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Naples 6th grader publishes book inspired by her Hurricane Ian experience

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Posted at 10:37 PM, Aug 23, 2023

NAPLES, Fla. — “The Little Hurricane Helper” is a book written and published by a Naples 6th grader, who experienced Ian first hand.

"We were all just in a panic," author Sutton Shanahan said, recounting the day Hurricane Ian hit on September 28, 2022. "The only thing we could do was sit there and watch."

Sutton and her family live right on the water, which rose to four and a half feet inside many homes on her street.

"I got scared during the hurricane, and I was scared that other people would get hurt and houses would get destroyed," Shanahan said.

While her fears became her reality, she also turned them into waves of inspiration, publishing a book of her very own. The story recounts how she handled the storm and the unforgettable days after

"Everything that I did in the book is what I actually did in real life, like me handing out the ice cream in the book, I took my little wagon, and I filled it with ice cream and I put an ice cream sign on it. I went around the neighborhood and gave it to workers that were helping," she said.

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Sutton even started a non-profit called Kids 4 a Cause in honor of her late aunt. It encourages children to give back to the communities they live in.

"In all my free time that I have, sometimes after school or cross country or on the weekends I work on my non-profit," Shanahan said.

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Book sales from the "Little Hurricane Helper" do just that, going directly to Hurricane Ian restoration efforts. And her work didn't stop there.

"I did multiple events after the hurricane happened. One of them was a teacher supply drive. I distributed over $350,000 dollars in supplies to teachers in Lee and Charlotte counties," she said.

She also donated more than 5,000 books to southwest Florida schools that lost teaching materials.

"I hope they [children] read the book, they see the book, and they maybe will help their parents and their communities prepare for a hurricane," she said.