Dec 10 2010

Hermy the Hermit Crab

What started out as a bedtime story for Andrea Weathers’ little girls has since become a beloved children’s book in the lowcountry.

Weathers is the author of a series of children’s books called “Hermy the Hermit Crab.” The books feature an anthropomorphic adolescent hermit crab named Hermy who explores his world, which just so happens to be the Charleston area.

Weathers’ inspiration for the stories came from growing up in the Charleston area and spending all of her summers on Folly Beach. She said she was always intrigued by the marine life on the beach, but especially with hermit crabs.

“If you ever watch a hermit crab in its natural habitat, you’ll see they are just fascinating,” she said.

Weathers said that fascination grew when she had children of her own.

“I found myself literally sitting on the sand during low tide with my daughters and saw that they enjoyed the hermit crabs as much as I did,” she said.

Weathers said she let her daughters take home marine life and keep it in their 10 gallon aquarium overnight before returning the creatures to the beach. She said while watching the hermit crabs in the aquarium she realized what an adventurous life they lead.

Weathers said she would take her children to the library to research hermit crabs and other forms of marine life. The research sparked a need in Weathers to create a story about hermit crabs that she could tell to her children before bed. Her daughter came up with the name for the hermit crab as she couldn’t properly pronounce the word hermit, but instead said, “hermy.”

“She would say, ‘look, Mommy, here’s a hermy crab,’ and that’s how my character started; that’s how it all began,” Weathers said.

Weathers said it took her seven years to find the right publisher for her book, but it was well worth the wait.

“I wrote these stories to educate my children and now if they can educate others or entertain them… that’s just the coolest thing ever,” Weathers said. “I felt like these stories were kind of a gift to me and if they were meant to be shared, then they would get published.”

The first “Hermy the Hermit Crab” book was illustrated by Bob Thames and published in 2001. Since then, three more have come along and all feature different adventures. The books cater to children in the third and fourth grades, but the stories can be enjoyed by anyone, Weathers said.

“I enjoy writing for children and doing book signings,” she said. “I love going to local schools and giving presentations. It’s my way of giving back and encouraging children to read, write, and draw.”

Weathers said she plans to do another “Hermy the Hermit Crab” story, but until then, her books can be found in gift shops in the Folly Beach area, the library, and on her website hermythehermitcrab.com.

Weathers will do a book signing from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11 at the Folly Beach Art Guild in the Folly River Park.

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