“Remember, wisdom is attained by three methods: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the bitterest.”
A story of friendship and sorrow, The Baiji involves young Ai Bao and her best friend in the whole big wide world Shu Rui- a girl with a beautiful smile and a weak heart. During the Spring Festival, the girls venture out on a ferry ride over the Yangtze River, hoping catch a glimpse of Ai Bao’s favorite animal, an endangered species of dolphin called the baiji. Will Ai Bao see the rare dolphin or is the baiji gone forever?
A young friend of mine was disappointed that my novel, The Red String, was for young adults. She begged me to write a book for kids. I asked her, “Can I write a short story instead? Books are so long…” She complied and requested a story with a dolphin, her favorite animal. “Okay,” I said.
My knowledge of dolphins being very limited, I dove straight into research mode. As soon as I read about the extinction of the Chinese River Dolphin, the baiji, I knew where the story should begin and end. As for the heart of the story, my little friend inspired me to write a tale about a life-changing childhood friendship. (She is such a loving and loyal friend.)
I outlined a story that was cute and lighthearted, an extinct-dolphin-sighting type twist on Peter and the Wolf. The outline was solid. I began writing. The words kept coming until it was clear the outline was not to be obeyed. This was a different story altogether. A story determined to be told. It made no thematic sense to write a lighthearted tale with the deadly serious issues discovered during my research. The extinction of an entire species of dolphin at the hand of human negligence and the rising pollution of the third longest river in the world demanded more serious handling. The friendship in the story needed to reflect both the innocence and the tragedy. So, the outline was tossed.
This story took two weeks of intense research and writing. I am so excited about The Baiji that I am a bit nervous . . .
Though the baiji is beyond saving, humanity isn’t. I hope this story impresses upon kids and anyone who reads it that mankind won’t escape the damage they do to the world we live in. China’s efforts to help the baiji came too late; and therefore, it was in vain. I pray it’s not too late to reverse the damage being done to their largest water source, the Yangtze River. Hope is dwindling.
Find The Baiji ! (at Amazon on Kindle only.)
The Red String is available on Kindle and in print.
Coming soon- the next book in the Days of the Guardian Trilogy- The Red Cloak!
Sign up for the D. Marie Prokop Newsletter!