Zoology for early readers from Ayla Herskind at Sydney Wildlife

At the heart of the city on Circular Quay, Wildlife Sydney offers every kind of Aussie animal life, from saltwater crocodiles to

Crocodile at Wildlife Sydney
Crocodile at Wildlife Sydney

rock wallabies. Behind the scenes, one staff member is working to promote zoology to young visitors through her own writing.

Ayla Herskind’s What is a marsupial? follows a small boy on a visit to the zoo, where he tries to work out what kind of animal a koala is with the help of a friendly keeper.

Ayla, Interactive Officer at Wildlife Sydney, wrote the book as a way to introduce the categories of taxonomy to young readers: ‘The whole notion of genus and type is too complicated for very young readers, but the questions and answers in the book let children understand what makes marsupials different from other animals. I’d like to do the same for other classes of Australian wildlife too.’

Ayla Herskind
Ayla Herskind at Wildlife Sydney

Originally from Denmark, where she spent her youth working on the family farm, Ayla has an extensive background in zoology and forensics which has taken her around the world, from Spain to Washington, D.C. Recently she settled in Australia and set up A Rica Production as an outlet for educational writing and fiction.

What is a marsupial? will be followed by fellow Wildlife staffer and A Rica Production illustrator Amber Gane’s Harry the Very Hairy Huntsman. Inspired by Amber’s love of Australia’s many indigenous spiders, the new book follows the adventures of a spider who wants to help the human family whose house he lives in, only to find his hosts are scared of him!

There’s more information on Ayla, Amber and A Rica Production at http://www.aricaproduction.com/.

Wildlife Sydney is closed for a make-over, with a relaunch due next month.

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