January 23, 2021

Cayman: New children’s book showcases local culture, wildlife and geography

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Harry and Arney’s Epic Island Adventure is a funny and educational tale of friendship, courage and gratitude, based in Grand Cayman.

[Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, December 1st, 2020] Harry and Arney’s Epic Island Adventure is a passion project by Cayman Islands-based creators, Mia Nielson-Bush and Tarah Lawson. Mia is an author and teacher at Montessori by the Sea while Tarah is an accomplished artist and real estate agent. Inspired by their love of children and all things “Cayman”, Mia and Tarah, both moms, decided to combine their creative talents and quirky senses of humour to create a fun and educational book that is entertaining for both children and adults.

“The children of the Cayman Islands have been gracing my classroom for years,” said Ms. Nielson-Bush, “infusing my life with humour, joy and inspiration, which is exactly what I hope to give back in return to the community through our story,”

In Harry and Arney’s Epic Island Adventure, Harry is a young hermit crab who lives at Rum Point. Despite his charmed and chill Caribbean lifestyle, Harry is feeling down because he is dissatisfied with his plain shell. Harry gets carried off by a frigate bird who deposits him in West Bay, where he meets a feisty anole lizard named Arney and the pair set off on a cross-island adventure. Along the way, they encounter a cast of unique characters and visit iconic locations in Grand Cayman. By the end of the story, Harry has learned some great lessons about friendship, gratitude and valuing the truly important things in life.

“Everywhere you look in Cayman there are bright and cheery colors and I really wanted to showcase that in my illustrations,” said Tarah Lawson. “From incorporating photos of textures taken from placemats at my favourite local restaurants, to examining the miniature creature world around me with my son, this book is Cayman inspired from cover to cover. It is easy to find inspiration when you love where you live!”

This is Ms. Nielson-Bush and Ms. Lawson’s first book and work has already begun on their next project. Harry and Arney’s Epic Island Adventure is for sale now at 3 Girls & a Kiln, Bliss Yoga, Red Sail (Rum Point & Camana Bay), Books & Books, Book Nook, and Cayman Handmade Collective. The book is also in each public library in the Cayman Islands. Nine copies of the book have been purchased for donation to public elementary schools in Grand Cayman by Nigel Torrence of NLT Construction LTD.


Mia Nielson-Bush is an experienced educator, working with children since 2010. She joined the staff at MBTS in 2012, where she developed a passion for devising creative and engaging ways to teach children skills and concepts. In 2018, she teamed up with longtime friend Tarah Lawson to write a Cayman-themed children’s book centered on a hermit crab with a ‘plain’ shell. While this is Ms. Nielson-Bush’s first published work, she has been writing creatively for as long as she can remember.

Tarah Lawson is a real estate agent and artist, living and working in the Cayman Islands for the past 15 years. Her work has been featured at the Visual Arts Society Gallery and Beach Bubbles Art Gallery. This is her first children’s book and in addition to working on a sequel, she has Partnered with a local pediatric dentist to illustrate a fun and educational children’s book that is in development. She has also been doing real estate since 2018.

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