Love of outdoors leads to books
By April Durham
Originally from Missouri, Larry Points, 55, has been a lover of the great outdoors
for as long as he can remember. In 1966 at age 21, Points decided to join the
National Park Service. After completing a 3-month training at Grand Canyon National
Park he went on to serve at several other parks before relocating to the National
Park Service at Assateague Island National Seashore where he served as chief of
park interpretation. Today he and his wife Beverly, 47, and their two children
Kristy,16, Kara, 13, reside in Delmar, Md., where they have lived for 20 years.
After Points had worked at Assateague for more than 10 years, Andrea Jauck was
hired to work as a seashore naturalist. Shortly after Jauck's arrival at
Assateague, she and Points worked on a series of outdoor exhibits that incorporated
text, graphics, art and photographs. Noticing how well the two worked together,
Points suggested that he and Jauck work together privately on an idea he had for a
children's book. Two years later, "Assateague-Island of the Wild Ponies" was
Months before the book's release Jauck married another ranger at Assateague and
moved to southwest Kansas and more recently to southern Utah where her husband had
accepted a new job. Although Jauck and Points found it more difficult to
correspond by telephone they worked for the next two years to publish their second
book, "Ribbons of Sand -Exploring Atlantic Beaches." "Upon our second book's
completion our former publisher was bought out by a new publisher. The new
publisher was not interested in publishing our second book so we embarked on a long
journey to find a publisher," said Points.
After feeling pretty discouraged Points said he found a small publisher by the name
of Sierra Press in Mariposa, Calif. Sierra Press, which usually publishes books
about western national parks, had never published a book on the east or a
children's book and was eager to explore new possibilities.
"I think we hit them when they were in an expansion mode," said Points. "I got a
call from the owner of that little publisher and he said we'd like to publish
‘Ribbons of Sand' and I said ‘Hey, the Assateague Pony is also available.' We were
able to completely redesign the Assateague Pony book and make it much better than
it had been," said Points. Points went on to say that not only did the company
publish the books but the publisher paid substantial money to hire a children's
book designer to give their books a real contemporary look to appeal to children.
After seeing the success their two books had after being placed in paperback,
Points said he suggested to Jauck that they publish a third book.
Points, who noticed that there wasn't a book that existed for kids about barrier
islands, began discussing with Jauck about publishing a book that would incorporate
different barrier island habitats. "In 'Barrier Islands Are For the Birds' we talk
about birds that would be in different habitats. We cover Cape Cod down all the way
down the east coast along the gulf coast to Padre Island National Seashore in
Texas," said Points. In "Barrier Islands are for the Birds" Points and Jauck show
nearly 100 color photos using enriched text design to identify the most common
resident and migratory birds which live in the coastal environment. Beginning with
an aerial view of an osprey, each environment is explored, the most common birds
which nest or feed in them are examined and conservation concerns are explored.
"One of the most challenging part of making the book was that at one point you
couldn't even see the ping pong table where I had pictures arranged by birds,
species, habitats and environmental concerns. At one point I looked at it and
wondered how could we pull this together, there were so many wonderful photographs.
We have an incredible 100 photos in a 32-page book and we had a lot of photos we
just couldn't use because we didn't have room," said Points.
In July, Jauck will be visiting the area to attend several book signings and to
began researching their fourth book. "While Andrea is here visiting we're going to
get knee deep in marsh and muck, have a pad and paper with us and began to outline what we hope will be our fourth book ‘The Life of Salt Marsh' or ‘Exploring Atlantic Salt Marshes,' " said Points.
"Whether it's earth science or geography we're finding that teachers like our books because they can work them into their State Leaning Standards for different subjects. It's getting increasingly rare to find children's books that feature photographs rather than art and having accurate educational text is like frosting on the cake," said Points.
Right now, although Points seems to have little time left over after working at Assateague and serving as deputy mayor for Delmar, Md., he says that he hopes to continue educating kids through books.
"What I hope to do is to go into schools and do programs and book signings as a second career while trying to write another book or two," said Points.
Presently all three books can be found at numerous national parks bookstores that have visitor centers, state parks, aquariums, retail commercial bookstores and libraries. Books can be purchased for $7.95.