I was in college (early to mid-1990’s) when I first heard of Earth Day. Yet, it was started in the 1970’s. How did I miss this event all those years? I mean around 20 or more years this event had been celebrated. In the end, maybe it is not important when I learned about it, but that I did and I partake in the events. But if you are interested in a little background in why it started, this picture book (by Shaunna and John Stith), is a great start.
Black Beach: A Community, an Oil Spill, and the Origin of Earth Day is a picture book, but it has a lot packed into it. The events are based on the path to the first Earth Day. We find out how it started via a girl named Sam. One horrific event made a young girl who loved nature and the beach to want to take action in cleaning up the mess. And she, the adults, and finally the country. And while Sam is not a real person, there were a lot of people like Sam who came in all shapes, sizes, colors, and ages. Important names are used as well as Sam, her family, friends, and community.
Maribel Lechuga created illustrations that were rich, and bold. The colors and details pop off the page. Things are busy, but not necessarily overcrowded. They are sweet, and powerful. The cover is what caught my eye and shows the main pieces of the puzzle. I like that it represents the mid-late 1960’s, but still keeps it fresh.