Jan Latta

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Jan Latta is the author, wildlife photographer, designer and publisher of True to Life books on endangered animals. With 15 books to her name, she has a wealth of knowledge to share with students.

Jan Latta was born in Sydney. She worked in advertising as a creative director. In 1994 she went to Africa and came face-to-face with a mountain gorilla in Rwanda. The experience changed her life. When her guide said there were only 600 mountain gorillas left in the world, she decided to publish books for children on endangered animals.

But first, she had to become a wildlife photographer to tell the animals’ stories. She traveled to Africa eight times, living in tents and hiring local guides to keep her safe. Every day she followed prides of lions, dangerous rhinos, herds of elephants and gentle giraffes. She came close to cheetahs and played with mischievous chimps. She went to China twice to photograph and write about pandas. Then took two trips to Borneo, where she photographed orangutans in the jungle. For the tiger book, she went to India and Sri Lanka for the elusive leopard.

Taking photographs and writing about endangered animals in their natural habitat gives children a unique look into the animals’ lives.

This is a unique opportunity to meet an adventurous author who often risks her life to create books for children on endangered animals.

Jan's Books


Diary of a Wildlife Photographer
Jan Latta. Published by True to Life Books.

It was a great privilege to be asked to write this book for the ABC. It is a journal of fourteen years of my adventures taking photographs of animals in the wild. I've held the throat of a cheetah, been charged by a rhino and heart-stopping moments with wild elephants and hippos. I've also had some wonderful moments. Playing with baby pandas in China, walking with lions in Botswana and being groomed by a chimpanzee.

The new edition of Diary of a Wildlife Photographer book is a 104 page journal of adventures in the wild creating the True to Life Books. Additional chapters on walking with lions in Africa, searching for the elusive leopard in Sri Lanka, the Borneo jungle for orangutans and India for the endangered tiger. Plus 300 exciting photographs and illustrations.

Mia the Meerkat
Jan Latta. Published by True to Life Books.

For many weeks I photographed a meerkat family. The babies were adorable and so tiny they could fit into my hand. The meerkats say hello to children and show what they eat, where they live and their life together as a family. See how they dig for food with their "windscreen wiper" eyes. It was wonderful watching babies copying their mothers so they could learn how to survive in the wild.

There are facts, maps and important information at the back of the book.

More of Jan's Books:

Jan's Workshops

K – Y2 45 minutes Y3 –Y6 60 minutes

Jan starts by showing exciting videos of endangered animals in Africa, India, China and Borneo. She tells a short story about creating each book and some of her adventures. Then a power point presentation with stunning photographs of animals in the wild. A discussion follows about endangered animals. There is question time after the show.

Y7 – Y12 60 minutes

Jan talks about coming face-to-face with a mountain gorilla in Rwanda and how this changed her life. She explains how the first True to Life book was created and the 12 books that followed. Then writing the Diary of a Wildlife Photographer book, a journal of 20 years creating the True to Life book series and a lot of adventures along the way. Next the power point presentation and videos of animals in the wild and some of her heartstopping adventures. Endangered animals are discussed at question time. For older students Jan talks about writing, design, production of the books and how to take photographs in the wild.

Workshop requirements

The library or hall needs to be darkened to show the power point presentation and videos. Jan needs to use the school’s projector, computer and microphone.

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