If you are thinking, the title sounds like a storybook, YOU ARE RIGHT..!!
While industry experts have their hands full with overcapacity, falling freight rates, maritime disasters, creating technology, adapting to technology, mergers and acquisitions etc etc etc, Kristina Bowden has been quietly introducing a new angle to creating awareness about the world of shipping..
She has done this by creating “Casey the Container” the main character in a rhyming children’s book.. Yes, a children’s book..
This book follows Casey the Container, a new shipping container, along her journey on her first day in port.. Casey meets new friends, experiences the workings of the waterfront, and learns the important role containers play in our world..
The story, as told from Casey’s perspective, provides operational insight about the movement of containerized cargo.. In sharing Casey’s journey, readers of all ages learn how containerized cargo makes its way all over the world and into local stores for purchase..
As Casey learns the operational ways of the waterfront, she experiences the importance of teamwork, helping others when they are lost, and discovers how much she loves being a part of a family that moves cargo every day..
We caught up with Kristina Bowden the creator of “Casey the Container” and the author of the book “Casey the Container And her first day in port“..
Kristina is a native of Southern California where she lives and works as President and Owner of West Coast Resource Services, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in occupational safety for marine terminals and stevedores..
SFR : A kid’s book about a container..!!
KB : Being born and brought up in Southern California, I always had the view of the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles on the horizon.. The ports and the shipping activities were a big part of me growing up..
I distinctly remember in third grade. Mrs. Jager arranged for a field trip to the Port of Long Beach.. After the trip, we came back to class and had to recreate gantry cranes from toothpaste boxes including painting them red.. Our recreation of the port was on display for parents at open house..
Containers are all around us and all over the world.. While people are aware that ports exist, they don’t always understand how goods get to the shelves of our local stores..
But I think the starting point for this book for me was when one day while driving across Terminal Island in the Port of Long Beach, my son Nolan said “Mom, let’s get a book about this”.. He was referring to the port of course.. I immediately looked it up on Amazon and other usual places where parents search for kids stuff..
But I couldn’t find a children’s book specific to the workings of the port and the waterfront.. I then started searching bookstores and asking the managers of the children’s section to search their databases..
Their responses were all the same “there isn’t a book like that”.. That’s when I knew I needed to write a children’s book to fill this knowledge gap..
I started sharing the concept with industry peers and the feedback was positive with people including long experienced foremen saying “now we have a way to show kids what we do”..
The lightbulb moment for me was when I realized that this book could provide a platform for thousands of individuals who work in ports across the world the opportunity to share with their loved ones the work they do..
SFR : You would have required support to handle this big idea
KB : Of course, I have lots and lots of support on this especially from my family.. It was my Mom who actually said, “you need to find a way to share what you do with others” when I started my waterfront career many years ago..
I am also lucky that my husband is a crane mechanic at a terminal in Long Beach which he started at the same time as me in 2005.. I’m grateful we work in the same industry as we understand what each other does.. I recently discovered that my great uncle was a longshoreman in New York many years ago..
And of course, I had the support of Marcia Verkaik who is the illustrator of this book.. Marcia has been an avid painter for thirty-five years sharing her view of creation, beauty, and life with the world..
Marcia recently began illustrating, hoping to bring smiles to children all over the world, encouraging them as they journey through life..
SFR : So what is the story about and who is this story for..??
KB : Well, this story is about Casey the Container, a teal coloured, standard 40′ shipping container who is entering her first day in port.. Casey is nervous and excited because she’s embarking on a new journey, one she’s never experienced before..
Fortunately, a few seasoned shipping containers named Frank and Molly welcome her onboard and provide a bit of “on-the-job training” and Casey experiences the workings of the waterfront, and
learns the important role containers play in our world..
The story is told from Casey’s perspective and is aimed at providing operational insight about the movement of containerized cargo..
This story is for readers of all ages to learn about how containerized cargo makes its way all around the world and into local stores for purchase..
This story also teaches the young people the operational ways of the waterfront, the importance of teamwork, helping others when they are lost, and to really understand what it feels to be part of this “family that moves cargo every day”..
Casey the Container and her first day in port is a learning experience for the whole family, really..
SFR : What are the plans with Casey..??
KB : As Casey’s experience matures, I’m looking forward to her interactions with other characters and the new destinations she will visit.. Casey’s journey will definitely continue because containers are all around us and all over the world and Casey will continue to show us the many places containers travel and the cargo they carry..
SFR : What do you want the world in general and children, in particular, to take away from Casey the Container’s adventures..??
KB : Operational knowledge.. This is the first thing that I want the readers to take away.. For me, it was very important that Casey’s journey was accurately conveyed as it traces the journey a container discharged from a vessel could take..
Readers will also share in Casey’s learning of teamwork and working together as a family.. The concept of ones “work family” is a tribute to the waterfront culture..
SFR : So where can one buy Casey the Container And her first day in port..??
KB : This book is published by Twin 20 Publishing and is available both in print and eBook format from Ingram.. It comes in Hard Cover $17.99, Paperback $8.99 and eBook $3.99..
Casey will be launched on 23rd of March at the Los Angeles Maritime Museum and people can register to attend the free Book Launch Event.. You can also preorder it if you are interested..
Readers can also visit Casey’s website or write to me for any further information..