The shapes and styles of Miami Beach’s Art Deco architecture are featured in the informative and delightful children’s book Deco Design: Miami Beach Style.
Paging through this book, featuring photos of prominent Miami Beach buildings like The Carlyle, The Cavalier, and The Crescent, is like taking a walking tour of the area—minus the heat and exertion. Written in simple rhyming language, the book highlights elements common to Art Deco and introduces unfamiliar terms like “terrazzo floor” and “ziggurat” with clear, concise examples.
The book begins with a photo of the pastel-colored building The Webster. Writes author Isabel Hill: “In this place on the seaside, blue and sandy/ buildings are the color of cotton candy.” Another spread features wavy horizontal lines on a building, noting “Like waves coming ashore, they do not connect./ Horizontal lines make this Deco effect.”
Hill, an architectural historian and photographer, highlights a key design component in each verse, such as “color” and “Horizontal lines” in the examples above. These are paired with small representative icons to help children recognize the architectural features in the photographs.
The book concludes with a two-page visual summary of all the Art Deco details and prompts children to go back and find multiple features in each photograph. There’s also a list of the buildings included, along with their addresses and the names of the architects who designed them.
Aside from focusing on unusual subjects for children—architecture and design—the book stands out for its polished look. The photographs are excellent, whether postcard-worthy shots of full exteriors or closer, intimate images of specific Art Deco details. Always kid-friendly, the writing imparts information in a fun, down-to-earth way: “In Miami Beach, buildings have a special flair./ Colors, lines, and shapes are the elements they share.”
An outstanding introduction to the Art Deco style, Deco Design: Miami Beach Style will surely spark in children—and adults—a greater appreciation for the unique buildings of the area.