Some popular children’s books about Florida are “The Yearling” by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, “Strawberry Girl” by Lois Lenski, and “The Wahoo Bobcat” by Joseph Lippincott. More contemporary titles include “Turtle in Paradise” by Jennifer L. Holm, and Carl Hiasssen’s “Scat” and “Hoot.”
Considered a classic in Florida children’s literature, “The Yearling” (1938) by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings is set in Depression-era, rural north Florida. A coming-of-age story about Jody, a young boy from a subsistence-farming family, “The Yearling” examines childhood sacrifice.
Based on research she gathered from Florida Crackers, Lois Lenski’s 1945 novel “Strawberry Girl” – winner of a Newbery Award – is set in central Florida, a realistic story about Cracker folk ways. Birdie Boyer, whose family farms strawberries, befriends Shoestring Slater, whose pet pony tramples the Boyer’s crop. Published in 1950, “The Wahoo Bobcat” by naturalist Joseph Lippincott tells the adventures of a 9-year-old boy who befriends a bobcat on a water prairie in central Florida.
Jennifer L. Holm’s novel “Turtle in Paradise” (2010) is about a girl named Turtle sent to live in Key West when her mother finds work. Set during the Great Depression, “Turtle in Paradise” is a Newbery Honor book. Florida writer Carl Hiassen’s buddy stories “Hoot” (2005) – friends bent on saving a family of burrowing owls – and “Scat” (2012) – classmates searching for their missing biology teacher – are set in Coconut Grove and the Everglades, respectively.