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How can you contribute to make the world a better place? That’s the question educator Joyce Iwashita asks in her new book, What the World Needs Now: A Guide for Helping Kids Make Good Choices. Simple actions and positive choices are rendered in vivid digital illustrations by Kelson Gallano, a senior at Ka‘ū High School on the island of Hawai‘i.
A retired school teacher and principal, and a graduate of Ka‘ū High herself, Iwashita found herself wondering during the pandemic, How could I help children, if I were still a school principal? “A global pandemic impacts everyone,” she notes, “but it presents especially great challenges for children and their families. Teaching students that they can make choices that will improve or enhance their lives—or someone else’s—helps bring out their best.” With that in mind, she wrote What the World Needs Now to spread the message that “Everyone can contribute to making things right in their schools, in their communities, and throughout the world.”
When it came time to bring her lessons to life with artwork, Iwashita turned to her alma mater for a recommendation to a student illustrator. “I completed the writing in 2020, and in May of 2021 I was connected with Kelson,” Iwashita recalls. “He and I started communicating via Zoom and exchanged ideas and reviewed drafts in monthly conferences with his teacher and his parents.” Adds Gallano, “It was a great learning expererience for me and brought me out of my comfort zone—I taught myself to use the Procreate app on the iPad and used Mrs. Iwashita’s storyline paired with illustrations of what we as students go through every day. I’m thankful that she trusted and believed in me.” Gallano’s cover depicts the flowers spread across the hillside of Pu‘u Makanau, where the early Hawaiian navigators of Ka‘ū observed the stars—the “twinkling eyes” in the mountain’s name. The flowers, he explains, represent all the children of Ka‘ū.
The 48-page softcover, full-color book is a custom-quote project illustrated with original artwork provided in digital format by the client.
What the World Needs Now is available via our online store and at local bookstores and online retailers.
Cover and sample pages from the interior: