Tag Archives: endangered species

A Book Launch, A Gorilla Trek and Kids as Animators.

This Friday morning, if you are near your computer, tune into Scholastic, Inc’s website.  Scholastic Inc. is launching a new book here, and simulcasting the launch party over the web, from their auditorium in New York City. Insiders at Scholastic say this is one of the biggest launches since Harry Potter. Looking for Miza is the book.

Releasing a book today is almost like starting a new media channel. Not only will viewers of the launch party hear from the book’s authors, but they will also be able to read pages from the book, submit questions, find teacher resources, suggest solutions to the problems facing an endangered species, donate money to help the character in the book, join a “watch” community, and view animated movies made about the book, by kids from around the world.

What’s best about this story is that it is true. A real story, out of Africa.

At our house, we are especially excited about this release. Two of my boys and I spent June in Rwanda Africa with the book’s authors, workshopping animation with kids in Rwanda, and tromping around in the volcanic mountains with the Gorillas. I had the incredible pleasure to help the kids of Rwanda learn the craft of animation by producing two “gorillasodes” with young people a the Rwanda Cinema Center. The “gorillasodes” are now availble to view at www.miza.com. Look for them at the bottom of the page. They knocked it out of the national park!

Check out this Friday’s simulcast at 10:00am EST. You just may see us at the Gorillasode premiere at the the first ever Kids Gorilla Summit!


Rwanda Gorilla Trek with a Conservation Podcaster

Recently returned from Rwanda, where amongst other things, we went up a volcano to see the mountain gorillas. Along for the trek was Paula Kahumbu from WildlifeDirect in Kenya, and co-author of the upcoming book, “Looking for Miza” – about a lost baby mountain Gorilla, coming soon from Scholastic and Turtle Pond Productions.

While the rest of us were armed with still and video camera’s, Paula had her audio equipment strapped to her side for podcasting the experience to her faithful blog followers. (I include myself now) She documented our journey via audio as we tromped through the stinging nettle and mud up to the Gorillas. Then as we encountered the Gorillas up-close and personal, there was Paula, microphone outstretched in hand, capturing the cacophonous sounds of the Gorilla habitat for her blog. This is what happens when you have an audience. This is what happens, and we’ve been addressing this for two years now, when you know you can make a difference with your story. I am inspired by her forward thinking, which includes organizing and encouraging many conservation-minded trackers and rangers to start their own blogs and communicate about the issues surrounding this endangered species. Check out her channel here.

She has also done a wonderful post about our animation workshop in Rwanda. Rather than toot our own horn, look at the post Paula has offered. Wonderful!

More on this exciting experience on the next post