Book Launch Party a Success in Fundraising

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Author drives 1,300 miles to meet young Wildlife Warriors

To celebrate the launch of her latest book, Klassic Koalas: Ancient Aboriginal Tales In New Retellings from Koala Jo Publishing, author Lee Barwood went on the road. She drove all the way from New Jersey to Reynoldsburg, Ohio, to attend an awards dinner and book launch party hosted by Donna Boiman, director of the Central Ohio Art Academy.

If driving to Ohio for a party seems a little odd for a writer from New Jersey, it should be mentioned that the book in question was partially illustrated by the young students of the Academy, because of their respect for the late "Wildlife Warrior" Steve Irwin and their desire to do something in his memory. And if it seems even odder to drive all that way, it should also be noted that author Barwood drives a Prius. She calculated that it would be kinder to the environment to drive in a hybrid car that gets fifty-plus miles to the gallon than to fly - particularly since flying uses as much fossil fuel per passenger as each passenger would use in driving alone to her destination.

Klassic Koalas: Ancient Aboriginal Tales In New Retellings is a very special book. Written by an author with a lifelong love of koalas, illustrated by children who are fans of the late Wildlife Warrior Steve Irwin and a professional graphic artist who also loves koalas, and published by a house founded to raise awareness of the plight of the koala and other Australian animals, it raises funds with each purchase to help finance the mission of the Australian Wildlife Hospital. The Hospital was founded in memory of Irwin's mother Lyn, who was herself a wildlife rescuer, and it is a major project of Wildlife Warriors Worldwide. The book was done completely through Internet contact: the author is, as mentioned, in New Jersey; the young illustrators are in Ohio; and the artist and publisher are in California, and none met in person until Barwood's trip to Ohio. Such a special book deserved a special launch, and that was what it got in Reynoldsburg, Ohio - where the young students who participated in the illustration project received awards for their work, and the book and its artwork were introduced to the public at a signing/sale that began the book's fundraising effort for the Australian Wildlife Hospital.

Barwood covered over 1,300 miles altogether on her trip. First she went to Reynoldsburg to get the word out, and while there, she visited the Columbus Zoo and its koalas - three of them, one a new joey who had only left his mother's pouch three weeks before. The next stop on the tour was the Cleveland Zoo, where she visited the koalas there and let zoo staffers know about the book and its mission. Then it was home at last, to finish plans for a book tour that will last for months and include stops throughout Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey, as well as other sites to be determined.

Titles by Koala Jo Publishing:

Klassic Koalas: Ancient Aboriginal Tales in New Retellings | Klassic Koalas: Vegetarian Delights Too Cute to Eat Klassic Koalas: Mr. Douglas' Koalas and the Stars of Qantas | Klassic Koalas: Vintage Postcards and Timeless Quotes of Wisdom | Koalas: Zen in Fur | Koalas: Moving Portraits of Serenity. Koala Jo Publishing, San Mateo, CA; Distributed to the trade by Brodart, Blackwells, and The Book House, Inc. Or, visit


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Marlene Satter
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