Monika Mira – Author Interview

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

The Complete Hawaiian Reef Fish Coloring Book is an award winning eco friendly coloring textbook that helps students, snorkelers and Hawaii visitors how to identify over 80 species of reef fish. This book includes over 200 colorable illustrations that will not only help the reader learn how to identify each fish, but also teach them about their anatomical features, coloration, body designs, feeding habits and reproductive strategies. Each illustration is accompanied by a complete description of the fish including the common, scientific, and Hawaiian names. In addition, an overview of coral reef ecology has been provided to help the reader understand the relationship between the fishes and the coral reef and the importance of conservation.

What is a coloring textbook?

A coloring textbook has all the elements of a textbook (biology, anatomy, ecology, etc.), with an added component of coloring. The coloring can provide two things. 1.) A no pressure way to learn while coloring and even getting creative with color. 2.) If the coloring process is used in the classroom alongside a traditional lecture, it can also provide a multi-sensory teaching tool. Multi-sensory tools help triple the number of connections made in the brain, enhance memory and make learning more efficient. (also using color in your notes can provide a memory aid). I am big on multi-sensory learning…as I am also a baby sing language teacher. However, younger, non-reading students can still get pleasure by just coloring in the pictures.

Tell us something about yourself.

I am an avid conservationist, long-time Hawaii resident and I hold a BA in Marine Science from the University of Hawaii at Hilo. I am also a former teacher and a Mommy. Art has always been my first love however, so this project was a great opportunity to combine my talents.

What inspired you to write this book?

I used to love to color in The Anatomy Coloring Book when I was a child. It was kind of a no pressure way to learn new things. When I worked as a volunteer at Hanauma Bay helping visitors to identify reef fish, I found that it was easier for me to learn to identify the fish if I drew or painted them. Those two components became the inspiration for this book…

AND…conservation has always been important to me, but I know that conservation starts with education at a young age. Now, with recent news of the possibility of coral reef extinction in the next 20 years, it is even more important to me to help get the word out.

Did you learn anything from writing this book? What?

That’s the best part of the process! I learned sooo much! I learned about design and fonts, I had to learn four different software programs. I learned about many of the fish that I highlighted as I didn’t know them all. I learned about marketing and all kinds of online selling and networking. I learned how to get involved with my community and host reef walks and educational talks. It has definitely been a journey and a learning process and I have enjoyed it!

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

Oh yes. I am working on several projects in fact. Many of Hawaii’s insects are endangered, and I would love to bring attention to them and bring them to life with crayons in another coloring book. I also teach baby sign language and am working on a project to help children will all facets of learning through using multi-sensory tools such as sign language.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

Write about your passion. Just get it done. You never know if a rejection letter may even be the inspiration to keep going. If you have an interest in a topic, guaranteed there is someone out there with a similar interest. Listen to what others have to say about your work and work similar to yours, and see if there is anything you can learn from it. Build relationships. Keep your dream alive! AND never give up! Even if you never get your book PUBLISHED, you followed through and created something unique and you should be proud.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

Check out my website and the about us page at www.lucid-hawaii.com. There you will find info about our educational philosophy as well as our environmental philosophy and more info about the author and the book.