HONOLULU - The color blue often equates to the ocean. Different shades of this simple color can stimulate thoughts of different times of the day.

Aqua blue appears as the morning sun reflects off the water; then pale blue emerges as the sun slips beyond the horizon, while midnight blue settles within the depth of the underwater world.

For 10-year-old family member Jessica Hibler, however, blue is more than her favorite color. This color ignites a compassion within her to express her devotion to keeping the oceans clean.

"It is a home to many underwater creatures, and people should not throw trash in there," said Hibler.

She kept the colors of the underwater world in mind when creating her recent submittal to the Aozora Environmental Picture Book Competition.

Aozora, Japanese for "blue skies," invited children from around the world to tell a story about the Earth's natural treasures in both words and pictures, through its fourth international picture book competition.

Hibler's art was selected out of nearly 500 entries from several different countries. The four-page mini book will be published and 100,000 copies distributed, mostly in Japan.

In her book, entitled "What Colour is This'" Hibler uses illustrations along with rhythmic word patterns to convey the message of caring for Mother Earth and her concerns about the environment and its living creatures.

The first page focuses on the color green. Across this page, animals of the forest hop along, and plants and trees grow from the crayon-colored page.

Simple words, written in both Japanese and English, grace the right side of the book, explaining the importance of green and what it represents.

The following page shows different shades of brown, reflecting the color of the ground, displaying animals that live beneath the earth.

Turning the page leads to an underwater world filled with dolphins, reef, coral, turtles and numerous fish, all within various shades of blue.

On the final page, an explosion of color takes place, with numerous flowers filling every inch of the space.

"Hopefully, other kids will see this book, and when they grow up, they will help save the world too," said Hibler. "(We want to) keep the world clean and happy."

Hibler is versed in both American and Japanese cultures and attends Rainbow Japanese School at Kaimuki Middle School.

"It's important to us to teach her both sides of her heritage," said her father, Robin Hibler, energy conservation manager, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, Directorate of Public Works, Sustainability, of himself and wife Naoko. "She's talented in art and created a great learning tool for other children."

Hibler's older brother, Jarrell, 11, received third place in the competition, marking the first time siblings placed in the contest.

"We are proud of them both," said Robin.

All Nippon Airways sponsored the competition.

Page last updated Mon April 6th, 2009 at 17:30