Valerie Clayton has long been an EagleWatch volunteer.
In addition, the teacher at Port St. Joe Elementary School possesses a degree in journalism.
So, with a bit of a nudge from a fellow teacher, Clayton combined the two and the result was a children’s book entitled “The Bald Eagles of Money Bayou: an almost true story.”
Clayton characterizes the children’s book as realistic fiction, the book recounting Clayton’s years of watching nests as a volunteer.
She in turn took all the eagle photographs in the book.
“Since the hurricane many people shared or liked my eagle photographs (online),” Clayton said. “I wanted to share that I had written (a children’s book) about the bald eagles who lost their nest during Hurricane Michael.”
The children’s book is so popular on Amazon under the category of new releases for Children’s Environment books that it sold out Monday before Clayton had even received her copies to sell.
As far back as middle school, Clayton had dreamed of becoming an author.
One day she was showing Karen Minger, the media specialist at the elementary school, a copy of the online photo book Clayton had made of her eagle photographs.
“She said, ‘Why don’t you write a children’s book’ and I thought why not?” Clayton said.
“I want my students to know that you can fulfill a dream at any age.”
The book is dedicated to Dorothy “Dottie” Jean Rogers who lives in Money Bayou and is the main character along with the eagles in the book.
Amazon is now undertaking a second printing and the book is available on Amazon.
“The profit from the sales in 2019 on Amazon will go to the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland,” Clayton said. “They rehabilitate eagles and other birds when they are injured.
“It is also home to the Florida EagleWatch program of which I am a member.”
Once she actually receives her copies, Clayton will be selling the books to students at a discounted rate with $1 from each sale going to the media center at Port St. Joe Elementary School.
The book will also be available locally at Coastal Cain and Boutique by the Bay in Port St. Joe.