St. Pete author combines passion for art, sea animals in children's book series

Okalani the octopus is a colorful learning series of books with original artwork which was created by Shelly Augsbury. The idea for the book series came to Augsbury one day during the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic while out painting her fence. 

She painted a variety of sea life, but one particular creature really stood out: An octopus. From that moment on, Okalani the octopus was born. 

"All these books are based on behavior and building strong smart social skills, from friendship, to pet's responsibility and even money," Augsbury said.

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When Augsbury embarked on this book series, she never thought it would blossom the way it did. Her books have become extremely popular, and she's been reading her books to children at museums and even at hospitals to lift sick kids spirits. 

Augsbury is also a working artist, and she has done all the illustrations inside the book.

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"Each one is like a little art book," Augsbury said. "They are all illustrated and all the words on the pages are big, so the children can read it and I even add a little bit of adult humor into the books just to give the parents a chuckle."

Augsbury's books definitely embrace what's going on in Florida, especially in Tampa Bay. A lot of her story lines are based around Tampa Bay, and the sea life that calls it home.