Koror, Palau – “The day is now evening with a big full moon, and Grandpa wants to find a turtle soon.” This is how the new bilingual book Grandpa and the Baby Sea Turtles begins, a book authored and illustrated by staff members at Palau Conservation Society (PCS).
Bringing together themes of culture and conservation, the fully illustrated children’s book tells the story of a grandfather who goes turtle hunting with his grandson in the waters of Palau.
As they hunt, there is conflict between the pair, as the grandson tells his elder what he learned in school – “that turtles are friends.”
By the end of the heartwarming story, the pair agree that endangered sea turtles are an important part of Palauan culture and therefore should be protected for future generations.
Grandpa and the Baby Sea Turtles is written in English and Palauan and was produced as part of the Emerging Indigenous Fellowship Program sponsored by Conservation International. Bola Majekobaje, Executive Director of PCS, is a 2019-2020 Fellow, one of two recipients chosen globally.
“The story is really about finding balance in nature, learning from elders, but also listening to the voices of young people,” says Majekobaje.
As part of the fellowship project, approximately 250 books were printed.
The majority of books will be distributed to the Palau Ministry of Education, youth groups, and local libraries to be used as a tool to teach literacy, culture, and conservation.
In the future, PCS hopes to make copies of the book available to the general public.
When asked about inspiration for the book, Majekobaje said, “My inspiration was my own daughter and wanting her to have contemporary books that reflect who she is a Palauan.”
Grandpa and the Baby Sea Turtles was illustrated by Heather Ketebengang, Communications and Community Outreach Manager at PCS. Initial translation of the book was done by local poet, Ms.Hermana Ramarui.