Title: Rainbow Turtle, Golden Dolphin
Author: Jhana Bowen
Illustrator: Jhana Bowen
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Environment / Spirituality
Age Group: 8 – 14
Please tell us a bit of what your book is about.
Rainbow Turtle, Golden Dolphin is aimed for children aged 8 to 14. Essentially the story is about humanity’s relationship to the earth.
An angel, Mama-Gaia, asks two friends, turtle and dolphin to share her message, to see if humanity can change its direction. But turtle and dolphin find humanity isn’t listening. Mama-Gaia magically turns turtle into Rainbow Turtle and dolphin, into Golden Dolphin. Humanity shifts as Rainbow Turtle helps us see feelings are a signal to what matters. Whilst Golden Dolphin helps find valuable treasures inside. Balance on earth returns, resources are shared and globally communities find peace.
What kinds of themes / issues are raised in this story?
The book addresses themes of emotion, spirituality and environment.
How are these important to you in raising awareness for your readers?
I see a need for globally for people to change how they see themselves and the world around them. Especially when so many think their actions impact very little. It’s as if people imagine they’re isolated fragments unconnected to the whole. I feel this contributes greatly to the problems we face. It’s important for us to develop a sense of connection. To experience how we’re are all a part of life. Developing this awareness I feel is at the forefront of constructive change. Its part of my mission to embody this and to share it.
Who or what inspired you to write this story?
In my twenties I suffered from excruciating back pain. At times I was bed-ridden. I tried many modalities of healing in an attempt to be free of pain. I began to find healthy ways to live and practised yoga and massage. In 1998 whilst doing yoga on the rocks at Yaroomba Beach in QLD, I saw a golden dolphin. My mind didn’t believe my eyes until I saw it several times over. I never told anyone for decades. Then I began telling it as a story to my kids and later to other kids. The story started coming to life. Ten years later I co-founded a not for profit called Turtle Conservation Project. It gave alternatives to plastic with steel water bottles, straws and such. It also developed awareness on the effects of plastic consumption for marine-life, their habitat and how humans also suffer.
I saw it would take too long to achieve the results I longed for. As I saw how global pollution comes from people’s attitudes and consciousness I decided to do something different. That’s what inspired the book.
What is your favourite part of the book?
I just love page 8. The illustration here is called ‘Balanced World’. It shows a time before industrialisation. It has a powerful depth to it. It celebrates the wonder of nature and it’s timelessness. The artwork shows all beings sharing the planet in a communion across the elements. The light portrayed is mesmerising.
Many people are inspired most by this artwork, it’s the most popular one from the book.
How would you describe the publishing process? Were they supportive? How long did it take?
I researched the pros and cons of self publishing and on working with a publisher. I learned publishers take a risk with unpublished authors because their books may not sell.
I also learned about the possibility of losing creative freedom in my artistic work. I wanted to have a fluid, graceful publishing experience whilst maintaining complete creative control. By self publishing I retained my freedoms as illustrator, author and graphic designer.
I researched self publishing options over a year before completing the book. After finding the companies I asked a lot of questions. Acquiring quotes, negotiating terms, specifying needs and making adjustments. Then finally, I was ready to go. The process was evolutionary for my growth. I learned to be focussed, resilient and to trust. I discovered how to overcome obstacles and remain dedicated to something bigger than myself.
Once I chose my self-publishing company it took a little over a month. There was a lot of going back and forth. Checking for print quality, colours and fonts. Maximising the quality was paramount. After some encouragement my self publishing company were on board with what I wanted. This helped produce a book I’m proud of.
What was the collaboration like between author and illustrator? Juicy gossip, please!
Creating all facets of this book was challenging and rewarding. I went through ups and downs. Soul searching days and nights. There were times I felt utterly stupid. Thought of ‘who would want to read this’ and ‘I am wasting time and money.’ I was humbled and amazed to find people spending thousands of dollars investing in my book.
My resilience, tenacity and determination paid off.
Meditation and connection to nature were at the heart of my process that helped me face my fears. Mostly that of loneliness and the pain related to what is happening on our planet. The solace I found in silent moments was quintessential in completing the book.
What has the feedback / audience response been like so far?
Crowdfunding was a huge positive response. It launched the dream of the book off the ground and into reality.
Now, after publishing, I’m focussing on a creative book launch concept with the aim to deliver on the books message to connect with ourselves, our communities and our earth.
So far the book has been at a Kids Festival where it received excellent feedback. I also did a book reading that was so much fun. The kids and parents loved it.
I feel touched as people tell me how the book evokes strong emotions, especially tears. I feel it’s because they are moved into an atmosphere of truth and possibility.
One mother described her son sat bolt upright when she read the meditation in the book to him. She was blown away with how it effected him and was grateful that she could share it with her son.
What teaching and learning ideas would you suggest to complement this book?
The short guided meditation at the back of the book is designed to develop emotional resilience and confidence.
I suggest that parents and kids explore emotion with the aim to make peace with them. Often we make emotions out as bad and shun them. But we all have them and they are a great way to learn about ourselves.
I also suggest developing a connection to nature as much as possible. It’s a great way to listen to what life offers us.
These questions can be used as meditations for anyone wanting to explore the themes of this book further;
Can I feel what is happening on this planet?
Can I feel what is happening inside of me?
Is it ok to have these feelings?
Is there something that I am not seeing?
What could another picture of the earth actually look like?
Am I interested in drawing such a picture?
Do you have a book trailer for your book? Please share.
It’s on it’s way.
Any details on your book launch you’d like to tell us about?
I am working on a book launch with an in depth experience of the book. Currently I am developing partnerships with organisations closely aligned with my vision. At this stage I’m working with Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and Australian Seabird Rescue.
Please let us know where we can find more on you and your book.
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Jhana! 🐢 🐬
As a child, Jhana attended as the only western child in a Tibetan School in the high Himalayas for 6 years. His principal was the Dalai Lama’s sister. He was raised in a culture deeply connected to spirituality, art, and nature.
In 1998 Jhana saw a golden dolphin in the ocean whilst doing yoga. In 2013, he co-founded Turtle Conservation Project to contribute to preserve marine-life.
Recognising a need for lasting change beyond addressing symptoms of environmental imbalance, his illustrations and writing in the Rainbow Turtle, Golden Dolphin combine myth and symbols to help build global consciousness. His work aims to serve as a catalyst for constructive change.