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Saving American Beach: The Biography of African American Environmentalist Mavynee Betsch

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30 review for Saving American Beach: The Biography of African American Environmentalist Mavynee Betsch

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lisa (not getting friends updates) Vegan

    Fail! I knew that my “year of no picture books” would fail since Patricia Polacco has a new picture book coming out this October, but I was hoping that would be my only lapse. I found out about this book just today from an email and it was so appealing to me that I checked to see if I could borrow a library e-copy and I was able to get a Kindle edition. 4-1/2 stars – a half star off because I was a bit discomfited by the end and parts toward the end, though the note at the end helped me feel bett Fail! I knew that my “year of no picture books” would fail since Patricia Polacco has a new picture book coming out this October, but I was hoping that would be my only lapse. I found out about this book just today from an email and it was so appealing to me that I checked to see if I could borrow a library e-copy and I was able to get a Kindle edition. 4-1/2 stars – a half star off because I was a bit discomfited by the end and parts toward the end, though the note at the end helped me feel better. In the book proper it seemed sort of sad and not quite pointless but I sort of wondered what we were celebrating. I found the story inspirational and interesting. The language is lyrical and beautiful. I adored the art. I loved it so much that I’d be happy to have it up on my walls. I couldn’t rate the art more highly. Wonderful colors and details and fun to peruse. I never knew about this woman or this beach and I’m glad to have learned of it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dylan Teut

    As I was drawn into the story I was both inspired and amazed, and left wondering, "How have I not heard this story before? How many more stories like this are out there? Who will tell them?" As I was drawn into the story I was both inspired and amazed, and left wondering, "How have I not heard this story before? How many more stories like this are out there? Who will tell them?"

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    Saving American Beach: The Biography of African American Environmentalist Mavynee Betsch is a children's picture book written by Heidi Tyline King and illustrated by Ekua Holmes. It centers on an unsung American hero who used her voice to preserve the natural spaces she loved. MaVynee Betsch was an American environmentalist and an activist. She was better known as The Beach Lady, because she spent the better part of her adult life educating the public on the black history and environmental import Saving American Beach: The Biography of African American Environmentalist Mavynee Betsch is a children's picture book written by Heidi Tyline King and illustrated by Ekua Holmes. It centers on an unsung American hero who used her voice to preserve the natural spaces she loved. MaVynee Betsch was an American environmentalist and an activist. She was better known as The Beach Lady, because she spent the better part of her adult life educating the public on the black history and environmental importance of American Beach. King's text is rather simplistic, straightforward, and informative. King crafts musical prose, skillfully connecting Betsch's musical career with her love of the beach. Backmatter includes an author's and illustrator's notes. Caldecott Honoree Holmes' art, rendered in acrylic and collage, incorporates patterns created from handmade stencils and stamps, resulting in richly multilayered illustrations. The premise of the book is rather straightforward. It profiles MaVynee Betsch, a Black opera singer who devoted herself to maintaining American Beach, which her great-grandfather bought during the Jim Crow era to make it open to everyone. When her mother falls ill, Betsch returns to Florida and, remembering the deteriorated beach’s better days, sets out to protect it, protesting the construction of condos by living there, writing letters to lawmakers, and petitioning the president. All in all, Saving American Beach: The Biography of African American Environmentalist Mavynee Betsch is a spectacular story about a little-known eco-warrior whose story should be told and retold.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jenn Adams

    Fabulous picture book bio of someone that I had never heard of before, but now I'm glad I have. Loved the art (enough that I'm looking up the illustrator's other works) and we learn from a note at the end that a lot of the choices were made very deliberately and thoughtfully. This would be a great read when talking about important women, important Black Americans, or even just environmentalism. The text was well-edited and concise instead of being chunks of text on each page - this makes it so m Fabulous picture book bio of someone that I had never heard of before, but now I'm glad I have. Loved the art (enough that I'm looking up the illustrator's other works) and we learn from a note at the end that a lot of the choices were made very deliberately and thoughtfully. This would be a great read when talking about important women, important Black Americans, or even just environmentalism. The text was well-edited and concise instead of being chunks of text on each page - this makes it so much more accessible to a range of ages. Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    I love when picture books teach me something about history that I had no clue about. This book made me want to visit American Beach in Florida, which is now part of the National Park Service for being a beach that Black Americans could visit during the Jim Crow era.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Peacegal

    A gem! This is the story of how a talented, unique, and determined lady spearheaded a movement to save a very special beach. We need more biographies of African-American defenders of the environment. This one is perfect for a tie-in with Black History, Earth Day, or just because.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ms Threlkeld

    Fascinating! I had never heard of Betsch or American Beach and I am so glad I now know about them.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Aolund

    A moving and informative biography of Black opera singer and environmentalist MaVynee Betsch. Ekua Holmes' illustrations are incredible as always. White author, Black illustrator. A moving and informative biography of Black opera singer and environmentalist MaVynee Betsch. Ekua Holmes' illustrations are incredible as always. White author, Black illustrator.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Keshun

    Beautifully illustrated and inspiring. This book will send you down a magnificent rabbit hole. I loved it!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Edward Sullivan

    Ekua Holmes is the creator of the stunning, lush illustrations in this lyrical, melodically written picture book biography of an opera-singing African American environmentalist and activist who saved American Beach in Florida, established during the Jim Crow era as a place free of segregation.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michele Knott

    A gorgeous book about activism, civil rights, and the environment.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Absolutely stunning illustrations, created with acrylics and collage using patterns fashioned from stencils and stamps that were handmade, fill the pages of this picture book and show the beauty of the ocean and beach near Jacksonville, Florida. I had never heard of MaVynee Betsch and her fight to save American Beach before reading this engaging picture book. She grew up during the period in history where beaches were segregated. Her great-grandfather bought a beach where anyone could go. It bec Absolutely stunning illustrations, created with acrylics and collage using patterns fashioned from stencils and stamps that were handmade, fill the pages of this picture book and show the beauty of the ocean and beach near Jacksonville, Florida. I had never heard of MaVynee Betsch and her fight to save American Beach before reading this engaging picture book. She grew up during the period in history where beaches were segregated. Her great-grandfather bought a beach where anyone could go. It became a playground for the young girl who danced and sang on the shore. Later, when she became an adult MaVynee became an opera singer, touring around the world. She came back home to take care of her mother and realized that the beach she loved so much was in disarray, filled with trash. She began cleaning up the area and spending much of her time among its dunes. When developers eyed the area as a site for condominiums, MaVynee became an activist for saving the site, not just for its natural beauty but its historical value. She grew her hair long and began writing letters to government officials about saving the place. Eventually, American Beach was placed under the administration of the National Park Service as well as being named to the National Register of Historic Places and part of the Florida Black Heritage Trail. What an amazing, brave woman MaVynee was! Readers won't want to miss the backmatter with additional information about her and her environmentalism and how she expressed herself in many creative ways including her clothing, hair, fingernails, and jewelry. As the note from the author makes clear, she channeled her sadness and used her resources for good and for change instead of allowing those negative feelings to overwhelm and destroy her. This is an excellent addition to a collection of biographies or activists or even as an example of how one person can make a difference in the world around him/her/them.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    A lovely children's book -- the story, the illustrations, the theme. Mavynee Betsch is one of those unsung heroes we never learn about in school. She was a successful opera singer who returns home to find the beach of her childhood (American Beach) covered in litter and encroached upon by development. The story is both heartbreaking and uplifting. Heartbreaking that we seem to care so little for our natural environment -- uplifting in that one (1) person can make a difference. Mavynee Betsch did A lovely children's book -- the story, the illustrations, the theme. Mavynee Betsch is one of those unsung heroes we never learn about in school. She was a successful opera singer who returns home to find the beach of her childhood (American Beach) covered in litter and encroached upon by development. The story is both heartbreaking and uplifting. Heartbreaking that we seem to care so little for our natural environment -- uplifting in that one (1) person can make a difference. Mavynee Betsch didn't save all of her beach, but she was successful in saving the tallest sand dune in Florida. The illustrations are a feast for the eyes -- multi-layered collage illustrations enhanced with acrylics. There are shells, trash, and musical notes skipping across the sand, but also a nod to Michelle Obama and some jazz music greats. Inspirational, informative for everyone! Enjoy!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    A beautiful and fascinating picture book biography of opera singer/environmentalist Mavynee Betsch. We stayed on Amelia Island this past spring and a park ranger told us the story of American Beach and the "beach lady" who saved it. We were fascinated and went to visit the beach. It is such a historically rich and interesting story but one that seems largely unnoticed. There is a historical marker and a sign on the main road but very little else seems to be there. I can't help but feel the island A beautiful and fascinating picture book biography of opera singer/environmentalist Mavynee Betsch. We stayed on Amelia Island this past spring and a park ranger told us the story of American Beach and the "beach lady" who saved it. We were fascinated and went to visit the beach. It is such a historically rich and interesting story but one that seems largely unnoticed. There is a historical marker and a sign on the main road but very little else seems to be there. I can't help but feel the island is missing a chance to educate visitors and celebrate this amazing period and equally amazing and determined woman. I am delighted to have read this really gorgeous book with illustrations by Ekua Holmes. An Author and Illustrator's notes appear in the back matter and a few brief sources.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Otis Weah

    MaVynee loved going to the beach. But in the days of Jim Crow, she couldn't just go to any beach--most of the beaches in Jacksonville were for whites only. Knowing something must be done, her grandfather bought a beach that African American families could enjoy without being reminded they were second class citizens; he called it American Beach. Artists like Zora Neale Hurston and Ray Charles vacationed on its sunny shores. It's here that MaVynee was first inspired to sing, propelling her to late MaVynee loved going to the beach. But in the days of Jim Crow, she couldn't just go to any beach--most of the beaches in Jacksonville were for whites only. Knowing something must be done, her grandfather bought a beach that African American families could enjoy without being reminded they were second class citizens; he called it American Beach. Artists like Zora Neale Hurston and Ray Charles vacationed on its sunny shores. It's here that MaVynee was first inspired to sing, propelling her to later become a widely acclaimed opera singer who routinely performed on an international stage. But her first love would always be American Beach.

  16. 5 out of 5

    June

    Once again I learned something about which I was totally ignorant. Growing up during segregation Mavynee learns that even the ocean and beaches can be denied her. Then her great-grandfather buys a beach and makes it open to everyone. Mavynee becomes an operatic star singing from London to Berlin. When her mother becomes sick she returns home and when her mother dies Mavynee retreats to the beach. When developers start on American Beach Mavynee becomes a protestor.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Candy Garner

    Teachers...grab your copy today! As an educator who works with students of all ages, my mind raced with the many activities which could be presented to students as I read this inspiring story and the topics addressed on these pages. From equity for all, to protecting our beautiful earth, the learning possibilities are endless. Both words and illustrations are inspiring, leaving the reader with a desire to make the world a better place.

  18. 5 out of 5

    V Dixon

    I love this book because it is timely with the Black family being rewarded the California beach that was taken from their ancestors in 1924. With this book, people of all ages can remember there is so much history that we still are learning. It is also a good book to have for Earth Day and other Environmental centric occasions. And for the upcoming and rising activist this book will add fuel to their desires to do good for the right reasons.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bookish

    Spectacular collage illustrations highlight the natural elements of MaVynee Betsch's biography. A fascinating peek into the life of an accomplished singer who turned her sights to environmental activism on behalf of a waterfront area her family had developed during the Jim Crow era. Spectacular collage illustrations highlight the natural elements of MaVynee Betsch's biography. A fascinating peek into the life of an accomplished singer who turned her sights to environmental activism on behalf of a waterfront area her family had developed during the Jim Crow era.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Pauline

    Beautiful collage work tells this important story of finding your voice and protecting Mother Earth.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    EARC provided by Edelweiss Plus This is an excellent biography accompanied by a Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    Beautiful illustrations and a moving story for children and adults.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Andréa

    Note: I accessed a digital review copy of this book through Edelweiss.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Katelynne

    Love Ekua Holmes's art as always. A good introduction, though I wish some of the backmatter had been included in the story. Love Ekua Holmes's art as always. A good introduction, though I wish some of the backmatter had been included in the story.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tallulah King

    So good!! The pictures are beautiful and tell a story

  26. 4 out of 5

    Elisabeth

    4.5 stars. Gorgeous illustrations masterfully paint the story of this remarkable woman and her legacy.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Trevor

    I love picture books about little-known people and events in history. This book is a delight!

  28. 5 out of 5

    N

    What a fascinating life trajectory- definitely leaves me wanting to know more

  29. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

    Reading for the Mock Caldecott Awards to be held in January 2022. A biography of an environmentalist that I had no knowledge of and would like to read more about her. Mavynee Betsch loved the beach as a child even though she and her family never thought there should be a rope diving whites from colored. So, her dad bought a beach and everyone was welcome. When she got older she traveled and sang opera to entertain the world but she never lost her love of the beach. When she returned home, her fa Reading for the Mock Caldecott Awards to be held in January 2022. A biography of an environmentalist that I had no knowledge of and would like to read more about her. Mavynee Betsch loved the beach as a child even though she and her family never thought there should be a rope diving whites from colored. So, her dad bought a beach and everyone was welcome. When she got older she traveled and sang opera to entertain the world but she never lost her love of the beach. When she returned home, her family's beach had fallen into disrepair and she proceeded to fight to revitalize and maintain it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Oona

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