Jan Latta is a wildlife photographer and author who spends weeks, months and sometimes years researching for her next book in the True to Life Books series.
Jan is visiting Kids’ Book Capers today to talk to us about how and why she started creating her books for children about endangered animals.
How did you become a writer?
I became a writer after coming face-to-face with a mountain gorilla in Rwanda. When my guide said there were only 600 mountain gorillas left in the world, I decided to write books for children about endangered animals. Grandy the Gorilla was the first book.
What do you enjoy most about being a writer?
Writing about endangered animals. I want to speak for them.
I want to write about animals and their survival so children can learn about them.
What is the hardest thing about being a writer?
For me, it’s finding the wild animals to write their story. I will search for weeks to find the animal that is the focus of the next book. Lennie the Leopard took 15 years because leopards are the most difficult animals to see in the wild.
What were you in a past life before you became a writer?
I was a creative director in an advertising agency.
What is your greatest writing achievement?
Writing a 20,000 word journal for the Diary of a Wildlife Photographer book.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m creating 2minute videos of five of the twelve True to Life Book series.
Do you have any tips for new writers?
Follow your passion and just start writing. Try to get a good mentor or a writer’s group to help you through the tough times.
How many books have you had published?
ABOUT LENNIE THE LEOPARD
What inspired you to write Lennie the Leopard?
The leopard was a challenge. I wanted to find the elusive leopard in the wild and write about its survival. I wanted to take photographs of this magnificent animal in its natural habitat.
What’s it about?
It’s about the most secretive animal in Africa. Children will discover Lennie the Leopard through his narrative. The photographs tell the story about what he eats, how he hunts and how he survives. Then there are facts about the other leopards in India, China and the endangered sub species.
What age groups is it for? 5 to 8 years
Are there any teacher’s notes, associated activities with the book? Yes. Some fun activities, questions and poems.
Is there something that sets this book apart from others?
Yes. All the photographs have been taken in the leopard’s natural habitat
in Africa. I have written the story from first-hand knowledge of a leopard in its daily life.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Living in a tent in Africa so I could research leopards to write their story.
What was the hardest thing about writing this book?
15 years of searching.
On Friday we’ll be reviewing Jan’s beautiful new book, Lennie, the Leopard here at Kids’ Book Capers.
More about Jan, including links to her stunning videos is available at her website
You can also buy Jan’s books direct from her website http://www.truetolifebooks.com.au/
Jan’s new book, Lennie the Leopard is reviewed on Friday at Kids’ Book Capers.