Lowcountry authors pen children's books

A love of reading and an appreciation for books are two of the greatest things you can cultivate in your children. There are lots of Lowcountry children’s book authors who have captured the spirit, the wildlife and the people of the region in their colorful tales for kids. Through their books, you and your child can get to know delightful characters like Legare the Lizard, Charlie the Alligator and Hermy the Hermit Crab. You can discover some of the secrets of South Carolina’s past, and embrace the beauty of everyday life in the Lowcountry. Here is a list of authors who are either based in the Lowcountry or have written children’s books with a Lowcountry focus.

Sara Harrell Banks

Author Sara Harrell Banks lives in Savannah, where she focuses her writing on tales for young readers (ages 9-12). Banks won the 1997 Georgia Author of the Year award for "Under the Shadow of Wings," which was hailed by School Library Journal as “Powerful [and] compelling.”

Her newest book is “The Everlasting Now,” set in depression-era Alabama, where Brother Sayre grows up in his family’s boarding house with a number of railroad employees who serve as substitute fathers.

Banks also is the author of "Remember My Name, The Way Was Through the Woods"; the picture book "A Net to Catch Time"; and the young adult novel “Abraham’s Battle: A Novel of Gettysburg,” in which a freed ex-slave serving as a Union ambulance driver crosses paths with a wounded Confederate soldier at Gettysburg.

Constance H. Giroir:

Bluffton resident Connie Giroir wrote a children's book about the adoption of her daughter. "Mommy Did You Know" describes the process of adoption in a way that’s easily understood by children, culminating with her new daughter’s “coming home day.”

Giroir also is the author of "Benny's Time To Shine," a Christmas tale.

The book is for children ages 5 to 10 and has illustrations by J. Longo that help tell the story.

For more information e-mail: ojcrgir@hargray.com.

Mildred Glover:

Mildred Glover is an elementary school administrator at Beaufort Elementary School whose first foray into children’s book writing is “Buddy Heads For Home: A Hurricane Katrina Pet Survivor Story.”

In the book Glover takes the reader from the streets of New Orleans to a shelter in Las Vegas and finally, home to Beaufort, as she recounts the events her dog endured during Hurricane Katrina.

Contact Glover at mildredcglover@yahoo.com, or become a “fan” of Buddy Heads For Home on Facebook.

Kami Kinard:

Beaufortonian Kami Kinard is a teacher and writer of children’s poetry and fiction. Kami has worked with children from pre-K to high school seniors, winning the Teacher of the Year award before devoting herself full-time to writing. Her work has been featured in Ladybug, Baby Bug, Jack and Jill and Highlights.

Kinard’s first two children’s books, “The Adventures of Dreadlock Jones” and “The Return of Dreadlock Jones,” feature a cool kid detective who solves mysteries for mythical creatures.

Contact her at kamikinard@juno.com.

Irene Lebow

Three Sun City Hilton Head residents collaborated on the children's book, "The Ice Cream Man of Corte Dulce," which is written in both English and Spanish.

Irene G. Lebow, who has been a freelance writer since 1980, wrote the book based in part on the memories of her children racing to greet the ice cream man in a New Jersey neighborhood.

Illustrator Lorrayne R. Harris, a graduate of Traphagen School of Design, drew the illustrations, and Gabrielle Testa translated the story into Spanish.

The book is also available on CD with a Spanish translation.

Kim Likins

Kim Likins is a budding children’s book author who lives on Hilton Head Island. In addition to fulfilling a lifelong dream of publishing a book, she leads author’s workshops to help Lowcountry students learn about the fun side of writing.

Her books “Charlie’s Perfect Day” and “Charlie’s Special Friends” share stories of Charlie, his sister, Katie, and their parents — a special family of alligators who live on Hilton Head Island.

The books have spawned Charlie merchandise, a Web site with printable coloring pages, and even local appearances by Charlie himself!

Marilyn Lorenz

Hilton Head Island resident Marilyn Lorenz has been writing since she was in third grade, when her teacher encouraged her to read her stories for Show and Tell. A Creative Writing graduate of Northwestern University, she has previously published poetry, short stories, lyrics, and music.

Marilyn's first children's picture book, “Great Blue Gert,” is the tale of the great blue heron that “adopted” her and her husband for seven years. The book was published through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Arts Council of Beaufort County.

Julie McLaughlin

Julie McLaughlin grew up in the Lowcountry, spending her summers at Pawley’s Island. She is a retired elementary school teacher and a member of the Coastal Conservation League, and enjoys sharing her love for the coast and its wildlife through her children’s books.

“Mr. Gator Hits the Beach,” published in 2008, is the third in the “Mr. Gator” trilogy, all illustrated by Lowcountry artist Ann Marie McKay. The tale unfolds as Mr. Gator accepts a surprise invitation to vacation on Bull Island, but while he's traveling up the Intracoastal Waterway he meets Lilly the loggerhead sea turtle, who’s on her way to the Atlantic Ocean.

Jonathan Miller

Jonathan Miller, a native of Clover, S.C., who lives in Charleston, is both a children’s book author and illustrator with his new series titled “The Adventures of Sammy the Wonder Dachshund.” Miller uses construction paper in his uniquely designed illustrations.

Sammy is a lovable dog who is a fact checker for an internet company. in the first book of the series, “Sammy’s Last Week in Charleston,” Sammy finds out his job is relocating him and he has one week to say his goodbyes and do everything he has always wanted to do in Charleston.

On his Web site, Miller sells prints of his Charleston illustrations from the book.

Mary Alice Monroe

Mary Alice Monroe is a fiction writer whose novels have graced the NY Times and USA Today’s best seller lists. Her books are sold worldwide, and in 2008 she was awarded the South Carolina Center of the Book Award for Fiction.

Mary Alice, who lives on the South Carolina coast, is involved with several environmental groups and is on the board of the South Carolina Aquarium. Her work with these groups provided inspiration for several of her books, including “Turtle Summer: A Journal For My Daughter,” her first children’s book. “Turtle Summer” is a journal of a summer’s adventures on an island and the birth of loggerhead sea turtles. It is technically a companion book to Monroe's novel, “Swimming Lessons,” in which a young mother, Toy, writes a journal for her daughter, Little Lovie. “Turtle Summer” is the journal Toy is writing.

Using original photographs, the scrapbook journal explains the nesting cycle of sea turtles and showcases the breathtaking wildlife found along the South Carolina coast. Fun and educational for all ages!

Margot Theis Raven

Charlestonian Margot Theis Raven has more than 1,000 published articles to her name and has authored nine children's books.

“Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot,” Margot's first book with Sleeping Bear Press, was a 2003 Children's Choice award winner from the International Reading Association. “Let Them Play” was named a 2006 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People.

In 2008 she published “Happy Birthday to You!,” which relates the story behind one of the most famous and oft-sung songs in the world.

Nancy Rhyne

A North Carolina native who now lives in Murrells Inlet, Nancy Rhyne has spent most of her adult life in the South Carolina Lowcountry, writing works of historical fiction with an interest in preserving the history and folklore of the region.

Her books, including “Once Upon a Time on a Plantation” and “Voices of Carolina Slave Children,” are told in part to introduce Lowcountry children to their heritage and to entertain them with tales of kids similar in location but different in circumstance.

Her book “The Crab Boys,” suitable for ages 10 and up, is the true tale of two boys living on a coastal South Carolina barrier island, finding their own entertainment and a staple for dinner.

“The South Carolina Lizard Man,” is a tale set in 1846, when 15-year-old twins Josh and Matt explore the swamp on their South Carolina rice plantation and find a 6-foot-tall lizardlike creature that walks on its hind legs.

And “Carolina Seashells” is a must-have for any family whose trips to the beach include gathering the ocean’s treasures. It details more than 200 shells that can be found on the beachs of South and North Carolina, with illustrations and tips on where to find them.

Clay Rice

Clay Rice is a Charleston-based silhouette artist whose signature pieces are large silhouette scenes sought by collectors worldwide. His works are on permanent display at the South Carolina State Museum. Rice’s children’s book “The Lonely Shadow” is as much a work of art as it is an enchanting tale.

In “The Lonely Shadow,” Rice tells the story of a lonely shadow who is searching for a mate. The fun begins when the shadow discovers a perfect fit: a little boy lonely for a shadow.

Christi Sanford

Charlestonian Christi Sanford is the author of three “Legare the Lowcountry Lizard” books.

Each is a rhyming children's story about Legare (La-gree) the lizard who lives in Charleston. The first in the series is “Legare the Lowcountry Lizard: From His Charleston Garden to the Beach,” published in 1999. In the book, Legare finds a sand dollar in his garden and returns it to the ocean.

Other books in the series are “Legare the Lowcountry Lizard and His Sturdy New Tail” (published in 2001) and “Legare the Lowcountry Lizard: The Big Storm” (published in 2004). Each book includes real South Carolina history and information at the bottom of each page.

Kat Shehata

Kat Shehata is an award-winning children’s writer from Cincinnati, OH, who, like many Ohioans, has had a long-standing love affair with Hilton Head Island. Her 2005 book “Come Away Home” is set on Hilton Head and features local children’s singer Gregg Russell. The book tells the story of Annie, a girl who spends a very special summer with her grandfather on the South Carolina coastal town and befriends Russell along the way.

The book has been made into a movie starring Lea Thompson, Paul Dooley, Thomas Gibson and the real Gregg Russell.



Manny Toor

Mandy Toor is a frequent visitor to Hilton Head Island — with a family beach house in Palmetto Dunes. He created Bubbles and Goobz, a children's book series inspired from raising his two daughters. Bubbles is an imaginative, creative, and adorable two year old that loves to follow her big sister around. Goobz is a fancy six year old that loves to read, play, and shop for shoes!. For more information, visit www.bubblesandgoobz.com.

Andrea Weathers

Freelance writer Andrea Weathers, a native Charlestonian, lives on Folly Beach, where she pens the “Hermy the Hermit Crab” children’s book series. The series is illustrated by Charleston artist Bob Thames.

The series includes “Hermy the Hermit Crab: The Adventure Begins,” and “Hermy the Hermit Crab Goes Shopping.” In 2007 the third installment, “Hermy the Hermit Crab Goes Shrimping,” was published. In that book, Hermy gets scooped up in a local shrimp trawler’s net and manages to make new friends, see Charleston’s sights, and learn about shrimping.

The fourth book, “Hermy the Hermit Crab — Sea Turtle Rescue,” is scheduled for publication this fall. 

Marjory Wentworth

Marjory Wentworth is the Poet Laureate of South Carolina and a published author. She writes and teaches poetry and lives in Mount Pleasant.

Wentworth’s first foray into children’s book authoring is with “Shackles,” in which a group of boys search for buried treasure in their backyard on Sullivan's Island. When they unexpectedly dig up slave shackles, they learn about the dark side of South Carolina’s past.

Slavery is a heady topic for kids, but Wentworth manages to make it real and accessible without being scary.

Robyn Kruse

Robyn Kruse is a 43-year-old mother Hilton Head Islander. She wrote "Sammy the Sea Turtle," the story of a sea turtle separated at birth from the rest of his sea turtle family. Sammy feels drawn to the ocean, but he gets lost as he tries to find it all by himself.