By Anne Harris for Island Eye News
As it does for so many of us, Sullivan’s Island hold a special place in the heart of children’s book author Catherine Farley and her family. From spending summers on the island in college to eventually getting engaged to her husband right on Station 30, Sullivan’s Island is a place where Farley has created many wonderful memories.
It’s only fitting, then, that Mimi, the mischievous deer Farley created in her first book, “Mischievous Mimi Explores Seabrook Island,” makes her way to Sullivan’s Island to create memories of her own.
In her latest adventure, “Mimi Discovers Sullivan’s Island,” Mimi, her brother Ray, and new friend “Poe” the crow discover the rich history and beauty of the island. While Farley wrote the last Mimi book with her daughters, Madeline and Mary Catherine, this time she turned to her boys for help.
Son James and nephew Gray were eager to get in on the action, and Farley said it was a very different experience from working with the girls.
“James and Gray enjoyed the broader vision of the plot whereas the girls were much more detail oriented,” Farley explains, “the boys wanted to work with ‘what would happen’ and the ‘action.’ The girls loved creating character names, detailed descriptions of the places, and visiting with Susan (Leggett) while she illustrated.”
“The boys helped pick out the places that Mimi would visit on Sullivan’s, created the word search with a computer program and researched the history and nature facts that are found at the end of the book. Looking forward, it will be interesting to see if the boys will enjoy “signing” books. The girls certainly had fun with book signings!”
Farley has a deep appreciation for preservation and seeks to both educate and entertain in her books. In “Mimi Discovers Sullivan’s Island,” children and families will visit Stella Maris Catholic Church, Fort Moultrie, Edgar Allen Poe Library, and the Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse.
These are all places Farley and her family find interesting and look forward to sharing with others. Farley also loves symbolism and hopes families can find depth and lessons to share in this book.
Susan Leggett, who illustrated the first Mimi adventure, returned to illustrate “Mimi Discovers Sullivan’s Island.” Also instrumental in the process were graphic designers Marshall Hudson and Kim Hall, as well as editor Cece Curran.
The “Explore with Mimi” books can be found at the Wonder Works Toy Stores, the Preservation Society of Charleston Shop, the Historic Charleston Foundation Shop, Indigo Books at Freshfields Village, and online at explorewithmimi.com.
Farley will have upcoming book signings in July at Wonderworks and Indigo Books. A portion of the proceeds of the book sales will be donated to Promising Pages, a non-profit organization which provides books for underserved children.
As for where Mimi’s adventures will be taking her next, Farley says that the intrepid deer definitely has more exploring on the horizon and that she will be staying in the Lowcountry. We look forward to making many more memories with Mimi.