Summer of 2018 was a wakeup call to issues impacting Southwest Florida’s water quality. Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders. These three books will inspire young readers to protect Florida’s water quality.
Teach People to Love Something
For months during 2018, more than 100 miles of Florida’s Southwest Gulf Coast was plagued with the Karenia brevis harmful algal bloom (red tide) which caused respiratory issues and killed millions of sea life. Red tide also touch a bit of the Florida Panhandle and Florida’s East Coast, although not to the same degree as Southwest Florida. For good or not, 2018 was an election year which elevated the issue of Florida’s water quality. There are steps to improve it and one way is through education.
“If you teach people to love something, they’ll take care of it,” is a phrase Capt. Marian Schneider’s daddy told her while growing up in Boca Grande. Capt. Marian, a pioneer in Charlotte County ecotourism, published the book There’s a Captain in You. In it, she explains how her daddy’s words shaped her perception of the world around her. His words influenced her decision to share her love of the local waterways with the public in hopes they will appreciate and take care of it.
Adults teach children to love something, and so can books. The following three books introduce young readers to Florida’s marine environment and teach them to love, appreciate, and protect the world around them.
One in a Thousand: Those Amazing Sea Turtles, by University of Florida
Seven species of sea turtles remain in the world, flatback, green, hawksbill, leatherback, loggerhead, olive ridley, and Kemp’s ridley. One in a Thousand: Those Amazing Turtles, is a science-based, chapter book introduces youth and adult readers to their biology and ecology. It addresses climate change and the effects on sea turtles and marine life. The book also addresses efforts by scientists and wildlife conservationists to protect sea turtles.
One in a Thousand is written by a team of marine education experts and includes photos and detailed illustrations. Included is a turtle glossary to assist in understanding scientific terminology. Ideal for fifth graders, it can be a resource for a book report or group project. Learn more ifasbooks.ifas.ufl.edu
Priscilla and The Plastic Pirate: An Ocean Care Club Adventure (Ocean Care Club Series Book 1) by Lisa Chavis & Cheryl MacDonald
Since 2007, Florida-based authors Lisa Chavis and Cheryl MacDonald have explored the world by housesitting and becoming part of a community. A purple, stuffed octopus serves as their mascot and appears in many of their travel photos.
Ms. Chavis and Ms. MacDonald care about the planet and seek ways to make it better. Through Priscilla, the Practically Perfect Purple Octopus, and the Ocean Care Club, the authors educate young readers about the problem of plastics in the ocean in the book Priscilla and The Plastic Pirate: An Ocean Care Club Adventure.
The first in a series, Priscilla and friends confront the Plastic Pirate and teach the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling plastics. At the end of the book, readers can join the Ocean Care Club by taking a pledge and printing out a certificate. Learn more on Facebook.
Mary Margaret Manatee and Mary Margaret La Manati (Spanish) by Lucy Tobias
The colorfully illustrated book, featuring artwork by Ms. Tobias, follows the adventures of a young Florida manatee and her land-based and aquatic friends. She doesn’t look like the other manatees and that’s okay because she’s comfortable with being herself.
Mary Margaret Manatee educates readers on how to save the manatee and encourages children to think how they can preserve their local environment and the value of persistence. Within the pages is a Florida manatee study guide section with resources, trivia, and other fun activities. The book is also available in Spanish and is called Mary Margaret la Manati. Learn more www.lucytobias.com.
Now more than ever, Floridians are concerned about the health of the state’s environment and water quality. Share what you love with today’s youth so it will be here tomorrow.
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