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By Bill Rickman, The Island Bookstore

Our customers have told us for years that one reason they enjoy shopping our stores is that they can find books they don’t see elsewhere. This is especially true for books about our local nature, history, culture and picture collections. And this rarity is made even greater when the title is locally published.

Manteo publisher Claudia Harrington, of Maritime Kids Quest Press, has teamed up with Outer Banker William K. “Billy” Brown, to produce Mullet Roar and Other Stories by an Outer Banker. This unique collection of lively stories is actually published by the “Grown-Up Kids Division” of the above-cited press.

Billy Brown grew up first on Ocracoke and then on Roanoke Island. In Mullet Roar and Other Stories, Billy shares with his readers a lifetime of true stories about his own experiences and brings them to life with a wonderful collection of his own paintings and pictures. He carries you with him as he fishes and hunts from the Gulf Stream of the Atlantic to the mainland woods, and all the islands and sounds in between.

Having been a long-time charter boat captain as well as a schoolteacher, Billy brings credibility and a local’s sensibility to capture the very essence of an Outer Banker. As an added bonus, Mr. Brown even teaches his artful technique of clamming and offers a few hearty and wholesome recipes.

The book is dedicated to his father, Aycock Brown, who promoted these Outer Banks as a journalist and photographer for more than 50 years and is widely credited with helping create the tourist mecca we’ve become.

With 21,000 copies already in print, Taffy of Torpedo Junction, by Nell Wise Wechter, is hardly a secret to be discovered. This year, celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, Taffy is as thrilling an adventure as it ever was. The University of North Carolina Press is promoting this title anew. Though technically a young adult story, it is based on true events.

Thirteen-year-old Taffy Willis is an independent and high-spirited girl who lives with her grandfather on Hatteras Island. With her Banks pony, Sailor, and her boxer puppy, Brandy, she roams the island and finds a mystery to solve. What’s going on in the old house in Buxton Woods? Why are the people who live in it so unfriendly and secretive? And what is that eerie light just offshore? What Taffy discovers is a ring of Nazi spies, and it is up to her to help the Coast Guard capture them.

The book is a tribute to the courage of the people who lived near “Torpedo Junction,” a real place just off Cape Hatteras where German U-boats sank more than 60 American ships in just six months in 1942.

To coincide with the re-introduction of its popular art installation of creatively decorated fiberglass horses, local publisher Outer Banks Press has just released Outer Banks Wild: A Winged Horse Extravaganza Pictorial, Vol. III. The Outer Banks Wild series showcases more than 100 participants in the Winged Horse Extravaganza, which was originally conceived to celebrate the 2003 First Flight Centennial Celebration. Even though the centennial festivities are several years behind us, on any given day, you can spot dozens of individuals and families – armed with cameras – taking pictures of members of the original herd throughout the Outer Banks. This edition features more stunning photographs of winged horses, plus 30 pages of wild horse images taken in the four-wheel-drive area north of Corolla. None of the horses are repeated from volume to volume.

As the publisher states: “While the fiberglass horses are easily accessible to most of our visitors, not everyone gets the chance to see the stallions, mares and foals that comprise our wild herd.” Since the Corolla Wild Horse Fund was one of the original recipients of funds raised through this program, the publisher decided to share the Spanish mustang images that provided inspiration for the original project.

David Stick’s Graveyard of the Atlantic has been the definitive record of our local shipwrecks since its publication.

Now, we have a wonderful companion to the above volume: Shipwrecks of the Outer Banks – An Illustrated Guide, by Kevin Duffus. Looking Glass Productions of Raleigh is the publisher.
As the cover of the book says, “Kevin Duffus is an historian who is a fine storyteller and a storyteller who is a fine historian.”

No longer must the visitor guess, “Where are all the shipwrecks?” This heavily detailed photographic guide tells what it was like for passengers and crews when ships crashed into the breakers along the banks and relates the true stories of some of the most incredible rescues. Many of the remains of shipwrecks have vanished – either salvaged, burned, stolen, or vandalized, but not all. Kevin Duffus has made it possible to pinpoint the location of many of the best-known wrecks in Outer Banks history by using detailed area maps or by following Global Positioning Satellite coordinates he has listed for each of them. Historic and contemporary photographs bring this whole venture to life.

We’re confident that these local books will inspire you and set you off on your own Outer Banks adventure.

Mullet Roar and Other Stories by an Outer Banker
By William K. “Billy” Brown, Maritime Kids Quest Press, $23.95

Taffy of Torpedo Junction
By Nell Wise Wechter, The University of North Carolina Press, $10.95

Shipwrecks of the Outer Banks – An Illustrated Guide
By Kevin Duffus, Looking Glass Productions, $24.95

Outer Banks Wild: A Winged Horse Extravaganza Pictorial, Vol. III
By Tricia Ibelli et al, Outer Banks Press, $15.95

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