American author Mary Shields recently released Barnicle and Husk: The Adventure Begins, a new children’s book about the unlikely friendship formed between an adventurous cat named Barnicle, who was a stowaway on the Mayflower, and a field mouse named Husk. The book, illustrated by Bob Ostrom, transports readers to 1620 to explore what life was like through the eyes of the whimsical pair.
Barnicle and Husk gives the young and young-at-heart a fun way to learn about America’s storied and rich pre-Colonial history. Set both on the Mayflower and in the Wampanoag village of Patuxet, now modern day Plymouth, it brings together the four nations behind America’s earliest beginnings:
• Plymouth, England, where 102 Pilgrims started their journey to the New World aboard the Mayflower
• Leiden, Netherlands, home to a group of Pilgrims who had fled England before boarding the Mayflower
• Plymouth, Massachusetts, where the Pilgrims arrived and established the first permanent settlement in America
• The Wampanoag Nation, where the Native people had lived in what is now Southeastern Massachusetts for thousands of years before the colonists’ arrival
The book delves deep into the Wampanoag experience, thanks to encouragement from Shields’ mentor, Wampanoag Chief Flying Eagle, Earl Mills, Sr. Through the book’s characters, including a young Wampanoag girl named Running Deer, readers gain valuable insights into the cultural contributions and traditions of the Wampanoag people that shaped the building of America.
“The Wampanoag people are often a forgotten part of the Mayflower’s voyage in 1620 and the founding of Plymouth Colony,” said Mary Shields. “That’s why in this story, I wanted to bring their culture to life for young readers learning about our nation’s beginning.
Shields is not the only interested in the Mayflower voyage as a book subject; she also serves on the Board of Plymouth 400, Inc., an organization established to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage and founding of Plymouth Colony in 2020. Signature events and programs will be held throughout 2020 to honor this anniversary of national and international significance.
The organization has a counterpart in Europe representing England and the Netherlands called Mayflower 400, which was formed to commemorate the legacy of the passengers and crew who undertook the journey on the Mayflower and their heritage, which is embedded across the UK, Netherlands and US. The two groups have formed a partnership – formalized with the signing of the Plymouth 400 Anniversary Memorandum of Understanding – to commemorate this globally significant moment in history that continues to impact the world today.
Through their planned activities, both Plymouth 400, Inc., and Mayflower 400 will champion the values of exploration, freedom and personal liberty that sparked the original Mayflower journey, ideals that Shields’ characters demonstrate in their quest for adventure in Barnicle and Husk. Going beyond traditional children’s literature, the book includes an Impact Statement from Linda Jeffers Coombs, Wampanoag historian.
Shields will continue the Barnicle and Husk series with time travel and adventures. The next book is scheduled for release in Summer 2018 which will be about the Pilgrims’ experience, told to Husk from Barnicle’s perspective.
Barnicle and Husk: The Adventure Begins is available through all major bookstores and in ebook format, including Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, SDP Publishing at SDPPublishing.com and BARNICLEandHUSK.com. Shields will donate a portion of the proceeds from the book’s sales to Plymouth 400, Inc., Plymouth Colony’s 400th anniversary commemoration. To learn more, visit BARNICLEandHUSK.com.