Author, musician, filmmaker and photographer Julian Lennon has been raising money for environmental and humanitarian causes for two decades through his foundation, The White Feather Foundation. His work, however, primarily was focused on adults, until one day friend and fellow author Bart Davis made a comment about children.
From that conversation, an interactive trilogy was born featuring the White Feather Flier, a magical plane that children can take wherever they want as they travel and save the world. A lyrical and inspiring picture book, Lennon’s second book in the Heal the Earth series (Skyhorse Publishing, April 2018), lets its young readers bring medicine to people in need and dive into the ocean to see bleached coral reefs, among other adventures. The book also includes a new poem written by Lennon, son of the late musician John Lennon and his first wife, Cynthia.
Growing Minds, Baker & Taylor’s catalog dedicated to children’s and teen titles, talked with Lennon to commemorate Earth Day. Read the interview below:
Where did your vision come from for this interactive children’s series?
The interactive element of the book just harkens back to the days when my mother or grandmother used to read bedtime stories to me, and how we would go on these journeys together — using our imaginations to go where we wanted to, fly to where the sky was open, to anything our hearts desired. It was a time of bonding between family members, an important time in a child’s life.
Could you share what parts of your writing process look like?
It was very much a question of, ‘What do we want to talk about and teach here? What are our goals?’ From the moment Bart and I had a starting point, it was just a question of going with the flow and suggesting ideas back and forth until we had something that made sense. Ideas that would start a conversation between a child and elder family member, to discuss what they were reading about, and to find answers themselves. The storyline and words are written in my voice.
What’s a key ingredient for reaching children in print?
The key ingredients are the issues we face every day as a society in general. It’s about bringing awareness to those who don’t know of the plights we face and a reminder for those who have forgotten.
Why is it important to share the lessons and teachings of the White Feather Foundation to this age group? What is the appetite for this type of material?
If you can change things for the betterment of all life on earth, the better we all are. It starts from the ground and oceans up… Again, what we try to do is raise awareness and help financially where we can, when we can, and when donations allow.
How is the message being received?
The message by sales alone has been loud and clear: We’re doing the right thing. We’re on the right track, and there’s only one way to go — onward and upward.
I’ve always admired Julian Lennon’s singing, because for all he has seen of the world, his melodies contain such childlike wonder… his words, too. Buy this book, and his words turn into actions.” — Bono
What are you hoping your readers think or feel when they take part in this adventure?
That they feel part of this world, part of a caring community… A community that cares, not only for each other, but also for the world around them. We are all one. What we do to others, we do to ourselves.