A New Children’s Book on Sun Safety
By: Judy Shields
Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 10/6/16 – “Katherine C. Troutman, FNP, better known as “Casey” told The Hollywood Times yesterday about her new children’s book, Sunny Goes to the Beach.
It was nice of Casey to find time for a phone interview during her busy day, which includes writing the Sunny series, taking care of her 2-year-old son, Liam, and caring for her newborn daughter Madelaine born last Monday. Mom and baby are doing just great. I bet brother Liam is happy his baby sister is here and of course Liam’s daddy too.
THT: What were you like in school growing up?
Casey Troutman: I loved school and was very studious. English was always my favorite subject. I ultimately went into nursing, but my first love was English. I was raised by two English teachers, so I always imagined that I would go into teaching. I ended up in a different direction, and that worked out nicely, too. I was an ambitious student. Since both of my parents went to the University of Pennsylvania, from an early age, that is where I wanted to go. I knew that I had to pull the grades and do really well to get there.
THT: Did your parents critique your work?
Casey Troutman: Yes. My mom was more influential in my academic studies. I would show her my book reports and essays, and she would mark it up (and sometimes, I would scrap the whole thing). She could be a tough critic, but in hindsight, her style of teaching me how to write definitely made me a stronger writer. I learned to appreciate the art of writing and the challenge of putting thoughts together coherently and creatively.
THT: Tell us how you went from the possibility of being a teacher to becoming a nurse?
Casey Troutman: My parents divorced while I was in middle school, and my mom raised me and my two brothers. One night during my junior year of high school, my mom and I had a serious discussion about the cost of college. While there were many excellent, more affordable schools in my home state of New Jersey, Penn was my dream. Given this, my mom suggested that the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (N.R.O.T.C.) might be a good option. The Navy would finance the four-year tuition in exchange for four years of active military service. Admittedly, I initially burst into tears at the notion of military service, but I became more open-minded once reading about the R.O.T.C. scholarship program and the Nurse Corps. Since I was already working as a nursing assistant at a local hospital during high school breaks, the Nurse Corps and a nursing career made sense. Nursing is service-oriented and involves a great deal of communication and teaching, which played into my love of language and education. I realized that it would give me direction and a goal, and perhaps most importantly, a guaranteed and marketable career upon graduation.
I enjoyed R.O.T.C. tremendously and actually wore my summer whites uniform for my first official on-campus date with my now husband, Will. I attribute some of the initial romantic chemistry between us to that uniform! It was very Officer and a Gentleman! In 2003, I graduated from Penn with my Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing, commissioned as a Naval Nurse Corps officer, and was stationed in San Diego, my first choice and an amazing place to live. I served four years as a naval nurse at the Naval Medical Center San Diego.
THT: What started the process of writing this new children’s book?
Casey Troutman: In 2009, I obtained my Master’s Degree in Nursing from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), ultimately practicing in a dermatology private practice. Living in Los Angeles, dermatology is a particularly interesting and stimulating field. After the birth of my son, I decided to take some time off from practice to spend more time at home, but I didn’t want to drop dermatology altogether. I started a skincare blog, SkinTranslations (www.skintranslations.com), which seemed like a natural fit given my interest in writing and educating. Meanwhile, I was seeing the impact that educational children’s books on potty training, sharing, safety, etc. were having on Liam. After only a few reads, he would recite the words and imitate the behaviors of the characters. The lightbulb went on, and I searched for children’s books on best practices of sun protection. I discovered a shortage of books aimed at modeling sun safety behaviors – not just sunscreen, but wearing sun-protective clothing and staying in the shade. I created the character of Sunny to teach children. I also noticed that many parents are overwhelmed by the differing sources of sun safety advice out there, so I included “Sun Facts” in the margins for parents and caregivers. These are sourced from the Skin Cancer Foundation and address many common areas of confusion.
THT: Are you writing a series of books?
Casey Troutman: Yes, I have written a handful of books for the “Sunny Goes To” series. In each one, Sunny and her parents demonstrate sun-protective behaviors in a popular, outdoor setting, such as the zoo, the park, the ski slope, etc. I see so much potential for this character and this subject matter. The more that children see these best practices modeled in common situations for them, the more likely they are to insist on hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, and shade to their parents!
THT: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Casey Troutman: I would love to complete this series of books and perhaps start working on other writing ventures.
THT: In a nutshell, why should people read your book?
In my nearly six-year practice as an NP specializing in dermatology, it was clear to me that most people do not know best practices for sun protection. Sun safety must start right away. This book teaches children, parents and caregivers sun safety best practices through a beach day story. We know that early childhood is a formative time for developing habits. Children model their behavior after parents, caregivers, and mentors, as well as from what they see and hear in stories. This book serves as another source to help guide and reinforce children’s’ behavior. Like brushing our teeth, protecting our skin from the sun and its consequences could and should be second nature.
Click the link below to order this great informative book about sun safety. It makes a great gift for a parent or grandparent, an elementary school teacher, or a nanny!
Please check out Casey’s YouTube video about her book and her Kickstarter campaign, which funded the self-publishing of the book.
Here is a picture, taken by Casey, of a bundling idea for gifting the book with other sun protection items.
Skin cancer has personally affected my life. Not only have I been diagnosed with it, but my 88-year-old father suffers from melanoma of his eye, shoulder, and back. I always have to be very careful while out in the sun by wearing sunscreen, sunglasses, and a large brimmed hat. Please make it a point to get this get book for your kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews. In addition, you may choose to purchase one and donate it to your local library, pediatric or primary care office, or childcare center. Let’s all practice sun safety out there daily and all year round.
About Sunny Goes to the Beach
Sunny is a young girl who loves to play outdoors, especially at the beach. Fortunately for Sunny, her parents are sun savvy, modeling and reinforcing best practices for sun protection, including use of sunscreen, sun-protective apparel, and sun gear. Sunny asks to bring her friend, Isla, to the beach. Isla has less experience with sun safety. During this rhyming tale about sand and surf fun, Sunny’s parents educate Sunny and Isla on sun safety through words and actions.
As an added bonus, the book contains “Sun Facts” for parents and caregivers that address common issues, questions, and misconceptions about sun safety. These Sun Facts appear in the margins and provide practical tips for parents and caregivers to protect themselves and their children. The Sun Facts are all derived from guidance from the Skin Cancer Foundation.
About Katherine “Casey” Troutman, FNP
As a dermatology nurse practitioner for more than five years, the range of questions and concerns Casey’s patients, family, and friends brought to her about their skin was incredible. The predominant theme was sun safety, and it became clear that, by and large, neither children nor their parents and caregivers know exactly how to protect themselves.
Books are incredible tools for imprinting behaviors on the minds of children. Not long after reading a story, we hear children repeating a character’s words and imitating her actions. Very few children’s books demonstrate best practices for skin protective behaviors. And parents and caregivers can be overwhelmed with the many pieces of advice they hear or read. A children’s book is a unique way to help children and their parents and caregivers learn together.
Casey also writes about skincare issues on her blog, SkinTranslations.com.
Contact Katherine “Casey” Troutman at SunnyGoesTo@gmail.com for any questions about sun care and purchasing her new book. Her book is also for sale on Amazon.com.
About Davinia Palmer, the Book’s Illustrator
In Swansea, South Wales it rains a lot. Davinia spent those rainy days as a child drawing, painting and making doll houses, and as she recalls, she once made a My Little Pony castle with a drawbridge out of old cereal boxes and wool.
Creativity has always been within her and has shown in her career as a TV and radio host and voice-over artist. However, creating pieces of art is still something she holds very dear to her heart.
Davinia and Casey met met through a very good friend, and Davinia immediately felt drawn to Casey. She states that Casey has a spark and was very passionate about the “Sunny Goes To” book series. When Casey learned about her artistic capabilities, she contacted Davinia to illustrate the project. Davinia was very excited to be involved in this project and to see the book come to fruition. Davinia remarked that, if the book makes it to the stores, watch out for her thumbing a copy at your local Barnes & Nobles.