This article was originally published in print in Transitions magazine…
Time to Read- Sullie Saves the Seas by Goffinet McLaren
I have a beef with most book reviewers. A lot of times, book reviewers are nothing but readers and seldom go beyond that. I’d like to be different. Many of the authors whose writings I review each month are people I have personally gotten to know and talk to at length about their writings. That’s one of the reasons I’ll seldom write a negative review. If I read a book I don’t like I’ll just toss it aside. I suppose I could tell you about a bad experience as a public service, but I’d rather spend time on good reads, on book that are a good time investment, and authors worth meeting.
I reviewed 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing by Mary Anne Benedetto last month. It was an extremely useful book, and I’ve since gotten to know her even better. As a matter of fact she’ll be speaking at my church The Pilgrimage on Sunday June 24 at 10 a.m. We’re really focusing on the personal stories that shape our lives as Christians, and I thought a message about writing memoirs would be of great benefit to our congregation.
Mary Anne also introduced me to a friend of hers, another local author. Her name is Goffinet McLaren, and she wrote Sullie Saves the Seas. It’s a children’s book about a seagull who purposes to help preserve his habitat and keep his friends safe. McLaren is no stranger to the ocean. She grew up in Carrickfergus, a small coastal town in Northern Ireland. She and her husband retired to our shabby chic Pawleys Island in 2006. She’s seen the mess people leave on the beaches at times and how it damages the ocean and threatens marine life and sought to do her part by writing the book.
Ordinarily I won’t review children’s books for this column, but I thought this one was different. It’s not just a pure entertainment or ‘go-to-bedtime’ book. This one teaches an important less that is multigenerational and is best when shared. In other words, I think the lesson is learned best coming from someone older, someone like Sullie, who would like to teach the younger birds. I know that some of you still have small children or small grandchildren running around. If you do, I would urge you to check out this book and read it to them. Instead of just reading it myself, I decided to take turns reading it with my boys. I read a chapter then my oldest would read a chapter. That way I could also get their point-of-view for the review. They enjoyed it immensely, and kept asking me when we could read more. Both of them really got the story, and it resonated well with their own efforts to keep the beach clean. We often go down to play and pick up trash while we’re there.
The book is great and, to be honest, even though it’s written as a book for kids, I think adults could gain a lot of insight from it as well. It’s available at many of our local independent booksellers and also online. Maybe you could also catch up with Ms McLaren at a local event or book signing. It’d be so worth it to get an autographed copy and listen to her Irish accent.