‘Full of Beans’ by Jennifer L. Holm: Historical fiction about a boy, the Depression and life on Key West


With “Full of Beans,” Jennifer L. Holm adds another entry to her collection of humorous, clever, and touching middle grade books. Beans is the colorful main character who lives with his family in Key West during the Great Depression. Beans and some of the other characters were first introduced in Holm’s award-winning “Turtle in Paradise.”

The year is 1934, and this is a Key West like no modern tourist would ever believe. Broken-down wooden shacks, rotting garbage  in the streets, bankruptcy, shysters, smugglers, and barefoot kids abound when President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal comes to town.

Men in their underwear (according to Beans who had never seen white Bermuda shorts before — apparently the rage during that time) roam the streets of Key West trying to convince the residents to donate their services to make the island touristy.

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