Our Lives by the Sea, Childrens Book

Our Lives by the Sea, Childrens Book

Our Lives by the Sea’ is a book that opens many doors to the reader. Firstly, it is a different way of looking at coastal resources from the eyes of children living in them. Secondly it illustrates how a local NGO can use these very simple messages to provide more in depth understanding of the conservation issues behind these images and thirdly it opens a door to understand what type of person dedicates their life to support environmental conservation and to voices that are rarely heard.

Children’s voices are one of those rarely heard in conservation but this book presents the picture stories drawn in response to a schools competition that asked them to develop storyboards as a first step to making a documentary film about living by the sea. The stories have then been categorised and analysed into five themes: use of marine and other coastal resources such as mangroves, nipa palm and fisheries from past to present, conservation messages, special places, typical life in southern Thailand and before and after the tsunami.

By categorising the stories in this way the book is able to present the conservation issues behind each theme, adding depth and understanding to the simple concerns presented by the children. This inner core is written in both Thai and English and is part of an original work presented by Fah Diow Foundation on behalf of the schools entering a competition supported by the Coastal Habitat and Resource Management Project (CHARM) that finished in 2007. Due to a set of tragic circumstances the book could not published as planned. Part of these circumstances was the sudden loss of the editor/author, Sophia Buranakul in November 2007.

To ensure that the book would be available to those that helped produce it and to commemorate the life and work of Sophia Burnakul, this special edition has been produced by Fah Diow Foundation and is available at www.blurb.com, the money raised will be used to provide copies to the schools that participated in the competition. The commemorative section is in English and seeks to provide insight into how as ordinary people, we can do extraordinary things in our lives. It presents a synopsis of events that shaped the life of Sophia and influenced her to dedicate her life to conservation issues in Thailand.

The importance of this book is the way in which it presents a new way of looking at the environment, and coastal conservation issues in particular. It tells of changes in the life and times of coastal villages over the past several decades. The pictures illustrate the children’s awareness of and concern for the rich habitats of inland forests, mud flats, mangroves, delta waterways and shores.

‘Our Lives by the Sea’ is available at: