A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Brings to life the story of environmentalist MaVynee Betsch, a true hidden figure. While many Americans are familiar with segregation in the Jim Crow era, this book tells the unique story of an inclusive beach in Florida that has a rich history, and the woman who dedicated her life to saving it. Other historical figures such as Joe Louis, Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, and Zora Neale Hurston are also mentioned or illustrated in the book.
Positive messages about respecting and protecting nature and its beauty. Your voice is strong and mighty, so you shouldn't be afraid to use it when you know "something must be done." It's important to stand up for the change you want to see in the world.
Positive Role Models
Real-life environmentalist MaVynee Betsch's activism, dedication, and perseverance are displayed throughout the book. Her grandfather Abraham Lincoln Lewis' enterprising nature helped him become Florida's first African American millionaire, allowing him to purchase American Beach in the 1930s.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Saving American Beach is, by Heidi Tyline King, and colorfully illustrated by Caldecott Honoree Ekua Holmes, is a biographical picture book inspired by the real-life story of African American environmentalist MaVynee Betsch. It tells the story of when her grandfather knew "something must be done" about racially segregated beaches in Florida, and purchased American Beach to be an inclusive place for everyone to enjoy. The beach becomes a flourishing landmark, but years later when MaVynee returns to Florida after her international career as an opera singer, she finds that the beach has been neglected and forgotten about. The rest of the book details her commitment to preserving her family's legacy, and protecting the beach.
Is It Any Good?
This stunning biography has an important message for readers, as it shares a lesser known piece of history about a landmark beach through captivating words and brightly colored art. Ekua Holmes' collage-like illustrations layer in musical notes, prints, maps, and newspaper clippings to bring a greater sense of realism to Saving American Beach. Author Heidi Tyline King uses metaphors and similes to create a sensory experience for readers, with a sense of musical influence. MaVynee's journey inspires readers to think about their potential to advocate for change and become activists in their own right. The effortless inclusion of other significant Black figures, such as Mauri Leighton and Ray Charles, enhances the book's educational qualities.
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