There’s a new kids’ book in town which is raising funds for families in need and Joanne Underwood, head teacher at De Paul House’s early childhood centre, inspired it.
Journalist and illustrator, Shiree Schumacher has published a children’s book to raise funds for De Paul House, an organisation which provides emergency accommodation for homeless families on the North Shore and Warkworth.
When Ms Underwood couldn’t find an age-appropriate book on the life cycle of the monarch butterfly, she asked Ms Schumacher, who volunteers at the centre, to create one.
Ms Underwood wasn’t expecting a published book, but Ms Schumacher, who independently published her first picture book in 2016, never intended to produce anything less – and was delighted to help out a cause that she (Ms Schumacher) knows so well.
“I think Joanne thought I might doodle a few things onto paper with felt tips, but I was happy to create something special for the children at the centre. I just love monarch butterflies too, so it was a passion project for sure,” says Ms Schumacher who has volunteered on Friday mornings at the playgroup for three years. The early childhood centre, which supports both resident children and local low-income families, offers parents the opportunity to attend in-house courses, while their children are being cared for.
“I created this book with the children in the play group in mind, many of whom have English as a second language, and so it needed to have some rhythm and rhyme, with questions in between, to keep their attention,” says Ms Schumacher.
The mother of two says not only did she enjoy creating something for the children she adores working with, but loves the fact that when people buy her book, they’re supporting De Paul House as all profits from the book sales will go to them. “De Paul House does such an important job in the community and this way people can show their support and get something for a beloved little one in return,” says Ms Schumacher .
The book titled ‘What will it be? Just wait and see!’ is available now with, a formal book launch at De Paul House. It’s an ideal Christmas gift for two to six year olds as it features rhyming, brightly coloured illustrations, easy-to-read font and lends itself perfectly to being read aloud – a gem for early childhood teachers. It also has some information on how to support monarch butterflies in the back pages, all approved by the Monarch Butterfly New Zealand Trust
De Paul House manager Jan Rutledge welcomes Ms Schumacher’s social enterprise.
“At this time of year especially, De Paul House, relies on volunteers and donations to keep doing what we do for our community,” said Ms Rutledge.
The organisation has expanded its service over the past few years and currently can house up to 41 families across the North Shore and Warkworth.
This year, they will be providing nearly 100 Christmas hampers to both resident families and other low-income families in the community. They welcome donations and basic foods, Christmas treats or toys to support the 220 children they will give gifts to this year.
The fundraising book, ‘What will it be? Just wait and see!’ is available online from Illobooks.com or from De Paul House office at 92 Onewa Road (09 480 5959).