Exclusive Keven Mealamu illustrated storybook launched today

Thursday 11 December 2008, 5:39AM
By Barfoot & Thompson

he artistic talents of rugby hero Keven Mealamu are teamed with the creative talents of a West Auckland primary school class in a new children’s storybook launched today as part of Barfoot & Thompson’s Magic of Reading programme.

Earlier in the year students from room 22 at Colwill School in Massey came up with the best creative concept for a children’s storybook and won the right to have their story work-shopped with children’s writer John Parker and illustrated by Keven Mealamu. The result is a colourful 32 page book titled ‘Room 22 and Jumbo, the Monster Caterpillar.’ The book goes on sale today for just $10 with all proceeds benefiting the Starship Foundation.

Barfoot & Thompson has not only fully funded the publication of the book, it is donating copies to the Starship Hospital play therapists to be used as part of the Barfoot & Thompson Magic of Reading programme. The programme provides each child who is admitted to Starship for a night or more with their own book to read and take home with them.

Barfoot & Thompson Managing Director Peter Thompson says, “We’re thrilled that more than 70 schools from across Auckland and Northland entered our inaugural storybook competition – and we’re so pleased with the result that we’re planning to make it an annual event.”

Keven Mealamu, who is Barfoot & Thompson’s Magic of Reading Ambassador and a keen graphic artist, admits to being a bit nervous about the task at first. “I’ve never illustrated a book before and had no idea what story concept the winning class would come up with – I was hoping for something that was easy to draw! The story of Jumbo the caterpillar has been great fun to illustrate.”

Selected Keven Mealamu original artworks used in the production of the book have been framed and will be auctioned on Trade Me, along with 20 signed copies of the book. All auction proceeds will also go to the Starship Foundation.

‘Room 22 and Jumbo, the Monster Caterpillar’ is available for purchase online at Buy now to ensure pre-Christmas delivery.