Every federal MP will receive a copy of the new children's book Our Bush Capital to show politicians there is more to the national capital than "the Canberra bubble".
Author Samantha Tidy and illustrator Juliette Dudley are thrilled the hardback children's book has become a reality after launching a crowdfunding campaign in March last year.
Ms Tidy said the crowdfunding raised $9000 and a further $6000 was given in sponsorship. The book hits local shops from Monday.
"It was a really big task and I knew it would be a big task when I was dreaming of it," she said.
"But when you're on to a big idea, it gets hold of you and you have to follow it through."
The beautifully-illustrated book documents a child's view of Canberra as a little girl goes exploring her community. And it's all there - from the playground at the arboretum to the coins at the Mint ; from Cockington Green to the merry-go-round in Civic; the multicultural festival to dinosaur museum.
The book celebrates Canberra, away from the politics. Among its sponsors were the National Capital Attractions Association and National Capital Education Tourism Project whose funding is being used to get the book to all federal politicians in the first sitting week of 2020, to help them better understand the city.
"We wanted politicians to be reminded of the fact Canberra is a community of people that have a whole life outside of politics," Ms Tidy said.
"There are 400,000 people who don't live in the Canberra Bubble and don't like talking about the Canberra Bubble."
Our Bush Capital will start being sold by local retailers from Monday and many events will be held in the coming weeks at various locations. The first is a book signing and storytime reading at The Markets Wanniassa on Saturday, January 11 from 10.30am.
Ms Tidy said there had already been a positive response to the book.
"I showed one person the book and asked if she would stock it and she went, 'Hell, yeah!'," Ms Tidy said, with a laugh.
"I thought, 'That's the response I want'. The response from retailers has been passionate. They're grateful, in a way, that here is something that meets the needs of Canberra's families."
The book's illustrations are whimsical and immediately recognisable as favourite haunts of families with their children. Illustrator Juliette Dudley said having her own child, late last year, just made working on the book even more special.
"I read it to him the other day and it was the first time I'd read it from a parent's perspective," she said.
"That kind of rounded out it out for me. I had the experience of illustrating the book and then sharing it with my son."
She wanted the book to be "colourful and light and bright".
"The stereotype of Canberra is that it's boring so I wanted instead for kids to relate to it as their home and a fun place to be," she said.
Ms Tidy said she hoped the book would become a keepsake for both children and tourists to Canberra.
"I want Canberrans to read it and perhaps if they open on the page of Cockington Green, they might say, 'Oh, we haven't been to Cockington Green for years, let's go this weekend," she said.
"I also want people to see and value our local institutions and to see them as well-spent family time."
Ultimately, the book was a beautiful wander through the national capital, whether it's spotting snow on the Brindabellas or watching the hot air balloons take off from the Parliamentary Triangle.
"These are the moments that cultivate childhood memories," Ms Tidy said. "I strongly believe that our sense of self is born out of our sense of place."
Events for Our Bush Capital:
- Saturday, January 11, 10.30am: Storytime and book signing, The Markets Wanniassa
- Tuesday, January 14: 10.30am-12.30pm. School holiday workshop, Civic Library (bookings essential)
- Saturday, January 18 10am: Storytime and book signing at Little Sprout, Phillip
- Saturday, February 8 10am: Southside Launch, Harry Hartog Woden
- Saturday, February 15 10am: Northside Launch, Bookface Gungahlin
- Saturday, February 29 10am: Belconnen Launch, Scullin Traders (with Tara Cheyne MLA)
- Wednesday, March 4 10.30am: Storytime at Woden Library (for Canberra Day)
- Thursday, March 5 10.30am: Storytime at Gungahlin Library (for Canberra Day)
- Friday, March 6 10.30am: Storytime at Civic Library (for Canberra Day)
- Saturday, March 7 10.30am: Storytime at Erindale Library (for Canberra Day)