ABUSE KNOWLEDGE: Alan Smith has self-published a children’s book called Koala and Bunny.
ABUSE KNOWLEDGE: Alan Smith has self-published a children’s book called Koala and Bunny. Contributed

Cute title, tough topic

ONCE upon a time there were two best friends named Koala and Bunny.

This isn't the start of a fairytale but it is the beginning of a very important book with a simple but effective message about child protection.

Koala and Bunny: Instilling Protective Behaviours in Children was written by Alan Smith, who grew up in Goodna.

The story tells of Koala and Bunny playing with a twig and thinking it is fun to put the twig in their ears and nose.

They both become sick because they get germs in their ears and nose from the twig and they have to visit the doctor.

They learn not to play around with the special parts of each other's bodies.

The number of libraries stocking Koala and Bunny is growing and includes the National Library of Australia, the State Library of Queensland and the Brisbane and Ipswich City Council libraries.

It is available through more than 50 outlets in 17 countries and Mr Smith has put a black and white downloadable version on his web site. He has gained wide praise for his book including:

Griffith University Chancellor Leneen Forde: "Koala and Bunny: Instilling Protective Behaviours in Children will become a significant milestone in the effort to protect our children against human predators. Koala and Bunny is a valuable tool in teaching children protective behaviours."

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale: "It is wonderful to see that you have taken this proactive approach and blended it with a useful book for children. I applaud your passion."

Prime Minister Julia Gillard: "Your efforts in developing Koala and Bunny are commendable. If you have not already done so, you may wish to contact these authorities about making Koala and Bunny available to schools.

Peter Garrett, Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth: "I commend you on your efforts in developing Koala and Bunny."

Mr Smith said he grew up in Redcliffe before he moved to Goodna where he lived with his brother and sister. He worked as a musician, putting out CDs, and has been in a big art group called Access Arts for 20 years.

"I'm just music and art basically," he said. "I'm still making a bit of music. Alan O'Day in the States has recorded a song of mine.

"My first album got three nominations in the Sunny Awards, which is the Queensland Music Awards."

In 1991 he had an accident and has been a pensioner since but his passion and creativity were not dulled as he turned to writing.

"A relative of mine got involved with someone who had images on his computer; that was 20 years ago now. That was the initial reason for this," he said.

"The book took me about 17 years to write. The thing that kept driving me was the statistics - this issue is so systemic - and I'm from a big family and there's lots of cases of abuse in my family.

"I persevered with this and finally got it done.

"It started a lot more complex with a lot bigger story and taking advice from people it became a very simple story.

"I decided to do a free black and white download because I thought, stuff it, it's just going out there. So anybody can download the book and put it on their computer."

For more information and to buy the book see koalaandbunny.com.



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