New Children’s Book

by Shani Graham

Hiya Permies – Shani here from Ecoburbia. For those of you who don’t know us we are part alternative urban infill development and community (8 people live here under the footprint of the original house), part urban farm (think chickens, goats and a big veggie patch), part sustainable housing retrofit (think original old 1970s brick Italianate 3 by 1), part sustainable education business (we run workshops and courses everywhere!) and part passionate developers of geographic community (proud members of the West Beacy Bunch).

Anyway, Kambarang is the season of birth, and Tim and I have some exciting news (nope we are not getting married and the only kids around here are of the goat variety …)

But we have just “birthed” a kid’s book. It was a covid project that took a while – I wrote the story in about a day, Tim took six months to draw the black and white pictures and it took us 2 years to learn the computer program to colour them in. It was a long journey even once we had completed the book – trying (unsuccessfully) to find a publisher (do you know how many people write children’s books?), financing the self-publishing process and now trying to let everyone know about it.

This is the first book we have ever done. It was an exciting thing to do together, and we are pretty stoked now it is published. As an ex-teacher I have been especially honoured with the positive feedback I have received from early childhood teachers, who really know their stuff when it comes to kid’s books.

If you are interested, here’s the blurb …

Start with a cute urban goat called Lady Marmalade. Short in stature but big on personality. Cheerful cheeky, and curious she is the perfect character for a book.

Take Shani Graham – an ex school principal, and twice TEDxPerth speaker. Community activator and gardener, she is the perfect person to write a book about Lady Marmalade.

Then add Tim Darby – sand sculptor, musician and artist. He is the best person to bring Lady Marmalade to life with his illustrations.

Together they have created Lady Marmalade – Growing Food and Finding Friends.

Lady Marmalade is a goat who lives happily in the country. But what happens when she moves to the city?

Finding herself lonely and hungry she goes for a walk and discovers a diverse range of neighbours all growing yummy food for her to eat. With the help of Mrs Barretts (growing carrots) and Patty Prettice (growing lettuce) and a host of others, she ends up with a full belly and lots of friends to invite to a party.

That’s what you hear about in the first reading.

But Lady Marmalade is more than that – Lady Marmalade is a story about urban food production, how to make friends, what it means to be lonely, healthy food choices, the diversity of our neighbourhoods … and lots of goat poo.

I love Lady Marmalade from the moment I saw her. There’s so much to learn when we look at life through her goggles. With good food and friends you have the world in your neighbourhood. Costa Georgiadis, Gardening Australia Host

Whimsical imagination and artistry inspired by experience nurturing food, chooks, goats, kids and community in suburban Australia. David Holmgren  co-originator of Permaculture

A complete delight – Lady Marmalade will charm you and also teach you how to make friends in the big city! Hannah Moloney Gardening Australia presenter

If you want to order a copy, just head to our website –

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