Moss Point native Christian Horn Reese is returning home for a pair of appearances in conjunction with the release of her latest book this weekend. She was kind enough to share her thoughts with us about the big weekend events.
WHAT: Children’s Book Reading/Signing
TITLE: Eddie Egret’s Bayou Storm: A Hurricane Story
Eddie Egret’s Bayou Storm is a children’s book about Eddie, a baby egret, who finds after a natural disaster, anything is possible with the help of his bayou friends and community. His story is one of empathy and compassion both young readers and parents alike will enjoy. Told through soft, pastel, hand-painted illustrations, the story encourages Eddie to not give up hope and explores significant life lessons. Perfect for children ages 5 – 10 years.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Christian has over a decade of experience in advertising and public relations, with additional experience copywriting and teaching art to children. She has a B.A. in journalism from the University of Mississippi and an M.S. in public relations from the University of Southern Mississippi. Originally from the Mississippi Gulf Coast (Jackson County), this is Christian’s first published children’s book. Her hope is to help teach children the value of empathy and compassion through the story of Eddie Egret.
Friday, September 15 @ 11 a.m.
Walter Anderson Museum of Art
For the September Words & Wonder program, a story and craft time for children 5 & under with their caregivers. The program is free, and all craft materials are provided.
Saturday, September 16 @ Noon
Pascagoula River Audubon Center, during Chevron’s Hummingbird & Nature Festival
A Story reading on stage with a book signing following the reading.
For festival information: www.pascagoula.audubon.org. Tickets: $10 adults, $8 seniors and military, $5 children. Under age 5 enter FREE with the purchase of an adult ticket.
Eddie Egret’s Bayou Storm is available for purchase on Amazon and all major online book retailers.
Eddie Egret’s Bayou Storm: A Hurricane Story is a children’s story about a baby egret going through a natural disaster. The main character, Eddie Egret, finds bayou animal friends to help him through a coastal storm called a hurricane. Told through soft, pastel illustrations in watercolor and mixed media, bayou animals such as a fox, an otter, an alligator, and a turtle, encourage Eddie not to give up hope, and to realize what is truly important in life.
“I’ve always loved working with children, especially younger kids because you just never know what they might say,” Reese said. ” They are so funny and have the best imaginations. They also look to us (adults) as role models, especially during traumatic events. While this book is written for children, adults may also get something out of it.”
In a recent “meet the author” visit Christian had with a Baldwin County first grade classroom, students learned about empathy, compassion, discussed feelings, and how the animals in the book might be feeling. That very topic led to kids sharing their own experiences of what made them feel scared.
“I was thrilled the book was doing exactly what I had hoped – getting them talking and discussing their feelings.”
Growing up along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Christian is no stranger to flooding or storms. Her own experiences helped shape the book. When she was in elementary school, Hurricane Frederick hit her family’s home in Moss Point. And Reese once again got to experience a hurricane when Hurricane Katrina hit.
Living on a peninsula in St. Tammany Parish, she found it hard to explain to her two young boys the disastrous effects of the storm and why their family could not go home. After the initial hurricane cleanup of Katrina, much of their neighborhood had yet to return and there was limited electricity.
To fill the time and to openly discuss the happenings with the children, Christian enlisted the help of her small boys in coming up with a story. They spent many hours on their back deck overlooking a bayou and gazing out at several types of marsh animals, hence the characters in the book. The purpose of the project was to not only help her own children understand that things would get better again, but to also help other children in the future.
“I wrote Eddie Egret’s Bayou Storm because it was something I felt compelled to do,” she concluded. “I was deeply touched by the kindness of strangers in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and wanted to share those acts of human goodness. At the time, there were some books about hurricanes, but nothing really for small children, and nothing focusing on empathy or hope.”
It has been almost 20 years since Hurricane Katrina, but getting the story out was extremely important to Christian since her own children gave so much input. Today the boys are now men, and she hopes one day they will share their book with their own children.
In the back of the book is an author’s note and suggestions on how parents can respond to their children’s emotional need in a natural disaster.
Eddie Egret’s Bayou Storm is now available and can be ordered directly online at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, booksamillion.com, and all other major online book retailers.