The Sunshine State
Full of Beans by Jennifer L. Holm
There are so many good audiobooks that take place in historical Florida! Many of the books I’ve listened to so far are serious in tone and deal with important but tough issues. This laugh-out-loud book was a nice change of pace. Note: Full of Beans is a prequel to Jennifer Holm’s Newbery Honor book Turtle in Paradise.
Beans Curry, aged 10, lives in Key West, Florida during the Great Depression. Although everyone is poor, life is good for the kids of Key West who are left mostly to their own devices. Beans and his gang are always on the lookout for ways to have fun, make some money and avoid getting caught when up to mischief. Little do they know that big changes are afoot; Key West is about to go bankrupt and Washington is sending in a “New Deal” man to bring in tourism and save the island town. Full of Beans introduces us to Cuban food, games of marbles, Bolita numbers, Conchs and conchs, shady smugglers and harebrained schemes that go awry.
Other excellent Florida books to listen to:
* 90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis.
History Focus: Operation Pedro Pan which brought over 14,000 unaccompanied Cuban children to Florida between 1960 and 1962. Rating: 4.5 stars
* Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer Holm. If you liked Full of Beans, then continue the story with Beans’ cousin, Turtle, who is visiting Key West.
* The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. History Focus: 1938 rural Florida life