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Whale s coral chorus lures artist
Whale's coral chorus lures artist

It seems that Welsh-born artist and author Sadie James just can't keep away from Australia. She has travelled between the two countries several times but has now decided to make Down Under her home.

"I've just emigrated," says James on the phone from her new home in Coral Bay. "It has been quite a journey."

As a qualified teacher and artist, James has taught art for more than 14 years and has worked with students aged 5 to 65. At the moment she is a kindy teacher in Coral Bay, dividing her time between the classroom and working on her own creative projects.

James has recently published her first children's book, The Whale Shark Song, which was born from her early visits to Coral Bay to connect with one of the area's most famous visitors.

"The first time I visited Coral Bay I didn't see the whale shark at all but the second time I was able to swim with them," James says.

During this visit a hydrophone was dropped into the water to hear the songs of the whales and that gave James the idea for her story.

"I wondered whether the whale shark thought he could also sing," she explains. "When they opened their mouths to filter feed it looked so much like they were trying to make a noise."

The Whale Shark Song is a special story about a whale shark trying to make all his ocean friends happy through his singing. He soon learns that we all have our own gifts to bring to the world.

James' illustrations reflect her careful observation of the local ocean inhabitants and are a combination of linocuts and layered painted textures.

The story could have easily drowned in schmaltz but it doesn't. James brings an intelligence and passion to the story providing young readers with an entertaining read as well as a gentle lesson in conservation.