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Q&A with Petra Crofton, author of Science Geek Christy and her Eco-Logbook

We chatted with children’s book author Petra Crofton about her brand new book Science Geek Christy and her Eco-Logbook — out this month!

Science Geek Christy and her Eco-Logbook

By Petra Crofton

Meet Christy a determined young girl, who is passionate about saving the planet.

Along with her boyfriend geeky Sam and best friend Amira and other school mates, they win a science competition and an opportunity to travel to Ecuador to write travel blogs. Excitement and anticipation for the trip is overshadowed by a HUGE dilemma for conscientious Christy. Can they get there in an eco-friendly way? Will she have to miss out on a trip of a lifetime to see the wildlife and experience the culture of Ecuador because of her principles? How best can she do her part to care for God’s creation? After finding a brilliant solution, once in Ecuador, Christy and her fellow adventurers discover the trip is not all that it seems! 

A gripping adventure for any child passionate about wildlife of the rainforest, endangered ecosystems and being a responsible eco-warrior.

What inspired you to write Science Geek Christy and her Eco-Logbook?

When I was adapting and translating the Dutch version of Science Geek Sam and his secret Logbook, I read each section to our two sons (then 8 and 10) at bedtime. As soon as we’d finished the book they said they wanted more, and asked if there was a sequel. As it happens, my two passions are ‘science & faith’ and ‘science & creation care’, so I began to write a story about Sam’s best friend Christy embarking on this huge eco-adventure.

What do you hope children will learn and feel after reading the book? Is there a specific message you’d like them to learn or think about?

I hope that it will inspire them to embrace science and explore the outdoors. And I hope that they have learned something about God and the Bible, especially our task to look after the world. I would be most thrilled, in a way, if they feel the book has allowed them to ‘escape’ into a fun and exciting adventure story.

Do you have a favourite character?

Probably Matteo. He’s one of Christy’s best friends: a funny, lively and impulsive boy, with a huge heart. His kindness is revealed at the end of the story, when he not only helps Christy, but also the children of the orphanage in Ecuador. But hopefully all characters are relatable and likeable.

What did you learn when writing the book?

So many things! Both about science and about writing! I had translated and adapted a few books, but writing one from scratch is a different story, so to say. But I loved the writing and jumped out of bed every morning when it was a ‘Christy day’. The drawing was fun too, but I had to work quite hard to get the characters right.

How much research into the rainforest, endangered ecosystems and being an eco-warrior did you do?

I knew quite a bit, as I studied and love biology and go into schools and the church and community to do wildlife workshops. I am a very curious person, a bit of a science geek I guess, so I read about science all the time. But I still learned a lot. I double checked all the facts and went down a rabbit hole each time I explored a new eco-topic. It was fascinating.

What can children do to make a positive impact on the environment?

First of all I would say: don’t lose heart and keep fighting for the planet. Work with others, as a team – at school, at home, at church. Secondly: Go out into nature and be amazed. You will be even more motivated to protect the environment. Learn about the world: biodiversity, the climate, people and also the problems the planet faces. Thirdly: Learn about where your food, clothes, toilet paper etc come from and see if you can make a difference by buying more eco-friendly alternatives. Be inspired by Christy and her family. Reuse and recycle where you can, and save money in the process. Refuse plastic and reduce food waste. Make your (school) garden more wildlife friendly… But: break it down and do it together! It’s a big task.

Fortunately, there are lots of positive things we can do. Switch your search engine to Ecosia, check out Climate Stewards and A Rocha… Ask your teacher if the school can become an Eco-school, ask your church leader if they can sign up for Eco-church. If you are a Christian, you can pray and ask God to help you find ways to protect his creation and bless your actions.

Please tell your teachers that from early 2022 they will be able to download a resource for schools and clubs about Christy’s 16 blog themes (www.wildandwonderful.uk). This fun and free resource will be filled with fabulous science and eco-activities. It ties in with the upper primary school curriculum, but can be used anywhere. The resource follows the book, but all themes/lessons are ‘standalone’ so teachers/leaders can pick and mix.

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Q&A with Jacci Bulman, author of Talking God: Daring to Listen

Talking God

We spoke with inspirational poet and author Jacci Bulman about her new book, Talking God: Daring to Listen – available to pre-order now! Talking God explores the valuable and often neglected tool of listening as a way to spiritual learning. Jacci invites you to reflect on the personal beliefs many of us hold towards God through listening in on a series of eleven inspiring interviews with people of Christian or ‘Jesus-connected’ faith.

Watch the video below and scroll down for the full interview.

Watch Jacci speak about what inspired her to write Talking God.

What inspired you to write Talking God?

I wanted to go further than saying “I believe God is Love”. I wanted to explore my own personal faith in Christ…so I decided to listen to a wide range of people about theirs! I felt that by listening and understanding different ways of seeing God, of knowing Jesus, I would gain more clarity, not confusion…and I did.

What do you hope the book will achieve?

I hope the book will help people see that we can learn by finding what we agree and connect with in different beliefs to our own, rather than looking for how we can criticize and separate…it’s a great way of learning, finding our ‘common thread’. I also hope that it will help people understand more clearly what they personally believe about God, Jesus, and Christianity; how they can actively move forwards with their own faith.

Can you describe your first experience of God?

When I was young, I used to go on walks and call into the local churchyard, where there was a tiny old grave at the back, by a tree. It simply said ‘Little Hannah’. I liked collecting pretty stones, flowers and things to put by her grave…and I guess that was my beginning to understand that there is ‘more than this’ to life. There is God, heaven, and Love.

Did you find anything similar across the beliefs of the 11 pilgrims? Any main differences?

The greatest similarity was people are all trying to find their way to understand and connect to God’s love. They all use different ‘languages’ and ways of seeing ‘truth,’ but beneath all the different texts, there is a longing for being held in that love. The greatest difference is in how much we read and follow the Bible literally, as the exact Word of God, or see it as a great collection of books written by divinely inspired people, but with fallibility.

Did a particular pilgrim’s beliefs speak to you?

I can honestly say that I learned as much from people who had very different beliefs to mine, as from those with whom I ‘connected’ very easily. No-one has exactly the same beliefs as me – and that is how faith can be real, living, honest. I learned a lot from both Richard and Tim about the dynamic quality of the Trinity – of God’s love being an active eternal sharing, which we belong within. I learned from Martyn about the exciting complexity of the word ‘truth’…and I enjoyed opening my awareness to God’s ‘Oneness’ with Bob and Brigid. But I genuinely did learn something from everyone, which was perhaps one of the greatest teachings for me in creating this book.

What are the key themes of the book?

To value and practice true listening. To explore how the word ‘truth’ can mean many things, on many levels. To find which spiritual ‘language’ best helps us each comprehend God. To reach for us finding unity within our wide diversity of faith. To be honest and brave with our own exploration of what we believe about Jesus and God. To look at how we can make our faith active, with loving as a verb. And to discover that God’s love is beyond all words…which is a good thing.

In the book you write, “How much do we fail to learn or grow when we do not listen because we are so sure ‘our’ way is only the right way.” Can you explain what you meant by this?

I find over and over again that when I am only interested in ‘telling people’ what I believe, what I think is ‘right’, and not in understanding what they believe, what they think is ‘right’, I learn a lot less, I grow a lot less in my own understanding of life and of God. Being willing to listen and ‘exchange’ ideas, which is true communication, not trying to push our own truth onto people, enables us all to explore truth more widely, with more connectivity. We can then live out our faith with awareness and not be ‘blinkered’. It does not mean just ‘absorbing’ other people’s views, but it means respecting them. To love and respect others as we hope they will love and respect us, as Jesus showed us! I believe he often asked questions and listened.


Talking God

Daring to Listen

by Jacci Bulman

Talking God invites you to reflect on the personal beliefs many of us hold towards God through listening in on a series of eleven inspiring interviews with people of Christian or ‘Jesus-connected’ faith. Each of these dedicated spiritual pilgrims give responses to fourteen searching questions about God, Jesus Christ, and Christianity, which offer a wide range of perspectives on issues of faith and spiritual truth.

Also available as an Ebook.

What others are saying:

‘In an age of increasing soundbites these stories open up a kaleidoscopic diversity of lives of faith.’ 

Ruth Harvey, Leader of The Iona Community

‘Jacci Bulman’s Talking God beautifully illustrates honest “God talk,” which must occur if any of our faith traditions are to re-vision themselves and survive.’ 

Dr Neil Douglas-Klotz, author of The Hidden Gospel and Prayers of the Cosmos

About the author:

Jacci Bulman

Jacci Bulman grew up around Accrington, Lancashire, before studying Human Sciences at Oxford University.  She overcame a brain tumour and skin cancer, co-founded a charity for disabled children in Vietnam (The Kianh Foundation), and began to focus increasingly on spiritual understanding at its simplest – that God is Love. She has published two poetry collections, A Whole Day Through From Waking (Cinnamon Press) and In the Holding (Indigo Dreams). Talking God – Daring to Listen is her first non-fiction book.