Break out the sunscreen—and a new beach book with a thrill

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Book lovers are often beachgoers, so for summertime I recommend a new historic thriller: “Silent Came the Monster: A Novel of the 1916 Jersey Shore Shark Attacks” by Amy Hill Hearth. The book has released just in time to make you afraid to get into the water—and is inspired by true shark attacks that killed four people and wounded another in a real-life event that will make you happy that “Jaws” isn’t true.

"Silent Came the Monster" by Amy Hill Hearth
"Silent Came the Monster" by Amy Hill Hearth

About the story and its author

Hearth has lived on the Jersey Shore for nearly three decades and tells this well-researched fictionalized story with the engaging details of an insider. She is a bestselling author of fiction and nonfiction for adults and young readers and wrote one of my favorite books (later a movie), “Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years,” the true story of the lives of two devoted sisters through the decades.

The tale she spins in “Silent Came the Monster” is chilling and entertaining. At first the idea of a fatal shark attack in 1916 was dismissed. “Sharks are as timid as rabbits,” said a superintendent of the Coast Guard. But a prominent surgeon at the shore examines the victim and is the only one who believes the perpetrator was a shark—and that it will strike again. Can he convince the rest of the world before it’s too late?

“The Wind Has a Voice” by Phylis Caskey
“The Wind Has a Voice” by Phylis Caskey

Another new historical adventure novel

“The Wind Has A Voice” by Phylis Caskey of Shreveport has just released on Amazon. Set in 27 BCE, “this is a story of courage, resilience and the indestructible bond between two sisters, set against the backdrop of a harsh unforgiving wilderness,” Caskey said. It will appeal to fans of “The Dovekeepers” by Alice Hoffman or “The Clan of the Cave Bear” by Jean M. Auel.

More about the story: “In the early hours of dawn, a violent raid shatters the peaceful life of a young female nomad. When her family is brutally killed, she is left no choice but to flee with her wounded sister. Pursued through a brutal Mongolian landscape by relentless trackers, she relies on her knowledge of the land and her people’s ways to battle the elements and evade danger at every turn. But the harshest enemy of all—winter—is fast approaching, with numbing cold and unrelenting storms. As the sisters push on through the snow, they know their survival is far from guaranteed but cling to the hope of a chance for a new start and to honor the memory of those they have lost.

More info is available at

"Yazzy's Amazing Yarn" by Cathey Nickell
"Yazzy's Amazing Yarn" by Cathey Nickell

For the younger set, Bossier Library events

For a fun program, join former Shreveporter Cathey Graham Nickell as she discusses her children’s book “Yazzy’s Amazing Yarn” and teaches children to finger-knit on June 13 at two branches of the Bossier Parish Library. Nickell, who also wrote the clever “Arthur Zarr’s Amazing Art Car,” will be accompanied by Elizabeth Smiley with her purple furry car, Penelope.

The free programs—Nickell will even provide the yarn— will be at 10 a.m. at the Aulds Branch, 3950 Wayne Ave., Bossier City 71112, and at 2 p.m. at the Benton Branch, 115 Courthouse Drive, Benton 71006. For more about the author, see

Summer reading programs begin

Life-changing summer programs—yes, I’m a fan— for children and adults are underway at libraries across the region, including Shreve Memorial Library’s “All Together Now,” with branches hosting more than 150 interactive programs. Those who complete the 2023 Shreve Memorial Summer Reading Program challenge will receive prizes such as tote bags, books, pencils and erasers. Sign up at any Shreve Memorial Library branch or online at

Free food available for children at area libraries

A big thank you to Shreve Memorial and the Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana, who are offering free food at a few branches through July 31 for children up to age 18, as part of the Food Bank’s Summer Food Service Program that provides nutritional lunches for children without access to food when school is out. Meals must be consumed at the library and will be provided on the following days and times: Cedar Grove-Line Avenue Branch, 8303 Line Ave., each Wednesday, 11 a.m. – noon; David Raines Branch, 2855 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, each Monday and Wednesday, 11 a.m. – noon; Hamilton/South Caddo Branch, 2111 Bert Kouns Industrial Loop, each Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 11 a.m. – noon; Mooretown Branch, 4360 Hollywood Ave., each Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.; North Caddo Branch, 615 North Pine Street, Vivian, Monday – Saturday 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.  Check with branches for more details, including days when libraries are closed.

Nominate your favorite book

Adult readers, Shreve Memorial is accepting recommendations through June 16 for its One Book One Parish title. Books can be fiction or nonfiction and from any genre, and nominations will be accepted online at The book that is chosen will be featured in programs in October.

Columnist Judy Christie is the author of 18 books, including the fictional “Gone to Green” series and the nonfiction “Before and After: The Incredible Real-Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children’s Home Society,” now available in paperback. Co-authored with Lisa Wingate, it is the true sequel to Wingate’s bestselling novel “Before We Were Yours.” For more about Christie, see or follow her on Facebook at

This article originally appeared on Shreveport Times: Break out the sunscreen—and a new beach book with a thrill