In Suzanne Hill’s latest children’s book, Larry the Lobster and his friends are introduced to pollution and learn how it affects the environment.
“Larry the Lobster’s Luckiest Day: The Coral Reef Conundrum” is the second book in Hill’s Larry the Lobster series, and with this release, a coloring book is available under the same title.
The book was released Nov. 10, 2020, and published by Pen It! Publications LLC. The first book in the series, “Larry the Lobster’s Lucky Day,” is a St. Patrick’s Day-themed story.
“Since there was such a positive response to the first book, the publisher has also released a coloring book of that same title to commemorate the second book’s release. The four items would make a nice gift set and would be great for Earth Day,” Hill said.
Larry the lobster and his friends live in the ocean. In the first book of the series, Larry comes off as self-centered and “shellfish,” only caring about himself.
“As the story line progresses, Larry evolves, realizing the things he actually deems as important to him were not what he originally suspected,” Hill said. “He grows as a character, and that mindset was carried along to ‘The Coral Reef Conundrum.'”
In the second book, Larry and his friend, Olly the octopus, are on their way to the grand opening of the H2O Tidal Wave Amusement Park for a day of fun.
The friends have fun on a slippery, slick water slide over and over, but afterwards, Larry notices something odd about Olly’s appearance.
“She was covered with a slimy, black goo. Everyone who slid down the water slide was covered in the slimy, black goo, so Police Chief O’Conner the Crab investigates,” Hill said. “Larry and his friends, along with the readers, are introduced to the word pollution and how it affects Larry and his friends’ environment.”
Hill said the storyline was not a far stretch to create.
“My husband and I, along with our friends and our daughter, along with her friends, have spent the better part of the last 30 years boating, canoeing and kayaking the lakes and rivers in the area,” she said.
Over time, the pollution, trash and debris have accumulated at a great rate and have not gone unnoticed. Then last year, Hill and her husband, Tim, watched a documentary on the massive trash flows accumulating in the ocean.
“We thought, ‘Why not introduce young children to this problem and make them aware of the situation and how it can affect sea creatures?'” she said. “Let’s use characters in a story that they can form an emotional attachment to, and hopefully, they would want to help or ask how they could help to keep the oceans clean.”
The book could resonate with kids, and when they become an adult, they may choose to be a marine biologist or an environmental activist, Hill said.
She and her husband live in Seymour and are collaborating on the third story for the series. The manuscript is completed but not yet submitted to the publisher.
“My husband and I have collaborated before, and he is listed as co-author on my first release, ‘Lewis the Toothless Vampire,’ an anti-bullying book,” she said. “He is exceptionally creative and has penned the third story. I will be listed as co-author.”
Hill said her husband’s imagination knows no bounds.
“Collaborating together comes very natural for us,” she said. “My husband and I will celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary in 2021. We have always been a team in every aspect of our married life together. Writing is just another example of that teamwork.”
She said they both enjoy writing as a creative outlet.
“Writing centers a person and makes you focus on the task at hand, which was therapeutic for both of us in 2020,” Hill said. “He writes poetry daily and has for years. Occasionally, he writes song lyrics, too. I was productive through 2020, as well.”
Hill said she stepped outside of her comfort zone and wrote her first novella just to see if she could.
“It was a huge accomplishment on a personal level,” she said. “I also completed eight other children’s stories. I haven’t decided to submit them to the publisher at this time.”
The Hills are huge advocates for promoting literacy and believe reading helps a person gain knowledge, and with knowledge, action and results soon follow.
“Over the last several years, we have donated copies of our books to teachers for their classrooms as well as various organizations within the community of Seymour and also in Kentucky that have literacy platforms as their mission,” she said.
They spend their free time in Louisville, where their daughter, Heather, is the outreach educator for the Kentucky Derby Museum.
“We raised our daughter, and she’s amazing and successful,” Tim said.
He said Suzanne becoming a children’s author is a retirement dream come true for her.
“She wanted to become a great children’s author, and she has succeeded,” Tim said. “These books are her success. She did it, and I’m extremely proud of her.”
Suzanne said each person determines success differently.
“People aren’t going to get rich writing children’s books, but to be able to have giveaways and donate to causes, that’s what I think is a success, when a person is in a position to do that,” she said.
Hill is now in a position to do just that, as she is donating some of her books for a prize giveaway next week at The Magic of Books Bookstore.
She will be featured as the Spotlight Author of the Week at the bookstore, located at 113 W. Second St., Seymour.
To celebrate the release of “Larry the Lobster’s Luckiest Day: The Coral Reef Conundrum,” customers may enter a drawing at the bookstore from Wednesday to Friday to win a prize package consisting of all 11 of Hill’s children’s books, a box of crayons and colored pencils.
The winner’s name will be drawn and announced on the store’s Facebook page Saturday. The winner may pick up their prize and get their photo taken during normal business hours.
Hill’s 11 titles are on display in the local author section of the bookstore, where owner Jenna Martinez is now linked with Ingram and is able to order new releases and any other book directly from the distributor.
Hill’s books also are available online through Amazon and Barnes and Noble and the publisher’s website, penitpublications.com.