New Orleans, LA, USA (September 21, 2016) — The New Orleans Pelicans and Audubon Nature Institute have teamed up with multi-award-winning children’s book author Johnette Downing and illustrator Heather Stanley to encourage reading and connect children with the beauty and importance of Louisiana’s wetlands through their new book, Petit Pierre and the Floating Marsh.
The picture book will represent the State of Louisiana at the National Book Festival on September 24, 2016 in Washington D.C. and the official book launch will take place at the Louisiana Book Festival on October 29, 2016 at the State Library in Baton Rouge.
Published by Pelican Publishing, proceeds from Petit Pierre and the Floating Marsh support wetland education initiatives. A “Friend a Pelican” pledge is included in the book to empower children to be good stewards of the environment. The book is currently available for purchase at Audubon Nature Institute Marketplace Gift Shops, Amazon.com, and Barnes & Noble.
Petit Pierre and the Floating Marsh is a heartwarming story about a pelican and his wetland friends. When it’s time for Petit Pierre to leave the pelican nest and find a home of his own, he is in a quandary as to where to live. With the help of wetland animals and plants, Petit Pierre discovers that the diversity of the wetlands provides the perfect environment to make a home.
With a primary focus on education, the Pelicans work with Audubon to teach children about coastal restoration in a fun and engaging manner.
“We are proud to be teaming up with Audubon Nature Institute on Petit Pierre and the Floating Marsh in an effort to connect children to the importance of coastal restoration,’’ said New Orleans Saints/Pelicans Owner Tom Benson. “In addition to utilizing the book locally, we hope that the reach extends beyond the Gulf South as the health of our region has a larger impact, as well. Petit Pierre and the Floating Marsh, with its amusing illustrations and story, gives us the chance to educate children in an engaging, fun way about the importance of saving the coast. As we look ahead to the future of our city and region, it is imperative that our younger generations understand the importance of a healthy coastline.”
Hailed as the “Pied Piper of Louisiana Music Traditions” and the “Musical Ambassador to Children,” Johnette Downing (left) is dedicated to sharing her Louisiana roots music and books with children across the globe. The author of 18 picture books, two board books, and ten recordings, Johnette has received 22 international awards and has performed worldwide.
Heather Stanley (right) is a New Orleans illustrator and graphic designer whose love of animals and nature stems from a lifetime of exploring the natural world. Stanley is the Director of Creative Services at Audubon Nature Institute managing an innovative team for both graphic and website design. She has a BFA in Advertising and Design from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and an MFA in Illustration and Design from Radford University in Virginia.
“This may be the first time an NBA team has teamed up with a non-profit, author and illustrator to teach children about coastal restoration,” said Audubon President and CEO Ron Forman. “This unique collaboration will help preserve the environment and encourage learning, which is at the heart of what we do at Audubon.”
Louisiana is facing a land loss crisis and risks losing 1,750 square miles of land, equivalent to more than 10 million basketball courts. Both the Pelicans and Audubon Nature Institute recognize that coastal Louisiana is in jeopardy and believe that this cause is of the utmost importance for the economic future of the state and region.
“The first time I saw Petit Pierre and the Floating Marsh, I loved the fun illustrations, but also understood the overall message of the importance of a healthy coastline for our region,” said New Orleans Pelicans player Anthony Davis. “I hope young students will enjoy hearing about the different homes of the Gulf’s favorite animals and take note that all of them live in the wetlands. As they learn more about the coastline and the animals that live there, they will hopefully be eager to learn more and be compelled to care for the animals.”