Crocodiles in South Africa Are the Heroes Of This Political Novel for Young Adults
On May 15 a Los Angeles publisher will release Credit the Crocodile, a young adult novel set in South Africa. On May 3 the 260-page hardcover book was introduced during an event at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth.
Credit the Crocodile tells the story of two idealistic American teenagers who visit South Africa in hopes of freeing Nile crocodiles from a farm so that they can return to the wild. The boys are dismayed to learn that the local residents oppose their campaign because the farm provides jobs, and farming the iconic species saved the crocodile from extinction.
After an inadvertent brush with the law, the two are arrested and sentenced to live in the bush for two weeks to experience life among predators and prey just as the “freed” crocodiles would.
To their astonishment, they are protected by Credit, the dominant male crocodile at the farm, who finds a way to communicate with them. He wants them to carry a message home that African wildlife is an African responsibility. The idea is summed up in the phrase Afri-CAN — LET IT!
According to a librarian consulted by Credit’s publisher, only about 5% of new novels in the teenage market cover political subjects. Another unusual and perhaps unique aspect of Credit the Crocodile is the book’s five-page index with references to the true events and factual information described in the story.
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Author Godfrey Harris says:
“I have long felt that fact-based novels ought to provide readers with an index of the important real events, people and conditions discussed within their pages. Until now, no publisher, to my knowledge, has ever adopted this idea.”
To research the book, Harris visited South Africa twice and toured reptile parks, crocodile farms and wildlife sanctuaries. He interviewed their operators and met with judicial and diplomatic officials to gather additional facts for the story.
Harris, a former U.S. diplomat and member of the President’s Executive Office, is a public policy consultant and head of Harris/Ragan Management Group in Los Angeles.
Credit the Crocodile
Consideration Books, an imprint of The Americas Group
Hardcover, 260 pages, 5-1/2″ x 8-1/2″
SOURCE Godfrey Harris