How one turtle became a popular children’s book – Ella’s Adventure
Christian Miller sat down with DIVER to talk about his new book Ella’s Adventure.
Did you always want to become a children’s book author?
No, this was absolutely not on my radar, ever. I am considering myself a story teller, but more through art, photography or filmmaking. But it did really excite me when I had the first desire to create one.
What inspired you to write this book ?
I was director of a sea turtle hospital, which a few of us built, basically with our own hands. It was hard to raise funds in the beginning. Then we had one rescued turtle, we called her Ella. She was not only beautiful, but her survival story was remarkable, and she had a very cheeky character, she reacted to humans, and to my camera. I was able to take very unique images of her, which generated global media, eventually helped to create more love and respect for marine life, but also helped us to raise funds to have a great impact. I wanted to tell her story, in the shape of a children’s book.
How long did it take to create ‘Ella’s Adventures”?
The idea I had during a youth expedition in the Amazon in 2011. I met Ella years later, which gave me a real story line instantly connected with. Then I started the illustrations, years passed, until covid hit us. There I saw the opportunity, I couldn’t travel anymore, so I looked myself into my office and worked on the book day and night for around 4-5 months.
Your book says you are raising funds for a project?
Yes this is correct, I always try to find ways to fund high impact conservation projects. The first one, close to my heart, is a small very beautiful Turtle nest relocation, and community education program on Lissenung Island in PNG. A German couple own a dive resort on the private island, and have been funding this project through their own tourism. Covid brought this sustainable source to a full stop, that’s why I wanted to help. I will continue finding similar small projects, where the funds I can raise can really make a difference.
How can people buy the book?
Best is directly from www.ellasadventures.com.au as it allows me to maximise the support towards projects. On the website you can also see where the money is going and learn about the chosen initiatives.
Why did you create this book?
I believe we are at a very important pivot point, where we have to take action. Our children will have to deal with our decisions we are making now. They are more informed than we have ever been. I feel it is our duty to give children all the tools, not to make the same mistakes we did. But we can help to guide them, inspire and set a good example. Education is essential, but also taking action. I want to do both, and this book was my best answer to educate, and raise funds for hands down projects.
Will you make more books?
I get this question quite a lot. I think I will. First, I want to raise $100,000 dollars. When I see I can achieve this big goal, I will continue. There are several stories in my head that I want to do.
Tell us about the story of Ella?
The story follows Ella in the Great Barrier Reef, where she ends up in a turtle hospital for treatment after an injury. There she meets lots of other turtles, who talk to each other after the caring volunteer humans leave the facility. Ella learns all about the journeys, struggles and adventures of other turtles, but also what people do to help. There are codes on most pages. Scanning with a cell phone unlocks additional content, such as whale songs or the real release of Ella.
Why is the ocean so important to you?
The ocean is important to all of us. It generates more than every second breath we take. I have worked all around the world, diving, exploring or science projects. Marine life encounters are my greatest gift, and I am dedicating my life to fight for the oceans, it’s my call, my purpose.
What’s your favourite animal?
I do love Turtles, a lot. But my favourite animal, apart from tiger sharks, is the orca. They are just majestic, super smart and so beautiful, when I see one I completely freak out – in a good way! It’s my dream to swim with them, I have still to accomplish it. I was close, but not close enough.
What can people do to help marine animals or sea turtles?
You have to remember, the ocean is downhill from everything. Even if you live far away from the ocean, you can still affect it. If you can join beach cleanups, that’s a great start. But think further, how can you cut out single use plastic, can you convert your office to carry coffee mugs instead of takeaway cups? Can you inspire others to become champions? Consider what you consume and buy, how much packaging is necessary? Support brands that are innovative, and support organisations that help the ocean.
Are sea turtles in trouble ?
As an animal that is breathing on the surface, eating on the ocean floor, migrates and is nesting on beaches, they are affected by everything we do. From fishing, to ocean plastic, to land development, water quality, global warming, dredging and boating, everything directly affects them. Most turtle species are endangered now. Warming sea and nesting beach temperatures are not helping. Plus our ever increasing plastic consumption, and the lack of keeping it out of the oceans is a major threat to all marine animals.
To support Christian’s noble quest, visit: www.ellasadventures.com.au
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