I was provided with a copy of An Afternoon in Mosquito Lagoon, A New Home For An Old Friend – Responsible Aquarium Stewardship, and The Mangrove Tree Top to Bottom, Bottom to Top . However all opinions are my own.
We love living in Southwest Florida and one of our favorite things, besides the wonderful climate, is that we live in an area that has some truly unique ecosystems. Southwest Florida contains both temperate and tropical plant communities, including sawgrass prairies, mangrove and cypress swamps, pinelands and hardwood hammocks, along with marine and estuarine environments filled with wildlife. Unfortunately many of these coastal ecosystems are threatened by human activities.
It is so important for our children to learn all about the natural world that surrounds them and how their decisions affect those ecosystems and unique environments. It’s not just about preserving the natural beauty of our Southwest Florida beaches, estuaries and other natural habitats, it’s also about understanding that our own survival depends on taking care of the environment. That is why I was trilled to find the Sea Tales books. Founded by Suzie Caffery and Diahn Escue , Sea Tales Inc. focuses on Florida environmental education with an emphasis on environmental stewardship providing educational outreach services for teachers and students in local public schools.
Suzie Caffery and Diahn Escue have also co-written three science based children’s storybooks, An Afternoon in Mosquito Lagoon, A New Home For An Old Friend – Responsible Aquarium Stewardship, and The Mangrove Tree Top to Bottom, Bottom to Top. These books provide a fun and engaging way to teach children about our local environment and how to protect it.
The Mangrove Tree – Top To Bottom, Bottom To Top
The mangrove wetland is a unique setting that provides habitat, or home, for a variety of animals that are all completely dependent on the mangroves for the food, water,and shelter that they provide. Unfortunately mangrove forests are threatened by human activities and protecting them is critical to prevent the extinction of this essential ecosystem. The Mangrove Tree takes young readers through a day in the life of the red mangrove tree. While the tides flow in and out, out and in the animals that live in and around the mangrove go from top to bottom and from bottom to top.
Red mangroves grow around the equator, wrapping their protection around the world. When I moved to Florida from Guatemala I loved finding mangrove forests just like the ones we have in Guatemala. Mangroves hold a very special place in my heart as I remember countless holidays spent at our house on the beach when I was a child and how we would play in the canal paddling our inflatable boat from one mangrove islands to another, hunting for blue crabs in their roots and admiring coastal birds in their branches.
This book with it’s repetitive rhyming text and its beautiful mixed media collage illustrations by Bianca Escue was the perfect way to teach my kids all about the mangroves and the animals that make it it’s home. The book includes an introductions filled with information about the mangrove forests and it’s importance and at the end you will find a description of each of the animals mentioned in the book.
An Afternoon in Mosquito Lagoon
The Mosquito Lagoon Aquatic Preserve is located in southern on the east coast of central Florida. The Mosquito Lagoon is one of the state’s most pristine water bodies. Thousands of acres of shallow seagrass beds, mangrove-covered islands, sand bars, and natural channels characterize the area’s natural habitats which feature a wide variety of fish and wildlife species. The eastern oyster is one of the lagoons most important species, thought by many to be the keystone for Mosquito Lagoon’s survival is currently in trouble.
This book illustrates the importance of oyster beds in Mosquito Lagoon, how these play a crucial part in the lagoon’s ecosystem and how we can help protect the oysters by being cautious around oyster beds. Through bright and colorful illustrations paired with and easy to read and fun text both my kids and I learned a lot about the importance of oyster beds and about Mosquito Lagoon. The book also includes and introduction with information about Mosquito Lagoon and it’s importance and at the end you will find information about each of the animal species that are highlighted in the story.
A New Home for an Old Friend – Responsible Aquarium Stewardship
In Florida most of us are aware of the negative effects of invasive species. Many of these species that ended up in the wild where pets that where released when their owners could not keep them any longer. A New Home for an Old Friend – Responsible Aquarium Stewardship was born out of the need to explain to children the importance of not releasing pets and plants from their fish tanks. A girl who is moving needs to figure out what to do with her fish and the plants in her aquarium as she can not take them along to her new home. The book illustrates the devastating results to the environment when the seaweed Caulerpa and the spiky lionfish where released by humans in the coastal waters.
The book also provides responsible alternatives to release. My children really identifies with this book as we own an aquarium at home and it had never occurred to them that a species released into the “wrong” ecosystem could damage it. This book really sparked conversations about how ecosystems work and how every animal and plant has their place.
About the Authors
Suzie Caffery and Duahn Escue have over 30 years teaching experience and their passion is to share the enjoyment of natural Florida with young children. Their expertise is merging technical science into a fun-loving, whimsical format with formal and hands-on activities that are appropriate for elementary school children. You can read more about them and about their books by visiting www.SeaTalesInc.com. Like them their Facebook page to stay up to date with their latest adventures.