This beautifully photographed book is a wonderful introduction to the Everglades for children. Author Trish Marx and photographer Cindy Karp have created a book that has accessible text for middle-grade readers and stunning photography. The medium that drives this exploration of the Everglades is a class trip based on a real class: Ms. Stone’s fifth grade class at Avocado Elementary in Homestead, Florida. Ms. Stone has been teaching about the Everglades and its conservation for over twenty years.
Through the class’ explorations, the reader learns about the physical space of the Everglades: the flow of the water, the unique plants that live there, the animals whose lives depend on the plants, the water, and each other, and finally, the importance of the Everglades to humans.
The Miccosukee Indians who live in the Everglades believe in the circle of life and the interconnectedness of all living things. Their lifestyle has been threatened by the activities of settlers who drained the swampland to farm and whose fertilizers polluted the water. Soon, other people began to see that the destruction of the Everglades was a problem for all people. In 1993, the Miccosukee joined with environmental protection agencies and other interested parties to bring lawsuits against the state of Florida over the way the state was enforcing the federal Clean Water Act of 1972. As a result, in 1994 the Florida legislature passed a new law—the Everglades Forever Act—and plans were made to reclaim the Everglades from the damage that had been done to it.
Although this is a lengthy and expensive project, everyone now understands how vital the Everglades are to all of us. Most importantly, students everywhere, like those of Ms. Stone, are coming to understand that it will be their job when they grow up to protect this amazing, biodiverse environment unlike any other on earth. This book includes both a bibliography and web sources to help students learn more about what is being done to reclaim the Everglades and what they can do to help. The glossary helps readers understand the important terms mentioned in the text. A free teacher’s guide is available at leeandlow.com/teachers/guide42.html. 40 pages
Recommended by Shari Shaw, B.A., M.L.I.S., Michigan, USA