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Bonza 'pyjama party' idea sprouts as airline prepares for first NT flight

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Passengers aboard Bonza’s first flight between the Sunshine Coast and Darwin will be treated to a ‘pyjama party in the sky’ – complete with a bedtime story before their 11.15pm arrival.

And Bonza CEO Tim Jordan won’t be the only star of the show when the 7.25pm scheduled flight leaves Sunshine Coast Airport.

The first commercial airline connection between the two cities also will welcome 10-year-old Beerwah schoolboy Lincoln Rawlins, who will put his dulcet tones to use on passengers with his own published storybook, Sprout’s Idea.

Lincoln became one of Australia’s youngest published authors at age eight when Sprout’s Idea was officially released in August 2022.

Sprout’s Idea follows the story of a young seedling who inspires much older forest trees to work together to overcome a veil of negativity that plagues their home because of Shade Man, the story’s villain.

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Lincoln at a book signing at Berkelouw Books, Eumundi. Picture: Facebook

The book gained national attention with celebrated Australian writer Andy Griffiths – author of the much-loved children’s Treehouse book series – endorsing it.

“I love a good villain and there is no one as villainous as Shade Man,” Griffiths said in his review of the book.

The thought of reading to a planeload of adults in a 186-seat, 737 MAX 8 jet isn’t daunting for the Glasshouse Christian College Year 4 student.

He’s an old hand at it, having addressed large groups at book signings and events such as the Sunshine Coast Secret Oasis Festival at Doonan.

“To be honest, I don’t think it will be that different, really,” he told Sunshine Coast News.

“I have spoken to 300 people in one go and while they weren’t mostly adults, I think Sprout’s Idea is an all-rounder. By that, I mean that he is for all ages and adults will most likely like it.

“I can’t wait to read the book to everyone and seeing who is going to wear their pyjamas on the plane.

“I am so excited to read the story through the plane’s speaker system. I’ve flown lots of times and wondered what it would be like to stand up there and now I get to.

Lincoln with Sunrise weather presenter Sam ‘Mac’ McMillan at Maleny. Picture: Facebook

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“I’ll try to use lots of expression when I read the book to make the story engaging. The people will get excited about it and stay awake because they will love reading along with me.

“When they go to sleep, they will be thinking about Sprout and how they can be kind. It’s a good way to dream.”

Lincoln said he was “super excited” to be travelling to Darwin on the late-night flight with mum Roxanne, dad Chris and sister Lilly, spending three full days in the Northern Territory capital.

“In Darwin, I am definitely looking forward to lots of swims because it is going to be really hot,” he said.

“I love checking out the hotel rooms and exploring the unchartered territory in a new city. I have never been to Darwin before, so I am looking forward to seeing what is up there.”

Young author Lincoln Rawlins with his mum, fellow author Roxanne McCarty-O’Kane.

Writing certainly is in the genes, as his mum is a former journalist who launched her Roxanne McCarty-O’Kane writing, ghostwriting and mentoring business in 2018, and has since written dozens of books for people from all walks of life, helping to shape their words into inspiring prose.

She won the Sunshine Coast Business Awards Creative Industries category earlier this month and her own non-fiction book, The Mindful Author – the first in her Ignite and Write trilogy, designed to step aspiring authors through the writing and publishing process – took out an international Reader Views Award for Best Writing/Publishing book earlier this year.

Lincoln showed a penchant for writing at an early age.

“I wrote lots of stories when I was younger about battles between aliens and monsters that were fun,” he said.

“When I was in kindy, I wrote a story about a grey, gloomy man and an orange man that ended up being the very first version of Sprout and Shade Man … but I didn’t even realise that until after Sprout’s Idea was published and my sister found the little booklet that I had made.

“I had done the illustrations and the teachers had written out the story I had narrated to them that went with it.

“I have another idea for a new adventure for Sprout, but I can’t share what it is just yet.

“All I can say is that it’s a super adventure. I have the story already in my mind and over the Christmas holidays I will work on how to make it into a book.

“I will also be going to more schools next year to read Sprout’s Idea. I don’t know what it is about it, but I just love doing that.

“It makes me so happy and I like to see other kids enjoying the story I wrote. It’s so fun.”

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