On Thursday May 12, from 5 to 7 p.m., award-winning Savannah author Henry Jelinek and local illustrator Cath Olivier will be at CorkHouse to celebrate the release of their new book “Pedro, Adventures of a Cork Harvester.”
Following the the life of young Pedro, a boy from the Alentejo region in Portugal growing up on his family’s cork farm, this vibrant picture book combines science, mystery, history and culture into what Jelinek calls an exciting tale, well-suited for readers of any age.
“I like to say it’s a children’s book for adults and an adult book for children, so that all age groups will enjoy . . . the adventures of Pedro,” said Jelinek. Through Pedro’s experiences, readers will learn about the importance of cork forests to the environment as well as the quaint culture of the people in Alentejo.
“It’s a very traditional area. . . children are respected and elders are treated with dignity . . . and [they] really live by the environment. The things they raise, like the crops or the cattle and olive trees and wine. . . I wanted to show that there are still pockets of the world where this sort of warm and friendly culture still exists,” he explained.
Jelinek said he was motivated to tell this story in large part due to his own experiences as a cork harvester, having been in the business for more than fifty years.
“Pedro is based on my own experiences in the cork forests, so I use a lot of what I went through when I was learning the business and I contributed those experiences to Pedro.”
Jelinek hopes to inspire an environmental awareness and appreciation in readers through this book.
“They will learn how important the cork forests and the products that come from these cork trees are to the world and to the environment,” he explained. “[The book] tells you not only [about] the bark, but how it’s used, who uses it, and what industries it’s used for, but it’s all done in a fun way,” he added.
“To me, [environmentalism] means a lot. We have to look after and take care of the earth we all live in. . . The book shows how the people of the region live in a synchronized environment between their daily lives and the forest and the region. I’m hoping that when someone reads this, they will learn even a little bit to be friendlier to the world they live in both from an environmental standpoint but also a human standpoint, meaning between people. And I think the book conveys that,” he explained.
Pedro, Adventures of a Cork Harvester is currently available for purchase at corkhouse.com and also at the CorkHouse store, which is located at 230 W Bay St.
Jelinek says that soon it will also be available on larger retail sites like amazon.com
At the book release, guests can look forward to live readings featuring excerpts from the book, ecologically-friendly games, gifts, and tasty snacks.
Guests can also receive their own signed copy of the book. And CorkHouse will donate $5 for every book sold during the event to the Savannah Tree Foundation.
According to their website, Jelinek Cork Group (JCG) is over 150 years old. Today it is one of the oldest continually active cork companies in the world. It remains a privately owned, fifth generation family run company headquartered in Canada with subsidiary warehousing, office, and/or production facilities in various countries around the world. JCG ships cork products to over thirty different countries each year.
The CorkHouse store on Bay St. is one of three sustainable lifestyle stores in North America, and features sustainable cork products.
For more information or to order the book, visit corkhouse.com