Juan Uys

I'm making a picture book


A long-time hobby of mine’s been illustration and the odd spot of painting. A little known secret about me is that I used to write a lot in school. Fiction, non-fiction, essays, reports, precis, short stories, you name it. I can thank my Afrikaans language teacher in primary school who set me a challenge when I was only 11 years old: to write him one interesting story every week, which he then read to the class every Friday. Mr. Engelbrecht was one of those teachers who have a profound influence on your life.

We recently received sad news of our friend Polly. DW did a profile of Polly a few years ago at Al Jazeera’s Earthrise and she’s more recently moved into Dad’s village where she’s now become a neighbour and friend.

How inspiring that woman is. So much so, in fact, that I’ve felt inspired to do something awesome just so I can tell her about it the next time I saw her at one of the village get-togethers. You know, something for the cause - maybe a game about sustainability, or something creative about nature.

What to do?

I’ve decided to make a picture book in Polly’s honour. It will be about a little girl called Polly who does something good for nature. The book will be for Polly. It will be for my little girls. It will be for little children everywhere, hopefully teaching them that the Earth is to be protected and treated with respect.

Whatever happens, I would have made something for a friend, whether she lives to see it or not.

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