The Summer of 2020 will be one Jody Vassallo will never forget. She spent 6 weeks volunteering both on the fire ground as a member of the RFS and in Firecom at Moruya receiving 000 calls, dispatching trucks and equipment. Days were long, terrifying and pushed her to the limit. During that time she heard a story on the radio about wombats allowing other animals to shelter in their burrows. It was one of the very few feel good stories she heard that summer. We lost 1.25 billion animals in the fires that year, it was devastating and whenever Jody, in her RFS uniform came upon children they would ask her "Are you saving the animals?". After bushfires ravaged Australia in 2019/2020 children were left with an array of emotions they were struggling to process. Many of them still talk of the fires, lots still have nightmares and are uncomfortable being away from their parents especially if there is any smoke around. They still ask their parents about the animals and if they have healed from their wounds. The Brave- Bottomed Wombat is a story of hope. It was written to help children process their feelings around the fires. It acknowledges that the animals too felt the fear they experienced, it explains how they got through those smoke filled days and how they gathered together to support each other. The story tells how humans found them and helped them fix their wounds and return them to the homes. There is an element of humour in the wombat story so kids can get back in touch with their playful essence and understand that everyone who experienced the fires will have some reminder. The Brave-Bottomed wombats reminder is on her bum!
Jody says " We are looking to raise $75k to self publish this book. The money will be spent on printing, a designer, an illustrator, an editor, marketing, distribution and postage.
A percentage of book sales will be donated to Firesticks Alliance Indigenous Corporation - an Indigenous led network that aims to reinvigorate the use of cultural burning by facilitating cultural learning pathways to fire and land management. It is an initiative for Indigenous and non Indigenous people to look after Country, share their experiences and collectively explore ways to achieve their goals. You will receive a copy of The Brave Bottomed Wombat. The book will be posted to you (within Australia only). The Brave-Bottomed Wombat will make a wonderful gift for children especially those who were living in the areas impacted by bushfires. Illustrations by the incredibly talented Cara King.