A new children’s picture book about a very special STOP/GO road worker sets the stage for important road safety conversations in schools during the upcoming Road Safety Week.
Beca proudly supports Brake, the road safety charity, with Road Safety Week May 9-15 as co-lead sponsor alongside Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency. This year’s theme, Road Safety Heroes, celebrates those working to make our roads safer, including road engineers, road safety professionals, emergency services and activists.
It fits perfectly with the latest children’s book by award-winning New Zealand author Jennifer Beck, entitled “My mother is the queen of the road” or “Ko tōku Māmā te Kuini o te Rori” in the Te Reo Māori version .
Told from the perspective of a young boy, Ari, building a road in the sandbox with his friend, Isabella, the story highlights Ari’s mother’s work as a road management agent. traffic and his role in ensuring the safety of his whānau, his colleagues and his community.
Published by Huia Publishers and beautifully illustrated by Lisa Allen, it aligns with the Road Safety Week message that everyone has a role to play when it comes to making our roads safer.
Andrea Rickard, managing director of Beca – Transport and Infrastructure, said Beca purchased 600 copies of the book and donated four-book packs, two in English and two in Te Reo, to 150 primary schools across the country before the Road Safety Week.
“Then during Road Safety Week, a number of schools will host a Storytime with a Difference session when people working in road safety in Beca and one of our friends Brake, Waka Kotahi or entrepreneur will visit the school to read the book to the students,” says Andrea.
“We’ll be talking to tamariki about why road safety matters to all of us and what being a ‘road safety hero’ means to them. We’re excited for this opportunity to share My Mom is Queen of the Road and bring our own professional road safety knowledge directly to the road safety heroes of tomorrow.
Kane Patena, Director of Land Transport at Waka Kotahi, explains that Road Safety Week aims to raise awareness about road safety and how everyone plays a part in keeping people safe on the roads, a key part of Road to Zero, Aotearoa’s road safety strategy.
“Road workers are moms, dads, brothers, sisters and friends and we want each of them to go home safely to their whānau at the end of each shift,” says- he.
“We can’t wait to get into schools to read this story and spotlight a very special mum who works on the road to keep her co-workers and all road users safe. It will encourage conversations about road safety in homes as well as in classrooms, and will support our Road to Zero message that “everyone must not happen to anyone”.
Caroline Perry, New Zealand Director of Brake, welcomes the initiative which sees many book packs distributed to schools that have signed up for Road Safety Week activities through the organisation’s website.
“All children and young people use the roads, so it’s important to learn about road safety, and the subject of this book is a great way to engage children, while fitting in perfectly with the theme of Road Safety Week this year,” she said.
“My Mom Is Queen of the Road is not only a great resource to supplement the information we already provide, it’s a great story that kids will enjoy reading for years to come.”
Author Jennifer Beck, who will visit an Auckland school with illustrator Lisa Allen during Road Safety Week, says the idea for the story came one day when she was surprised to see that the person holding a STOP/GO sign was a woman.
“I thought it was not an easy task, especially on cold and rainy days, and when some motorists might get grumpy waiting. All jobs are important and it helps keep workers safe,” says Jennifer.
“It’s not easy being a working mum, and I wondered if her children appreciated the work she was doing. And so Ari in the story tells her friend Isabella that her mom is like a queen. Her friend learns that to be special, a mom doesn’t have to wear a crown or sparkly jewelry. His throne may be an orange, upturned road cone.