Written By: Sandra Neil Wallace
Illustrated by: Rebecca Gibbon
For Ages: 4-8 years
Topics Covered: Activism, Feminism, Science, Pint-Sized Professor, Environmental Activism, Sustainability, Nature, Historical Figure.
Summary: Happy Saturday! For #sweetsandsocialjustice this week I might have gone a little overboard, but I was inspired by the most recent episode of GBBO and made a Battenberg! I wanted to create the Everglades with cake, and hopefully I’ve accomplished that (and if not, at least it was still very tasty). I modeled the cake after a scene in the book where Marjory sees the Everglades from above, and is mesmerized by it.
Marjory was a young girl who lived with her mother, aunt, and grandparents in Taunton, Massachusetts. When she was young she had the opportunity to go with her father on a visit to Florida, where she fell in love with everything about it. After a failed marriage and a college degree, Marjory left Massachusetts and moved to Florida, where her father had started a newspaper. Marjory became a journalist and wrote news stories until enlisting in the Navy during WWI. Upon returning to Florida, Marjory noticed that the Everglades had changed, and not for the better.
This became the catalyst for Marjory’s lifelong goal of saving the Everglades. She knew in her heart that the Everglades were a unique ecosystem and even discovered that it’s not a swamp, it’s actually a river! Marjory began environmental groups, community organizer, and general nuisance to would-be developers of the Everglades. She not only got it declared a national park, but also the biggest natural regeneration project in American history, getting developers to reverse the detrimental engineering they had done over the last few decades. This book is fantastic, and goes in-depth about a badass environmental activist that had monumental impacts on policy and created lasting change for this unique and mosquito-filled habitat in Florida.
Recipe: Super Sweet White Birthday Cake
1c sugar (for a less sweet cake, you can use 3/4c if you want)
1 stick butter
2t vanilla extract
1.5c all-purpose flour
1.5t baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 and prepare a 9×9 cake pan. Cream together butter and sugar, and then add eggs one by one followed by vanilla. Whisk together flour and baking powder, and add. Slowly stream in milk and beat until smooth. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until cake tester/toothpick comes out clean.
SANDRA NEIL WALLACE IS AN AUTHOR AND ADVOCATE for change. Known for her investigative journalism and original narrative style, her books for young readers focus on people who break barriers and change the world. As the daughter of a refugee and concentration camp survivor, Sandra became a changemaker herself. The first generation in her family to attend university, she became a journalist, anchoring the network news before shattering the glass ceiling in sports television as the first woman to host an NHL broadcast on national TV. Her books have won national awards including NCTE’s Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction, SCBWI’s Golden Kite Honor Award, ILA’s Social Justice Literature Award, and been chosen as Best Books by the American Library Association, Kirkus, Booklist, and the New York and Chicago Public Libraries.
Sandra became a U.S. citizen in 2016 and advocates for social responsibility in her community as a co-founder of the Keene International Festival and The Daily Good, a non-profit making the daily lives of community members better. An advisor to the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College, she is the recipient of the 2019 Outstanding Women of New Hampshire Award for peace & nonviolence and the Keene Sentinel’s Extraordinary Women Award. Sandra lives in New Hampshire with her husband and frequent collaborator, author Rich Wallace.