Mountains to learn from new children’s book

November 21, 2021 BY

Jan Juc author Stef Gemmill has released her third children’s book which shares an important environmental message with young readers.

Toy Mountain, which has themes of sustainability and caring for the things you love, was published just in time to celebrate National Recycling Week which ran from November 8 to 14.

The book is aimed at readers aged 4-8 years and tells the story of Sam who lands his dream job as a toy tester for the Tiny Hands Toy Factory.

Young Sam takes on his new role with gusto – casting away his favourite old toys – until he finds his house is filled with toys that start breaking one by one, creating a mountain of broken plastic.

Accompanied by whimsical illustrations by Katharine Hall, Stef says her latest book aims to highlight the huge amounts of plastic waste generated by consumer culture.

She says her childhood memories of having a handful of treasured hand-me-down toys helped to inspire the storyline.


Stef with her latest book, Toy Mountain.


“My favourite was my older sister’s old doll Jan. We had lots of outdoor picnics and bedtime cuddles and kisses,” she remembers.

“One day Jan lost an eye so my mother suggested we take her to the Toy Hospital where she was skillfully repaired. The picnics were on once more.

“Never did it cross my mind that we would discard treasured toys for new ones.

“On having my own children, I discovered how ‘disposable’ and short-lived 21st century toys are and wanted to capture the nostalgia associated with the quality toys of pastimes.”

Stef hopes young readers will take-away the message of how lucky we are to live in Australia where we are surrounded by beaches, bush and nature.

“But our consumerism is encroaching on our country’s uniqueness,” she says.


The brightly-coloured, whimsical illustrations are by Katherine Hall.


“I wanted to write a story that motivated children to make a change by considering how some of their choices are damaging the planet.”

Her book aims to place the power of change in children’s hands.

“Small children are deep thinkers and much smarter than we credit them for,” she says.

“On reading the book they absolutely understand the craziness of the mountain of plastic toys in the book and have great ideas to change their toy buying habits.”

Stef’s previously published books include A Home For Luna and In My Dreams.

A Home For Luna, with its underlying themes of homelessness, change and migration, won the 2020 International Rubery Book Award – children’s category.

She has more books in the pipeline with themes of friendship and caring for our environment.

“Toy Mountain is a timely read as we approach Christmas and children’s gift lists start to grow full of plastic junk toys,” Stef says.

“Signed copies of my books are available at Dymocks Waurn Ponds, Torquay Books and Great Escape Books, Aireys Inlet.”

More information can be found on the Stef Gemmill website.

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