About the Book:
Title: Marjory Saves the Everglades: The Story of Marjory Stoneman Douglas
Author: Sandra Neil Wallace
Illustrator: Rebecca Gibbon
Pub. Date: September 22, 2020
Beagles and Books is thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Marjory Saves the Everglades: The Story of Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Special thanks to Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas didn’t intend to write about the Everglades but when she returned to Florida from World War I, she hardly recognized the place that was her home. The Florida that Marjory knew was rapidly disappearing—the rare orchids, magnificent birds, and massive trees disappearing with it.
Marjory couldn’t sit back and watch her home be destroyed—she had to do something. Thanks to Marjory, a part of the Everglades became a national park and the first park not created for sightseeing, but for the benefit of animals and plants. Without Marjory, the part of her home that she loved so much would have been destroyed instead of the protected wildlife reserve it has become today.
Truth. Before I read Marjory Save the Everglades, I was not aware of this woman’s remarkable contribution to ecology. This is why Sandra Neil Wallace’s picture book biography is such a great addition to classroom libraries, school libraries, and public libraries.
Wallace’s lyrical and conversational text begins by telling how a young Marjory first fell in love with Florida after a visit to the sunshine state with her father. Gibbons’ warm, nostalgic illustrations complement the text well showing Marjory’s curiosity and enthusiasm to keep learning.
As an adult, Marjory has an opportunity to return to Florida and work as a reporter for the Miami Herald, her father’s newspaper. As the only woman reporter, she writes about issues that were important to her.
During World War I, her passion to help remained strong first enlisting in the navy and joining the Red Cross. When she returned to Florida, developers and speculators had taken control of the Everglades, which did not sit well with Marjory; she knew the area must be preserved but how can she convince others?
After a trip through the Everglades on a houseboat, Marjory was able to witness its true glory. Flying in a giant balloon, among many birds, high above the Everglades finally convinced park officials that the area was worth saving. The Everglades became a national park. In later years, Margory discovered that the Everglades wasn’t a swamp, but a river of grass which changed people’s perception about the land which so many plants and animals called home.
Before she died at the age of 108, Marjory created Friends of the Everglades and due to her advocacy, she not only stopped a jetport from being built in the middle of the land but convinced the government to restore the Everglades which was the largest restoration project in history.
After reading this picture book biography, I was astounded that I had never heard of Marjory Stoneman Douglas before. Marjory Saves the Everglades is an inspirational story reminding us all that we have the power to make a difference. Her curiosity and willingness to ask questions and seek information was vital to her success. Persistence was also important because one of Marjory’s quotes was “Be a nuisance. Never give up.” As I read this biography, I especially enjoyed the actual quotes from Marjory that were shared every few pages. These quotes conveyed her determination and passion for her cause.
What I loved most about reading is even after the Everglades became a national park, Marjory still continued to fight for its protection at 80 years ago battling sight and hearing issues. The back matter includes an author’s note, a visual glossary of animals and plants living in the Everglades, tips for protecting the environment, additional resources about Marjory, a timeline of her life and additional sources.
Praise for Marjory Saves the Everglades!
About the Author:
Sandra Neil Wallace hopes that her stories inspire readers as much as they inspire her. Her book The Teachers March! How Selma’s Teachers Changed History was written with her husband, Rich Wallace, and has received three starred reviews to date. Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes Went From the Football Field to the Art Gallery received the Orbis Pictus Book Award, was an ALA Notable Book and a Booklist Top 10 Biography for Youth. Formerly, Sandra was an ESPN reporter and was the first woman to host an NHL broadcast. She continues to break barriers as co-founder of DailyGoodNH.org and lives with her family in New Hampshire. To learn more and to download free activity kits and other resources, visit SandraNeilWallace.com or check out her social media accounts below.
Facebook: Sandra Neil Wallace
On Instagram: @sandraneilwallace
One lucky winner will receive a copy of Marjory Saves the Everglades, courtesy of Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (U.S. addresses only). This giveaway is open from Friday, September 25, 2020 through Friday, October 2, 2020 ending at 10:00 p.m. EST. Please note that book may take longer to ship so patience is appreciated.