This Interactive Picture Book Immerses Young Readers into the Borean Forest

RocketKids Article

Pictured: I am an Orangutan, by Lisa Moody. Photo Courtesy of Lisa Moody.

What if a picture book could harness the power of technology and music to transport readers from their cozy armchair to the forests of Borneo, where orangutans roam? In her new children’s book, I am an Orangutan, author/songwriter Lisa Moody combines the magic of storytelling, songs and QR codes to share the story of Putra, a young orangutan who becomes separated from his mother in the Borean forest and must rely on his instincts and lessons passed down through his family to survive, and hopefully be reunited with his mother.

Moody worked for many years as a television writer, focusing on wildlife and conservation programming for outlets like the Discovery Channel. She has written and produced for Jack Hanna’s beloved programs, which aired in 65 countries. She also won an Emmy for her work on Saving a Species: The Great Penguin Rescue. For 11 years, she worked at the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota. This Saturday, April 27 from 10am to 1pm, she’s celebrating the launch of her book, I am an Orangutan, at Bookstore1Sarasota’s Local Author Book Fair. “Most of my programming centered around animals and wildlife, which is what I love so much,” she says. “When I decided to write some educational music, I decided to focus it on animals and their habitats to try to bring awareness to animal conservation messaging.”

Moody has written 25 songs, available on streaming, that help children learn about different animals. “When I wrote this series of songs, the first song I wrote was ‘I am an Orangutan.’ When I decided to write the first book, I got some input from people on what they liked from my music. Even though ‘I am an Orangutan’ was one of the first songs I wrote, it was still one of their favorites. I also knew that I’d be able to work with local zoos to film the orangutans, so it was an animal that I knew we would have access to,” she adds. I am an Orangutan represents Moody’s collaboration with Ringling College alumn and illustrator Mikaela San Pietro on their DittyZoo books project. Embedded into the illustrations on the book’s pages are QR codes, which young readers can scan to see a fun fact about orangutans appear on their device. At the end of the story, a final QR code links to a sing-along music video of the ‘I am an Orangutan’ song, as well as real-life orangutans. Readers can enjoy fun bonus activities like crossword puzzles and coloring pages, located on the DittyZoo website, to continue the adventure.

“Without kids being aware of it, the book teaches languages skills, reading skills, and it also teaches geography, science and conservation,” Moody says. “The majority of the whole collection of songs are written with musical styles, instruments and rhythyms that are indigenous to where the animals are from, so it also introduces kids to different musical styles and instruments.”

To learn more about DittyZoo and purchase I am an Orangutan, visit dittyzootoonz.com. The Local Author Book Fair will be held from 10am to 1pm at Bookstore1Sarasota, 117 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota, 941-365-7900, sarasotabooks.com.

Pictured: I am an Orangutan, by Lisa Moody. Photo Courtesy of Lisa Moody.

DittyZoo

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