LaPlace native Irene Whitman Starlone publishes 1st children’s book

Published 12:11 am Wednesday, June 27, 2018

LAPLACE — Irene Whitman Starlone recently held a book signing for her first children’s novel at PJ’s Coffee in LaPlace, the very place where most of the book was written.

Starlone, a LaPlace native and a 1998 graduate of St. Charles Catholic High School, wrote “Henry Humming” over the past two years during moments of quiet time as her daughters visited their grandparents.

The novel follows a hummingbird named Henry who serves as the primary caretaker for his sister, Hanna, who is ill with bird disease and growing weaker each day.

Henry and his best friends, a blue jay and a house finch, are displaced from their Louisiana home by a massive tornado. On their journey back, they hunt for a list of ingredients that could cure Hanna, making friends and enemies along the way. The chapter book is more than 100 pages in length and geared toward children ages 7 to 12.

Starlone, who today lives in Gonzales, was first inspired to write the story 10 years ago, as her own sister struggled through chemotherapy and radiation.

“I’d go visit her in her room, and as soon as I left and closed the door, I’d cry,” Starlone said. “I always wished I could get a magic cure for her.”

Thankfully, her sister is now cancer-free. Through her novel, Starlone wants to encourage children by reminding them to never give up, no matter how grim the situation might look.

“A lot of people have been touched by cancer, and I want everyone to know it’s OK to lean on your family and friends no matter what,” Starlone said. “The takeaway is to always have hope.”

Starlone’s interest in writing dates back 15 years, and she said a Henry Humming sequel is planned. Her favorite part of being a published author is speaking with children who have read the book and identify with the characters.

Sandy Seymour of LaPlace said Starlone is her lifelong friend and the friendliest person she knows.

“She has this positive attitude, and she’s always so bubbly,” Seymour said. “Writing is her passion and her dream, and I’m proud of her for chasing down that dream.”

Seymour encourages St. John the Baptist Parish residents to support Starlone by sharing Henry Humming with their children.

Henry Humming hardcover books retail for $17.99 on Amazon. A publication page is available at, and will be up and running within two weeks.

Starlone said she is available for author visits at local schools and libraries. For more information, email