I read a lot of books about the ocean as a kid, and I do mean A LOT. Before I could read, I would have my parents read to me. From kids books to college textbooks, if it had a fish on it, I had my parents read it to me. I think this reading was one of the strongest influences on my life as it is now, working with fish and other animals professionally at a world-renowned nature museum.
I also have a powerful connection with music. While I focus on the tinwhistle nowadays, I spent quite a bit of my childhood playing the violin. This would have nothing to do with the point I am coming to, were it not that my violin teacher, a good family friend of ours, was also a great storyteller. Stacy Nyikos used to entertain us with tales of the mischief our dogs got up to when we weren’t home, creating a “doggy underworld” in which pooches smoked cigars and played cards, only to dash home right before I returned.
Now, many years later, she is writing children’s books, especially about ocean critters. After writing “Squirt” about a squid, “Shelby,” featuring a young lemon shark, “Dizzy”, the story of a dolphin, and “Rope’em”, an oceanic western about an octopus, Stacy is coming out with yet another great children’s book.
“Toby” is the story of a baby sea turtles first journey. Set to be released in July 2014, it tells of a little turtle, the last of his clutch to hatch, making his way from the nest to the ocean. This is easily the most difficult time for a newborn turtle. Being adapted to life in the water, even adult sea turtles have difficulty walking on land. They have to scoot around on their flippers. A baby turtle faces not only a long journey across a hot beach, but also waves of predators looking for an easy meal. On some beaches, predators know exactly when the turtles will hatch, and show up in droves to partake in the feast.
Stacy (and the illustrator, Shawn Sisneros) paint a picture for kids of the problems a sea turtle must overcome before it ever makes it into the water. It is books like this that first gave me an appreciation for the ocean, and I wholeheartedly recommend “Toby” for any parents or babysitters who want to instill this in their own kids.
~The Homesteading Hippy