“Picture the scene: high limestone cliffs on the right, reaching up into the azure sky and more limestone cliffs plunging down to the jade blue Mediterranean on the left. I’ve just driven through Episkopi and I’m enjoying the view when suddenly, something catches my eye. A huge bird launches itself from the cliff-top onto the thermals. Wow! Breath-taking! I’ve never seen a bird with such an impressive wingspan, ever before. So, I have to find out what this amazing creature is. It’s a Griffon Vulture”.
For British author Judith Brulo it was only a matter of time before a love affair with vultures began. Living not too far from Episkopi Cliffs in Cyprus back in the early 90s, Judith was lucky enough to often see Griffon Vultures swirling in the thermals. Fascinated by these resplendent creatures during her years in Cyprus, Judith began writing adventure stories for her son, combining the rich history of the island with the magnificence of Griffon Vultures. Fast forward to today, and she wrote three children books with a Griffon Vulture as the protagonist.
Vulture Island Trilogy
As a result, Judith has published two children’s books titled ‘Revenge of the Servants of the Gods’ and the award-winning ‘The Mystery of the Never-ending Universe’ with one more currently in the editing stage coming to complete the trilogy: Swords in the Sky – The Ultimate Sacrifice. Merging history with mythology, reality with fantasy, Judith has crafted engaging stories that follow the adventures of Luke, a 10-year-old boy and his friend Griff, the super-normal Griffon Vulture, on the Mediterranean island of Ýpas Nisí, or Vulture Island. Together, the two friends venture into thrilling adventures, where friendship and bravery prevail over shortcomings and dangers. The latest book, which will be made available in the coming months, was inspired by the recent European Vulture Conference organized by the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF) last October and deals with the need for balancing green energy with the environment, or as in this case, the effects that a badly-placed wind farm could have on big birds of prey, such as vultures.
Engaging children with vultures
These Vulture Island adventure stories highlight the threats facing Griffon Vultures and serve to dispel any misconceptions and the bad image long associated with the species. What’s more, they highlight the importance of vultures and their role in the ecosystem and their urgent need for their protection.
Purchase the books
All three books, including the upcoming Swords in the Sky (publishing date pending due to COVID-19) can be ordered from Judith’s Etsy shop. The books, suitable for children aged 8-12 years old, are currently only available in the English language but there are plans for translation into other languages in the near future, including Greek.
About the author
Judy Brulo is a British author and teacher who uses music, interactive games and storytelling to engage children with the excitement of reading. For eight to twelve-year-old children, her stories are all about vultures! These Vulture Island adventure stories help to change the negative mistaken beliefs about vultures and encourage children to think about wildlife.
The author decided to dedicate her third book of the trilogy to the Vulture Conservation Foundation and BirdLife Cyprus. A big thank you to Judy, for dedicating the book to us and for her continued efforts to educate children and families about vulture conservation and the importance of the species!
This International Children's Book Day 2020, consider engaging your children with vulture or wildlife stories, and help shape a next generation that cares about our nature!