bermuda in the 1990s and other countries now have regulations in place to promote sustainable use, but the conch populations are still in decline.
In Dolphin Discovery, Sue skillfully weaves a story around the differences between a dolphin mammal and a dolphinfish. Children learn about echolocation practiced by bottlenose dolphins, about their nurturing families called ‘pods’ and how it takes several years to reach maturity. These characteristics are contrasted with the dolphinfish, which, due to the high demand on numerous species to eat them, live their whole life cycle in just one year.
Fact: Dolphins are at risk from human practices that negatively impact our oceans causing pollution in the form of marine debris, invisible toxins and as bycatch in nets and on lines set for other species. You and your community can help by being respectful of the dolphin’s ocean habitat: don’t touch or feed wild dolphins or leave fishing line or hooks in the sea; don’t litter, drop plastic bags, sixpack rings, balloons and plastic straws; and only buy cans of tuna labeled ‘dolphin friendly’ where tuna has been caught using long lines, not seine nets that catch dolphins too.
Manatees are gentle, playful and lovable creatures that have captured the hearts of so many. Our Manatee Magic book is dedicated to those who work tirelessly to protect manatees and ensure they will be around for future generations. Although they have no natural predators, manatees are affected by threats in their surrounding environment, including sudden drops in water temperature, ‘red tide’ a type of toxin producing algae, fish hooks and lines left in their river habitat and accidents involving boat propellers.
Fact: Manatees usually swim slowly at between 3-5 mph (5-8 kph) but can swim up to 20 mph (32 kph) in short bursts. Their ears look like slits on the sides of their head and they have a wide range of hearing. They hear higher sound frequencies than humans and the relatively low frequencies of boat engines have been blamed for many boating accidents as manatees cannot hear the boats approaching. Even if they do, the 3 - 6 ft (1 - 2 m) waters in which manatees live means that they often don’t have enough space to dive out of the way. Scientists believe that boats should just slow down to reduce manatee collisions.
“Reduce, reuse and recycle” is a world-wide slogan that comes to life in our sixth book, Turtle Trips. In this book, Sue encourages us all to play our part and share the message of taking responsibility for our garbage and its impact on conservation of our natural resources. It’s an important and attainable goal. Children are also introduced to lionfish, an invasive species that threatens coral reef ecosystems of the Caribbean Sea.
Fact: No one wants to swim in oceans full of garbage. Balloons that float up into the sky often come down in the ocean and get mistaken by turtles for jellyfish, a favourite food. Plastic cups, straws and snack packets stay in the ocean for years so take your garbage home so you don’t endanger any sea creatures. Where possible use products that decompose or compost
Everyone loves a mischievous monkey and in Monkey Mischief children can enjoy the adventures of Hug, the green monkey. They learn about the importance of family and about the need for humans to co-exist with animals despite being frustrated by their interactions, in this case when their crops are taken by monkeys. Children are also introduced to ‘rescue dogs’ and the need for empathy to take in and care for dogs without a home.
Fact: Monkeys have families just like we do, so a missing youngster would be greeted with great love and gladness on its return. They groom each other as part of their social behavior, cleaning their fur of fleas, mites and dust. In doing so they establish friendships.
As human populations increase globally, many animals face a reduction in their natural habitat and the Barbados leaf-toed gecko is no exception. In Gecko Getaway, we follow the quest of a gecko called Gink and a family of fireflies to find a new home after bulldozers arrive to clear the land where they live. Children also learn about species introduced to the island that threaten this endemic gecko. (Gecko Getaway is not yet available on this website, but until then you can find it on the Best of Barbados website.)
Fact: Habitat loss is one of the contributing factors to the decline of the island’s population of native reptile species which includes the Barbados leaf-toed gecko. Research by scientists shows that fireflies are under threat due to loss of habitat, increased use of pesticides and an increased use of artificial light. Fireflies require darkness to communicate using their flashing lights and complete their mating rituals. They also need the right environmental conditions to complete their life cycle.
We are proud to have our books, toys and accessories in the gift shops of many outstanding not-for-profit organizations throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. The sale of products in their gift shops helps offset the cost of their important missions.
We encourage you to visit conservation organizations near you with your friends and family, to learn more about our amazing planet and be proactive in protecting our environment for generations to come. Visit the sites below to start your journey ...