Media Contact: Amelia Trompf
Confused Foxy Finds Identity On Local and London Odyssey
Little Steps Publishing announces the October release of Who is Fitzy Fox? the debut picture book of Melbourne based author, and primary school teacher, Amelia Trompf.
Who is Fitzy Fox? is about a furry animal who is feeling befuddled. He always thought he was a dog, but because everyone calls him ‘Foxy,’ he is a little confused. To solve this existential crisis, Fitzy sets out on an expedition that journeys from Melbourne to London to uncover the truth of his furry identity. Who is Fitzy Fox? centres on the uniqueness of each individual and being valued for who we are. It is about having the courage to identify and solve a problem as well as being willing to go to extraordinary lengths to do so.
Set in Melbourne’s Fitzroy, local children will love the familiar streets and landmarks of this historic, inner-city suburb delightfully portrayed in the illustrations of Scottish artist Jennifer Bruce. The story charmingly captures the cosmopolitan culture of Fitzroy, as well as some familiar icons of Britain.
“I wrote my story about Fitzy Fox when I was living in Scotland over five years ago,” said Amelia Trompf. “A little homesick for Melbourne and wondering about my place in the world, I started writing about my home suburb of Fitzroy and with alliteration in mind, I created the character Fitzy Fox. I felt there was a need for a picture book to be set in Melbourne as a celebration of our wonderful city and its character. I see this book as a gift to local children and I hope Melbournians take Fitzy Fox into their hearts and that he comes to be a much loved character,” she said.
Amelia, a trained primary school and language teacher who grew up on a farm near Dunkeld in the foothills of the Grampians but has lived in Melbourne for twenty years, is passionate about education. She explains, “After years of working with children as a primary school teacher, I came to realise that one of the most powerful ways of connecting with children is through storytelling. My hope is that children who might feel a bit lost like Fitzy Fox can benefit from identifying with the story and realise the importance of sharing worries and fears.”
It was at a drawing class in Edinburgh that Amelia was introduced to artist and teacher Jennifer Bruce. Initially, Amelia asked Jennifer to tutor her in drawing so that Amelia could create some illustrations of Fitzy Fox to help develop the story. Later when Amelia returned to Melbourne and was looking for a professional illustrator, she immediately thought of Jennifer. Amelia says, “We worked together from two different sides of the world, which is quite fitting given the story is set both in Melbourne and the United Kingdom.”
Jennifer grew up in Dunblane in Scotland, and as a child loved drawing and spent hours illustrating her own stories. She had a particular passion for drawing animals. After she finished school, Jennifer went to Art College in Dundee, where she learned more about drawing and design. Jennifer’s detailed illustrations beautifully depict the story’s characters as well as the landmarks of Melbourne and London. Working in pencil and watercolour, Jennifer has used the bright colours of Melbourne’s summer in contrast with the cooler tones of London in winter.
To accompany her book, Amelia has created a range of comprehensive lessons linked to the Australian Curriculum. Amelia says, “Teachers are often flat out so I wanted to create resources that are really useful.” Recognising the increasing need for teachers to address the social and emotional needs of their students, Amelia also commissioned a trained social worker and teacher to design a Who is Fitzy Fox? Social and Emotional Learning package for teachers and counselors with topics such as belonging, coping with worries and building resilience.
Who is Fitzy Fox? is available at www.fitzyfox.com and from independent bookshops and value-added retailers for a recommended retail price of AUS $24.95 (hardcover) and $14.95 (paperback) from mid September 2016 onwards.