The Scale Free Network, as Small Friends Books, has already published two wonderful books for children with gorgeous illustrations and up-to-date science. I bought my son their existing books in 2014 and he often requests them as bedtime stories.
The Squid, the Vibrio and the Moon is our favourite, and it describes Vibrio fischeri bacteria travelling up the digestive tract of a baby bobtail squid called Sepio. The bioluminescent bacteria shine from the squid’s belly when the moon is out, confusing potential predators.
Zobi and the Zoox depicts a group of zooxanthellae saving coral from destruction.
The group has moved on to a graphic novel for adults and teenagers. The Invisible War depicts the microscopic action inside human bodies, and our own symbiosis with bacteriophages (viruses which ‘eat’ bacteria). The large-scale story framing this action is the First World War and the human whose body is carrying the small-scale warriors is a nurse on the Western Front.
This ties in cleverly with Australian commemorations of ANZAC Day on 25th April. The team wants to raise $25,117 before ANZAC Day so they can create hard copy versions of the book.
The digital versions have already been trialed with children in schools in Victoria. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
“A battle on both small and large scales which explores the body as well as the living conditions in WWI.” Eddie, 13.
– “A fun informative graphic comic book, full of easy to read and understand facts about viruses and how they work.” Nelia, 16.
It is wonderful that scientists and artists are working together to create cross-curricular material. Please do support this campaign. They only have 14 days left!
If symbiotic bacteriophages have piqued your interest, you can find out more from this National Geographic article by Carl Zimmer.