Books for the Birds
Not so much for the birds, I suppose, as about them. These books aren’t just for bird-lovers. Give them a chance even if you wouldn’t know a meadowlark from and oriole. I think you’ll like what you find.
My first book is one for your primary readers. Where’s the Party? By Katharine Crawford Robey follows a young girl as she imagines the birds are talking to her with their songs. She explores the forest near her home until she finds a duck family with newly hatched ducklings. The end notes, which give more information about each of the birds, round out this cute picture book with an educational twist to a unique story. It will have kids listening for bird songs and thinking creatively about what they might be saying.
Wild Wings by Gill Lewis is a middle grades novel about a boy who discovers endangered birds on his family’s farm in Scotland. He and his friend Iona watch the birds and their chicks through the summer, and they find a way to track the progress of the birds’ migration to Africa through the help of a naturalist and the computer. Callum finds the world is much bigger than his small town as he learns about the countries along the path of the birds. When the tracking program loses the bird’s signal, he doesn’t let that be the end of the story. This story is full of hope, and it is sure to inspire young readers. (Bonus for educators: Gill Lewis will be launching a website where kids can follow osprey migration like Callum did in the book. This would make a great class activity!)
My bird-related pick for teens takes us to the Galapagos Islands. Well, almost. Girls Don’t Fly is actually about Myra, a very practical teen who decides (after getting dumped) that maybe she doesn’t want such a practical life after all. Suddenly she’s quitting her job and competing (against her ex) for a scholarship to spend the summer studying birds in the Galapogos. She didn’t know she had it in her, but the more she learns about birds, the more she realizes how much the birds she wants to study really suit her. This realistic novel will appeal to middle and high school girls who like Sarah Dessen and Deb Caletti, or who just like a story about a girl learning to fly on her own.
Read these books now or save them for a National Bird Day (May 4th) display in your library. Either way, you will want to share them with the right readers.
Girls Don’t Fly by Kristen Chandler. October 2011.
Where’s the Party by Katharine Crawford Robey. 2011.
Wild Wings by Gill Lewis. 2011.