BY SUE ERWIN – Paulee Bowin met Boca Grande shell enthusiast George Melissas five years ago, while the two were in an art studio in Clearwater Beach.
Bowin has been creating shell art for years, and when she shared her passion about shells with him, the master shell collector gave her a variety of shells that he had found on the island over the years to include in her art pieces.
Melissas contributed the vast shell identification display that presently exists in the loggia area at the Johann Fust Community Library.
On July 18 of this year, Bowin’s friend Stacey Ball wrote a children’s book called “Tumbledown Adventures,” a story about a brave rabbit named Benny. The rabbit lived with his family on a farm called Tumbledown. The book talks about the adventures of Benny and his brothers and sisters on the farm. It is currently in the process of being printed.
Ball asked Bowin to write an introduction and author biography as well as create all of the illustrations for the book.
She did, and the entire experience inspired her to write and create a book of her own. She drew a few images and is in the process of putting the story together. The name of the book is: “The Girl Who Sings the Alphabet Backwards.” It’s a book about a young girl who makes a connection with a mystical owl named Millie, while visiting an island similar to Boca Grande. In the story, the girl is able to intercept a message from a wise owl and a magical banyan tree named “Boca” who gives messages only to those who have a pure heart. The mission is to help the owl find a new sea turtle nest that was formed over- night. In the book, the owl is named after Bowin’s adoptive mother.
“I just thought about some experiences from my childhood, and I wanted to write on an island-themed topic that could help educate kids and make them aware of nature and important environmental issues,” Bowin said.
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