Local books for all ages

'Harry & Arney's Epic Island Adventure' was created by the team of Tarah Lawson and Mia Nielson-Bush.

Writing and publishing a book is no easy task, yet a number of Cayman’s authors seem to have found the time to do just that.

From children’s stories with an educational twist, to fiction for adults, these are just some of the recently launched books you can now find online or in your local store.

This story with a positive marine environment message is great for young ones.

Hawksbill Hero and the Parrotfish Reef
Author: Louisa Sax
Illustrations: Oliver Kryzz Bundoc
Hero, the hawksbill turtle, is in a race against time to save her home reef. She goes on a journey to find parrotfish to help her.

Along the way, Hero makes new friends and learns about why parrotfish are so important to the coral reef.

Louisa Sax wrote the book to emphasise the importance of herbivores in the marine environment.

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“I think the message is very important, particularly in the Caribbean where parrotfish are severely overfished,” she said.

The author was born and raised in Cayman, and has a bachelor’s degree in animal biology and a master’s degree in environmental protection and management. She currently works as an ocean conservationist.

Copies have been donated to every primary school in the Cayman Islands, as well as some preschools, Clever Fish, the National Trust and the Cayman Brac Library.

‘Neptune’s Wall’ is the newest addition to author Nicholas Harvey’s published works.

Neptune’s Wall
Author: Nicholas Harvey
An earthquake in the depths of the Caribbean Sea shakes the little island of Grand Cayman, revealing sinkholes in the roads – and ghosts from the past.

When AJ Bailey discovers a long-hidden cavern in the reef, she may have found clues to a 34-year-old unsolved police case. The dangerous dives to unearth the answers could solve the mystery… or turn AJ into the next victim.

This is the latest novel in Harvey’s popular ‘Caribbean Suspense’ series. It will appeal to SCUBA divers, as well as lovers of adventure, mystery and suspense novels.

Multiple books in the series have reached bestseller status for the genre in the US, Canada and Australia.

Harvey built a championship and award-winning career in motorsports before shifting his attention to writing full time. Born and raised in the UK, he has lived in the US for 30 years.

He and his wife Cheryl currently reside in Key Largo, Florida. The Cayman Islands has been their second home for nearly 20 years.

Harvey is a PADI-certified divemaster and has dived almost all the non-fictional sites described in his books.

The colourful illustrations in this book bring life to the ‘epic’ tale.

Harry & Arney’s Epic Island Adventure!
Authors/Artists: Mia Nielson-Bush and Tarah Lawson
An action-packed tale of friendship and adventure unfolds as an unlikely duo team up on a quest to find their way back to a lost hermit crab’s home in paradise.

Along the way they meet many quirky characters, visit iconic locations in Grand Cayman, and learn lessons about gratitude and valuing the important gifts in life above material things.

Mia Nielson-Bush is the author and Tarah Lawson is the illustrator; however, as stated on the cover of the book, the conception to the last detail was a complete collaboration of both parties.

“‘Harry & Arney’s Epic Island Adventure’ is completely inspired by the bright and cheery landscape, creatures, and people of the Cayman Islands,” said Lawson. “It was really important to us to have a complete package of humour, excitement, and vibrant images packaged in a great quality hardback cover, showcasing our love of Cayman. We have bounced the idea of writing a Cayman-centric book for over a decade and when we started brainstorming…, we knew we had a winning storyline that tourists and locals alike would laugh-out-loud to.”

Lawson and Nielson-Bush started in the spring of 2018 with bullet points for the locations, characters and plot. Their finished product landed on the island on 19. Nov. 2020.

“It was a labour of love that we cannot wait to share with all the kids of Cayman,” Lawson said. “It’s definitely the highlight of 2020!”

‘Vanilla & Vinegar’ is local author Joshua J. Dilbert’s third book.

Vanilla & Vinegar: A Memoir
Author: Joshua J. Dilbert
Set in the Cayman Islands, Danny Bodden was raised in a cash-strapped household. Upon his high school graduation, a series of teenage mischiefs prompts his parents to send him to his aunt to be ‘straightened out’. During this time, he gets involved in an illegal gambling operation and later resorts to petty theft. Plus, there are some romantic twists along the way.

‘Vanilla & Vinegar’ is Dilbert’s third book. The Caymanian author’s other works are ‘The Mordenham Acres’ (under the pen name Brad Tarlem) and ‘Sarma’.

He admitted that this latest venture has given him an excellent opportunity to explore more mature storylines.

“This is the first book I’ve written that is set in the Cayman Islands,” he said. “There is some explicit language and explicit scenes, though.”

The local community was very supportive of Dilbert’s first two books; however, he was also told that he may have done a disservice to himself by using a pen name for his first book, which is why he used his real name when he published ‘Sarma’.

“I began my writing journey from the age of 16, during my last year of high school,” he said. “But I never really found the right thing until a few years later and finally decided to get myself published. It is a passion of mine and I hope to have an arsenal of books out for all to enjoy in the coming years.”

Dilbert acknowledged that Caymanian authors and artists face challenges in their homeland, but initiatives like the Cayman Islands Book Fair and Cayman Literary Awards have helped shine a spotlight on them.

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