For people living in the Illawarra, it's hard to imagine never having seen the sea.
But this was the inspiration for the latest children's book by Stanwell Park author Sue Whiting. Launched at Austinmer Public School yesterday, A Swim in the Sea tells the story of Bruno, a young boy who is taking his first journey to the beach.
Mrs Whiting, who has both children's and young adult books to her name, ran workshops with the students, focusing on the process of writing in general for the older pupils and discussing the book at hand and having a beach-themed party with the younger ones. The book is aimed at preschoolers and students up to about year 2.
"It's been interesting posing that to the kids, imagine if you had never seen the sea, because they have grown up with it in their front yards," she said.
A Swim in the Sea started out as a poem, inspired by Mrs Whiting's first swim of the season nearly a decade ago.
"It was a late spring, summery day when I decided to go for a swim in the sea and I was filled with that childlike excitement," she said.
"When I came back home, I wrote a poem and the story morphed from that."
The launch was the first time the book had been shared with children, and the school's library will be the first to have a copy of it.
Though she has made a career from writing for children, Mrs Whiting still finds challenges in her work.
"I think the hardest thing about writing for children is thinking like a child, rather than sounding like an adult pretending to be a child.
"You have to have that child's point of view," she said.