John Erasmus is co-creator of Amazonas Comics, a quarterly publication free for UK and Amazon schools.
was originally intended for Amazon school children. The concept was inspired by a trip to a reserve in the Amazon in 2011 with friend (and now co-creator) film director Yousaf Ali Khan.
The village primary school there was a single hut on stilts with one young teacher and barely ten pupils. Nonetheless it seemed to be achieving a level not far behind that of the school attended by my own young children in London. Yousaf and I talked about the importance of these rainforest children and others like them in the unwritten story of our planet's future and wondered if we might provide some (if nothing else) moral support…
The comic is born
We thought an entertaining, informative comic full of stories celebrating life in the rainforest would be a worthwhile contribution. After all, without the distraction of the digital world, a comic in the Amazon could have the impact comics had on us when we were growing up.
My own career has included comic book work and Yousaf is a passionate storyteller, so Amazonas Comics
became the perfect collaboration.
The life of the comic so far
Now we have the first four issues completed, including several stories provided by Amazon children themselves, 10,000 comics in print and another 5,000 due in early 2016. The UK charity Rainforest Concern
has distributed comics in Portuguese to a Brazilian Amazon rainforest community for us and this has led to new plans to distribute the comic to schools in Costa Rica.
Here in the UK, I visited my daughter's Year 2 class to talk about the project and handed out comics. The children were very happy, the teacher was delighted and even the school's headteacher became an enthusiast. She is now distributing our current English language print run to 100 schools through the headteachers' internal mailing system.
What Amazonas Comics does
Amazonas Comics complements the National Curriculum in:
– for reading fluently or using discussion to develop learning (KS1)
– for identifying common animals (KS1) or learning about habitats (KS2)
Art and Design
– prompting children to do their own creative work
– lots here, e.g. developing knowledge of a non-European country, developing curiosity about the world
We also have fact-filled trading cards available featuring 36 Amazon animals.
Children who visit our website www.amazonascomics.com
can join the Rainforest Rangers Club for free to access Issue 1 online and various games. They can also donate up to £5 (with the added incentive of badges, trading cards and T shirt transfers in return) to the Amazon print fund which pays for comics for Amazon children.
Our hope is to establish a cultural exchange between UK and Amazon schoolchildren, demonstrating just how interconnected we all are.
Further hard copies of Issue 1 will be available from January 2016. Read it online here:
For more information and orders please contact firstname.lastname@example.org