'Stories have the power to heal': Publisher offers to share kids' fire stories

Families with small children being evacuated from Mallacoota earlier this week.
Families with small children being evacuated from Mallacoota earlier this week.  Photo: Justin McManus

An Australian independent publisher will share the stories of children affected by the devastating bushfires to help our little ones heal, to raise much-needed funds, and to ensure "no one forgets the most horrendous summer Australia ever had."

Sydney-based Saci Books, launched their "Bushfires through the heart of a child," project on Instagram noting that, as Australia burns, stories are being built "by the thousands" each day. 

"So many stories. So many experiences. So many triumphs and so many losses," they write.

Image:Instagram/Saci Books
Image:Instagram/Saci Books 

Maira Metelo Stewart, the mother-of-one who founded Saci Books, adds that children see everything, "through their gentle and kind eyes".

"They feel the pain of others.  They are suffering."

She believes that stories have the power to heal and transform - and to change our children's future.

"These children who are suffering today, may not have a future on this planet," she notes. "They may never be able to breathe clean air. We have the obligation to restore the planet for them. We believe we must tell their stories. This summer will never be forgotten."

The project will not only support children to process their feelings and experiences, it will raise money to rebuild libraries and houses lost in the fires.

"Their story can be very short, a paragraph, a poem. You can send a illustration done by your child, their siblings or a friend. It may also not be illustrated," Maira writes.


She also reiterates the importance of not forcing a child to speak up or write if they're not ready.

"Encourage them to speak about their feelings and experiences," she notes. "They can be showing their bravery, their fears, the loss, the grief, the joy of seeing kindness and so on. Anything is valid."


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Australian author Alice Bishop, who wrote A Constant Hum after losing her home in the 2009 Victorian fires, agrees with the need for children to add their voices to the stories coming out of the devastating fires around the country.

"Sharing my own bushfire story after our home was razed in the 2009 Victorian Bushfires helped me to recover and make semi-sense of something which felt very big and scary—even though I was twenty-two at the time," Ms Bishop says.

"With so much of the country currently facing horrific fires, children and young people—all over Australia — need the same opportunity to tell their own stories of bushfire in a safe, inclusive and supportive environment," she continues.

"We need to respectfully add more voices to the growing Australian bushfire narrative, while helping kids—a huge percentage of those displaced by bushfires—with overwhelming feelings of loss, fear and confusion."


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Send your stories through to hello@sacibooks.com

Ms Bishop is participating in the Authors for Fireys auction on Twitter along with other Australian and international writers. Find more information here