Tag Archives: Karen T. Bartlett

Naples writer-photographer follows up on award-winning travel book

A (mostly) Kids’ Guide to Sanibel & Captiva Islands and the Fort Myers Coast, by Karen T. Bartlett. Mostly Kids Guides LLC. 80 pages. Oversized paperback $19.95.

Wow is the word for this second entry in Karen T. Bartlett’s Mostly Kids Guides series. And while these dazzling, humorous, and information-packed books are aimed at kids, even a 75-year-old like yours truly can enjoy them. What’s not to like? sancapcovernov2016

An intense color palette, high-energy graphics, and the friendly voice of a caring story-teller combine with a treasure trove of data and plenty of kid friendly attitude.

This book is as thorough as 80 oversized pages can be while keeping the focus on children, their parents, and grandparents. Excitement is everywhere, as are helpful hints. Ms. Bartlett also includes quirky quiz questions to keep readers engaged.

Maps help set the scene, and abundant photographs detail it and stimulate our appetites for exploration.

Manatees, roseate spoonbills, iguanas, loggerhead turtles, bald eagles, and all kinds of regional animal life parade through the books. All the places that offer environmental education (and there are far more than you’d think) are lovingly described. Places that are just plain fun are enumerated with fondness and precision.


Annual festivals, pirate lore, the distinctions of the various beaches, local transportation, Indian mounds, fishing guides, miniature golf, picnic spots – it’s all here.

And there’s more than just what’s indicated in the title. The other barrier islands that protect the Fort Myers coast also receive attention: Cabbage Key, Gasparilla Island, Pine Island, and Cayo Costa are on the itinerary of the imagination. So is the “sand castle capital of the universe,” better known as Fort Myers Beach, with all its vacation attractions. It takes up Estero Island. On another Island is Lovers Key State Park, whose joys Ms. Bartlett sings.

There’s plenty here, as well, about “mainland” Fort Myers.

Can you overuse works like ”fantastic?” Just in case, Karen Bartlett indulges her penchant for coinages such as “sand-sational” and “ginormous.” She’s got a gazillion of them! A kind of laugh-out-loud, raucous music for a child’s ear. Hey, if the kids are laughing, then the adults who are taking them through the wonders of this stretch of Southwest Florida are going to be happy too. . . .

To read the entire review, as it appears in the February 8, 2017 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the February 9 Naples, Bonita Springs, and Palm Beach editions, click here: Florida Weekly – Kids’ Guide to Sanibel & Captiva

You can buy this book online and at many area shops, including: Barnes & Noble – all three stores: Naples, Estero & Fort Myers.


Cottontails Children’s Boutique, Collier County Museum (main)


 Sunshine Booksellers

Lee County

Annette’s Book Nook – Fort Myers Beach, Bailey’s General Store – Sanibel, Edison and Ford Winter Estates – Fort Myers, Gene’s Books – Sanibel, MacIntosh Books & Paper – Sanibel, Nanny’s Childrens Shoppe – Sanibel, The Shell Factory – North Fort Myers, Traders Gulf Coast Grill & Gifts – Sanibel, Tween Waters Inn Island Resort – Captiva, South Seas Island Resort – Captiva



Naples-based publishing company Mostly Kids Guides, LLC took top honors in Salt Lake City this past spring in the IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) Benjamin Franklin Awards. The winning book, earning the Silver award for travel, was “A (mostly) Kids’ Guide to Naples, Marco Island & The Everglades.” It was the only travel book among the top three winners featuring a U.S. destination. The other two winning books featured Paris and Naples, Italy. sticker art interior for mockup

With over 3,000 members, IBPA is the largest publishing trade association in the U.S. The Benjamin Franklin Awards are among the highest honors in the industry.”

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Naples guidebook geared to kids colors facts with fun

A (Mostly) Kids’ Guide to Naples, Marco Island & The Everglades, by Karen T. Bartlett. Mostly Kids’ Guides LLC. 80 pages. $18.95.

There’s nothing square about this 8 X 8 inch high-energy book. It’s the hip answer to youngsters who visit Naples and say, “I’m bored. What are we going to do?” The book features snappy page design, a full color palette, lively text, plus attractive photographs and other illustrations. Mostly, it just explodes with delicious information about this corner of Southwest Florida with a focus on children’s activities. Feedback from the Naples tourism industry has been exuberant, and the author-publisher already has plans for other regional Kids’ Guide books. KidsGuide2015_Final_FRONT_Cover

The guide begins with a colorful burst of images tied to interesting facts about some of the area’s hallmark critters and plant life. Then we are off on a romp that samples fun at the beaches (all five of them) and continues with an exploration of places that make nature education and preservation fun: the Conservancy, the Naples Zoo, and the Shy Wolf Sanctuary among them.

Everywhere, the text offers a child-friendly voice with good natured wit. Ms. Bartlett bills herself as the “Adventurer in Chief,” and no child, parent, or grandparent will deny the powerful appeal of her upbeat, lighthearted guidance.

What else is on the kids’ tour? Well, there is the Naples Bay / Tin City area, a ride on the Naples Princess, the shops on Fifth Avenue South (with a lingering glance at Regina’s Ice Cream Pavilion), the dog-friendly Third Street Shops, the various city and county parks, the Naples Depot Museum, the Naples Botanical Gardens, the Galisano Children’s Museum, the Florida Sports Park, and many other close-in destinations.

Then the book opens to a wider view, introducing highlights in and near Immokalee, including the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and the Roberts Ranch. Ms. Bartlett teases her readers with fascinating bits of Native American history along the way.



Marco Island receives attention for its shelling and other beaches, along with tempting descriptions of parasailing, helicopter trips, and waverunner fun. Readers younger and older are invited to visit Keewaydin Island and Cape Romano. Look out for the gopher tortoises and spiny tail iguanas. Don’t miss the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and the triangular fish that “looks like a bat with warts, with lipstick-colored lips.” Go on a fishing trip. Visit Mackle Park.

Then get ready for the Everglades.

Airboats on the river of grass, alligators, manatees, Seminole and Miccosukee Indians, hammocks you don’t sleep in, Billie Swamp Safari, Skunk Ape Headquarters, Everglades City and its historical museum, Big Cypress National Preserve, Collier Seminole State Park, Clyde Butscher’s gallery, and countless varieties of beautiful birds – is there no end to this place for family’s to enjoy while they learn?

To read the entire review, as it appears in the March 25, 2015 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the March 26 Naples, Bonita Springs, and Punta Gorda/Port Charlotte editions, click here  Florida Weekly – Bartlett 1 and here Florida Weekly – Bartlett 2 

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Paradise by the book

Journey Through Paradise: Naples, Marco Island & The Everglades, photographs by Alan S. Maltz with a narrative by Karen T. Bartlett. Light Flight Publications. 144 pages. $60.

This gorgeous coffee-table collection of fine art photographs would be an attraction for any lover of the natural environment as interpreted by a watchful and skillful photographer. For those who make their homes or take their vacations in Southwest Florida, it has the added attraction of capturing the particular flavor of our slice of the Sunshine State. That Alan Maltz brings to his meticulous craft a unique vision and a master’s signature of style makes this new book truly a portfolio of pleasure.  Journey Through Paradise - Naples, Marco Island & The Everglades

Though there is much energy in the play of light and shadow in Mr. Maltz’s work, it is held in check by a prevailing calm – a respectful stillness.  This effect comes in part from the artist’s preferred working times. Shooting at daybreak or sundown, he can find places that at those times are uncluttered by human activity. This, of course, is less of an issue at an unpopulated place like the Big Cypress Swamp and more of a concern in tightly packed residential and commercial areas.

Alan Maltz seeks the striking, enhancing moments during which the light is just right in its color, intensity, and angle, and the subject is perfectly revealed. This means being alert to seize upon the best opportunities that come along. His “drive – stop – shoot” method depends upon being ready for good luck. It is our good luck that readiness is part of his skill set.

Alan S. Maltz

Alan S. Maltz

We expect artists to give the familiar a sense of freshness, to change our way of seeing. One way in which Alan Maltz accomplishes this end is through giving us unexpected perspectives. On occasion, he shoots down from an elevated perspective, as in the spectacular “Fifth Avenue Overview,” that allows us to see the iconic neighborhood anew.

Another way of changing perspective is by employing the fisheye lens, taking advantage of its hemispherical or concave distortion to create what he calls “otherworldly” images. “Beach Dreams,” a Marco Island view, is one such scene. Mr. Maltz’s photographs of the familiar Naples Museum of Art and of Artis-Naples transform these structures in fascinating ways.

A major portion of Collier County is represented in the selected photographs. Settings include not only the major communities and wildlife preserves, but also Immokalee, Chokoloskee, Ochopee, Everglades City, Keewayden Island, and Corkscrew Swamp. Residential and commercial Naples (but with people absent) is abundantly included, as are such adjacent natural /recreational sites as Clam Pass, Gordon Pass, and Delnore Wiggins State Park.

Among the glories of this collection are two “books within a book.” Clearly two places of beauty that tempted and challenged Mr. Maltz beyond the others are Big Cypress Swamp and Naples Botanical Garden. “Violet Is the Night” is a breathtaking panoramic view in Big Cypress – one of many stunning long views and middle range views.

Karen T. Barlett

Karen T. Barlett

This photographer is also a magi of the close-up. “Shades of Blue” brilliantly reveals the coloration of the Little Blue Heron in light-streaked shadow, as well as the color of her eggs. “The Gatekeepers” captures the protective sternness of two Burrowing Owls (discovered on Marco Island). “Nature By Design” celebrates the patterns and hues of a Dutchman’s Pipe blossom at the Naples Botanical Garden . . . .

To read this review in full, as it appears in (as feature article) in the November 14, 2013 Naples Florida Weekly, click here: Florida Weekly – Maltz 1, here: Florida Weekly – Maltz 2, and here: Florida Weekly – Maltz 3. 

In truncated form, it also appears in the November 14 Fort Myers edition and the November 13 Bonita Springs edition.


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BOOK BEAT 45 – Karen T. Bartlett

BOOK BEAT   Naples Sun Times   May 30-June 6, 2007

by Philip K. Jason

When I asked Karen T. Bartlett which came first, the writing or the photography, she told me that while writing was the skill by she was first able to make a living, photography was her first creative passion. She began doing writing and editing work soon after her graduation from the University of Georgia, but she only slowly came to realize that her love of photography could turn into a career. Largely self-taught in both areas, Bartlett is probably best-known to Neapolitans as a contributing editor, columnist, and photographer for “Gulfshore Life.” She is also the author-photographer responsible for the new edition of “Naples, Florida: A Photographic Portrait.

This 2006 publication from Twin Lights Publishers is not to be confused with the 2000 book with the same name. Bartlett had nothing to do with that. The new or second edition by Bartlett is one of its publisher’s best sellers.

Before turning to a career as a freelance writer and photographer, Bartlett had founded and served as president of the Bartlett Group, a highly successful Atlanta-based public relations firm. The Bartlett Group handled marketing programs for a major planned community, hotels, resorts, timeshare properties, and many other kinds of businesses. In 1988, “PR Week” recognized the firm in the top 7 among more than 250 Atlanta agencies.

In 1989, Bartlett moved her company to Naples and began working with many major Southwest Florida clients, including Robb and Stuckey and London Bay Homes. She created and headed up the first Home & Condo Dream Team for the highly successful annual Dream Home. She directed the initial publicity campaigns for both Miles Collier’s Collier Automotive Museum and Frances Pew Hayes’ Teddy Bear Museum, and she helped raise millions of dollars for worthy non-profit organizations, both directly and through corporate social responsibility programs.

After two decades in the public relations business, Bartlett decided to redirect her career interests to travel writing, editing, and photography. Before taking on her current assignment with “Gulfshore Life,” she did similar work for “N, The Magazine of Naples.” She also publishes travel articles, photographs, or both in many other print and online publications. Available for commercial assignment photography, Bartlett provides a sample of her vast portfolio on her website: karentbartlett.com.

Bartlett’s photographs are a major feature of “The Sarasota, Sanibel Island and Naples Book,” and she contributed the section on romance and luxury destinations to “The Best Florida Getaways.” Forthcoming in 2008 are two new titles with text and photography by Bartlett: “Islands of the Southeast Coast: Amelia, Hilton Head, and Georgia’s Golden Isles” (from Twin Lights) and “Spaaaaaaah Florida: A Guide to Florida Spas” (from University Press of Florida). The Twin Lights editors became so impressed with Bartlett’s writing, which they discovered almost by accident when she began revising captions that had originally been written by someone else for the Naples book, that they asked her to do the writing for several of their other books. 

Karen T. Bartlett is a high-energy person, always in motion, and thus not cut out for studio work or the multi-hour waiting-in-place of the wildlife photographer. She needs to be “out there,” and she seeks to capture the emotion of the moment – to be, in a sense, part of the scene that she is shooting (though never as a subject). As a travel photographer, she says, you often only get once chance – one shot – at the nun disappearing into the cathedral or the expression on the snake-charmer’s face. You have to be alert and ready to pounce.

 Philip K. Jason, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of English from the United States Naval Academy.  A poet, critic, and free-lance writer with twenty books to his credit, this “Dr. Phil” chairs the annual Naples Writers’ Conference presented by the Naples Press Club.

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