Written by Kristin Baird Rattini
Two Bayou State natives pay tribute to their irrepressible state with a series of children’s books.
Dee Scallan swears she didn’t have a crystal ball. But just two weeks after the Louisiana teacher published her children’s book Moby Pincher’s Hurricane Adventure in August 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated her home state much like the storm in her book. Scallan has helped in the healing that has happened since then. Her six Moby Pincher books celebrate Louisiana’s resilience, its proud culture and history, as well as its unique flora and fauna — starting with the main character, Moby, “the largest, most kindhearted crawfish in all the South.” “My life is in Louisiana; I love this state,” Scallan says. “I want the children in my state, and all over the world, to learn about the treasures we have here in Louisiana.” Illustrator Daniel Myers — who was 8 years old when he first sketched Moby to life — takes readers on vibrant treks across the state, from New Orleans’ famous Jackson Square to northern Louisiana’s Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge. A seventh Moby book, due out in January, will visit the coastal wetlands and address children’s questions — as well as their fears — about the Gulf oil spill. Scallan herself takes Moby on the road, in song-and-story presentations at schools in the state’s poorest parishes. During those visits, she works with classes to write, illustrate and produce their own storybooks. One hardcover version goes in the school library, a paperback edition goes to each student, and a free online version is posted at www.moby pincher.com. So far, her “We Want to Be Authors” program has created 40 books — and a lot of enthusiastic new authors who, like Scallan, are eager to tell even more stories about the state they love.
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