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Local author releases 2nd book

LAPLACE — Raising World Children Magazine recently featured Irene Starlone’s newly released children’s book, “Douglas Fir’s Wish,” in the Ultimate List of Uplifting Holiday Books 2020.

Starlone, a 1998 St. Charles Catholic graduate, spent much of her life in LaPlace and currently resides in Gonzales. Much of her first book, “Henry Humming,” was written at PJ’s Coffee in LaPlace, and a book signing was held at the same location in 2018.

Starlone’s second book, “Douglas Fir’s Wish,” was inspired by beloved family Christmas traditions.

Douglas is a small, hopeful Christmas tree who wants nothing more than to find a home with a family. After being passed over for years and threatened to be put at the end of the road, Douglas uproots himself and begins a journey to find a family.

“I love Christmas. It’s my favorite holiday, so I always knew that I wanted to write a Christmas book. One of my family’s favorite traditions was always going out to a Christmas tree farm, getting a tree and bringing it home. My family tradition inspired that, but I wanted to write a story that would touch people’s hearts and share the reason for the season,” Starlone said.

The book shares an inspiring message that anyone can relate to during the holiday season. Along his journey, Douglas learns that the true meaning of Christmas is much bigger than his own desires, and that it is more important to give than to receive.

“I think every child has that Christmas dream where there is one thing they really, really want from Santa Claus, and Douglas is like that because he really wants to be a family Christmas tree,” Starlone said. “I also think that children can see when they give their parents a gift, and in the love that they see around the tree on Christmas morning, that giving is so important. Douglas learns as well that giving is more important than achieving his own dream.”

At 64 pages, this multi-chapter book is suitable for children ages 6 and up. “Douglas Fir’s Wish” is vibrantly illustrated by Eric Zeringue of Luling.

Starlone’s father, Bob Whitman of LaPlace, said the book is home grown and printed in the United States.

“The illustrator gives the book a lot of character with the way he draws things. I think he’s done a beautiful job,” Whitman said. “It’s really and truly a locally produced book.”

Whitman said there is no mistaking his daughter’s love for Christmas. She’s the type of person who wouldn’t mind Hallmark Christmas movies starting months in advance of the traditional holiday season.

Whitman believes “Douglas Fir’s Wish” can become a classroom favorite, much like “Henry Humming.” He is most proud of his daughter’s discipline, initiative and desire to inspire others through her writing.

“A lot of people will become inspired and write one book, but they don’t have a disciplined writing habit,” Whitman said. “Irene studies books by other authors like Stephen King. She’s very disciplined, even with two children at home. I’m proud of her for making that effort.”

Starlone recently spoke to young fans at a book signing that was held outdoors with social distancing.

“A lot of fans of Henry came and picked up Douglas, so that was pretty cool to see them again,” Starlone said.

“Henry Humming” is almost sold out and is moving toward a second edition printing featuring 22 new illustrations. The second book in the “Henry Humming” series will be released in late 2021 or early 2022. Starlone also has a rhyming book coming out for younger children ages 2 to 6. Like her “Henry Humming” series, the rhyming story will include a nod toward her Louisiana heritage.

Starlone liked to tell stories from the time she was a child. She is thrilled to finally have a platform to share them with the world.

“Douglas Fir’s Wish” is available in hardback and Kindle format online at https://www.amazon.com/Douglas-Firs-Wish-Irene-Starlone/dp/1792322712.