The rush of waves hitting the coast, the sun setting over an endless horizon and the warmth of a mountainous backdrop all created an experience that Bonnie Carroll could never forget. Although she moved away, Carroll came back to Malibu through the eyes of a little turtle born into a family of proud turtles who have lived near the Malibu Colony for generations.
By Sylvie Belmond/Staff Writer
The sea lured Bonnie Carroll to Malibu in 1977 and grief brought her heart back to Malibu Colony, where she created a children’s book that portrays the life of a turtle who lives in Malibu Lagoon.
“C.C. Charles” is about Cross Creek Charlie who lives on the beach by Malibu Colony where he befriends other sea faring creatures and meets native Chumash Indians and Malibu surfers. The story touches on the history of Malibu as Charlie tells the story of the many children who have visited the beach over past generations. The book also tells of a kind of beach bliss that is handed down from generation-to-generation, which fosters a feeling that is treasured by all critters, big and small, that are blessed to live by the seaside.
“C.C. tells about the love of the ocean that people have in Malibu,” said Carroll. “It’s about the pleasure and the magic of living at the beach.”
When she lived in Malibu, Carroll resided on Point Dume, but she chose the Colony as C.C. Charlie’s home because it is historically the center of the city. She also chose this part of Malibu for the storyline because she wanted C.C. Charles to be an ambassador for that portion of the coast that was home to her friend, Ivan Goff, who resided in the Colony and was the co-creator of the original “Charlie’s Angels” television series.
“My mother and dear friend, Ivan Goff, passed away within six months of each other, and I found myself awake in the middle of the night writing and illustrating the book ‘C.C. Charles,'” explained Carroll.
“Maybe the child in me created this to heal,” said Carroll.
“Originally, ‘C.C. Charles’ started as an idea for a television show,” said Carroll, who was on the board of directors for the Malibu Chamber of Commerce. “It was going to be a history show about Malibu.”
Writing for children is a new endeavor for Carroll, who is the mother of four and grandmother of three. The Beverly Hills-based public relations professional has a background in journalism. She was ahead of the times when she wrote an article about the plight of women under Taliban rule for “Beverly Hills 90210,” a community news magazine, before the Sept. 11 attacks.
When she lived in Malibu, Carroll was a member of the original group of founding docents who worked at the Malibu Lagoon Museum when it opened in 1982. She also managed press operations at Pepperdine University during the 1984 Olympics.
“She has been dedicated to Malibu and its people,” said Paul Flowers, a friend of Carroll, who was active in the region’s political affairs before Malibu became a city.
Carroll moved to Beverly Hills to be closer to her work. But the distance has not diminished her love for Malibu’s coastline and lifestyle.
In an effort to be environmentally conscious, Carroll chose a different route to publish her book. “C.C. Charles” is not presented in the standard format by which books are published. For the sake of preserving trees, the book can only be found on the Internet, at 1stbooks.com, where readers can print the pages in a variety of ways.
It offers interactive use for readers.
“They can be included in what I created,” noted Carroll.
“I think it’s a great children’s book,” said Jena Chanel, from the City of Malibu television channel. “It keeps children in touch with the ocean and sea life.
“It’s a venue for children to understand how important it is to clean the bay,” she said. “Just like Smokey the Bear is an ambassador to help prevent forest fires, Charlie helps to create an awareness about pollution prevention.”
The environmentally conscious endeavor is also designed to help the ocean locally, as 10 percent of the proceeds from the sale of the book will go to Heal the Bay, a nonprofit organization founded in 1985 to provide research, education and community action to help clean up Santa Monica Bay.