Jess Lohmann Discusses Her New Eco-Fantasy Children’s Book ‘Lily Bowers and the Uninvited Guest’ Which Aims to Empower Kids To Build a Better World
A Wall of Hope First!
A first for A Wall of Hope; a guest post!
In this post, Jess Lohmann, author of children’s eco-fantasy book ‘Lily Bowers and the Uninvited Guest’ discusses what the book is all about, her inspiration for writing it, and her hope that it will show children everywhere that they have the power to change this world for the better.
Have a read and spread the word about this beautifully inspirational children’s tale, which is the first of a three-book ‘eco-fantasy’ series.
Lily Bowers and the Uninvited Guest – By Jess Lohmann
“Nature inspires. Nature heals. Nature needs our help. Mother Nature is calling upon us to tune in to nature and respect all she takes care of.”Jess Lohmann, Speaker for Animals & Nature
I’m Jess Lohmann, Speaker for Animals & Nature – through my writing I help children and young people connect with and get active protecting Mother Nature. A Wall of Hope exists for “positivity, for inspiration, and for reasons to believe in ourselves and this wonderful world around us”. I’m 100% aligned with this and hope I can do this justice with my own message of R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
I’m here to help reignite (com)passion for Mother Nature, particularly through the eyes of children and young people, who’ll be responsible for stewarding our planet from today and all the tomorrows to come. I’ll be sharing snippets from my own story and also including thoughts from Lily Bowers, the ten-year-old girl in my eco fantasy books who connects so well with children, animals and nature alike.
About Lily Bowers and the Uninvited Guest
Lily Bowers and the Uninvited Guest was published on April 24, 2019: World Day for Laboratory Animals. The German version (Lily Bowers und der ungebetene Gast) was published on December 10, 2020: World Animal Day. It’s currently being translated into Spanish and Finnish as well.
When Mother Nature herself is threatened by animal cruelty, only Lily can save her. To do this, she must mobilize all her new animal friends in her beloved forest. The same forest where the Brothers Grimm once travelled. But first, there’s a horrible bully at her new school to deal with. Lily knows she’ll need to call on all her courage to convince the rest of the world that nature must come first.
This book is the first of an eco fantasy series that shows kids they really do have the power and influence to make a difference and change the world. And save animals. The first book is about animal testing, the second one (already in the pipeline) focuses on the animal farming industry and the third one will be about saving marine life.
Lily and her friends (2-legged, 4-legged and more) are on an urgent mission to address animal testing. We see caring Lily learn about the issue and become increasingly impassioned when she registers the impact. What to do about it? Without giving everything away, suffice to say that Lily and Co. embark on a journey, packed with learning, yet realistic in the highs and lows that she experiences in tackling a seemingly insurmountable challenge.
Where did it all start?
My parents raised me to respect nature and animals. My mom rescued wild animals, nursed them back to health and released them. We went camping, lived near a forest area growing up on Long Island, New York. I worked for veterinarians throughout high school and college.
After they passed, I realized I wanted to make more of an impact and inspire others to do the same because right now, we’re destroying all that we need to be able to not only thrive on this planet, but also to survive.
After reading a book about creativity — Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert — I felt inspired to write. Since I was so connected with nature, I decided to inspire children, specifically preteens/juniors, and show them they have the power and influence to change the world. It then became very clear to me why I was on this beautiful Earth:
To save as many animals as humanly possible by promoting a deep ecological philosophy that all life matters (more on this later).
Mother Nature is pleading for us to work together to create a harmonious world full of healthy choices and opportunities for all animals, humans included.
A world with no more child labour, sweatshops, animal abuse and testing, harmful pesticides, GMOs and chemicals on the foods, clothes, cosmetics, meds and other products we consume.
And a world without poverty and war.
Why ‘eco fantasy’ works
I feel that when we respect Mother Nature and all she takes care of, we’re at peace with ourselves. When we’re at peace with ourselves, we’re at peace with others. And when we’re at peace with others, we’ll have world peace.
This is the main message in my book and my reader newsletter (Talk about Nature!) and I feel it can help heal our souls — and our planet.
‘Eco fantasy’ is my chosen genre for communicating with my readership. I’ve taken the most fitting elements from ‘deep ecology’ and ‘magic realism’ to encourage children and young people to build a movement to help Mother Nature.
According to Britannica, ‘deep ecology’ is:
“an environmental philosophy and social movement based in the belief that humans must radically change their relationship to nature from one that values nature solely for its usefulness to human beings to one that recognizes that nature has an inherent value.”
‘Magic realism’ is the perfect genre for eco fantasy as, according to Wikipedia, “it paints a realistic view of the modern world while also adding magical elements”. In essence, I don’t downplay the state of the world today. However, I do seek to add a touch of fantasy with Lily’s ability to speak to animals (the language of ‘Animalish’) and Mother Nature taking form through shape shifting.
Communicating my main message about ‘respect’
I will continue to use these creative tools and a similar approach throughout the Lily Bowers series to communicate the ‘respect’ message. I’m confident it will inspire, rather than finger wag and blame or shame, whilst despairing at the grimness of it all. For example, I’m vegan and aware that some members of the vegan community can be overly vocal at times in expressing their more militant views. However, the fact is that every human has their own values and views and that’s a good thing, because with our differences, we have the power to help create the respectful diverse world we want to live in together. But, we can only create this world if we respect each other at all times, even those who think differently. This is my philosophy and one that I’ll be embedding in Lily Bowers’ next mission to improve farm animal welfare in the upcoming book.
Contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The Lily Bowers series is being increasingly recognized as a vehicle for educators to engage with children and young people to help them learn about the big issues that matter and inspire them to make a positive difference. Even more effective is channelling this learning through the Sustainable Development Goals framework. The United Nation’s SDGs are “the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice”.
So, where does Lily fit into all this? Mother Nature’s certainly keeping her busy and asked her to team up to contribute to Goal #12 Climate Action, #14 Life Below Water and #15 Life on Land. If we don’t get these SDGs right, we will drive our own species into extinction and then nothing else matters.
Lily’s also taken Goal #17 Partnerships to heart – without Lily’s loyal band of animal and human friends to cheerlead and help, it would be so much harder.
Indeed, I’ve found partnering with others who are mission-aligned to be a great way to increase positive impact. There are so many active people out there who care deeply about nature and animals too. I’m teaming up with others working with children and young people to address the same SDGs, finding synergy in opportunities that present themselves, such as recently becoming Project #101 on We Make Change, a global platform of 20,000 change-makers volunteering their skills to address the challenges the world faces today.
Remember that you too can inspire others to create positive change through respectful communication, understanding and listening.