Share awesome books about wildlife
Read these stories about the natural world
Kids are interested in the world around them, and that, of course, includes life outside the confines of the home and classroom. Reading excellent books together on such subjects not only serves to educate but can also spark an interest that leads to a lifelong appreciation and advocacy for our natural world. And by planting that seed, future careers may eventually unfold.
Today's reviewed books revolve around this theme. Check them out; you'll probably enjoy them as much as the kids in your charge.
Books to Borrow
The following book is available at many public libraries.
"Arrowhawk" by Lola M. Schaefer, illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska, Henry Holt, 32 pages
Read aloud: age 6 and older
Read yourself: age 8 and older
A young and strong red-tailed hawk swoops down on a mouse, snatches his prey and settles on a fence post to have his meal. Out of nowhere, an arrow streaks through the air and pierces the hawk's upper thigh and tail. He screeches in pain, rises above his attacker and flies away. He tries to peck the arrow out, but it's impossible.
Despite the pain, the hawk does its best to ignore it and find a way to continue to hunt, fly and live with this painful obstacle. He does so for eight weeks in the wild until he is captured temporarily by some concerned people.
His arrow is surgically removed, he is nursed back to health and released back where he belongs — in the wild.
"Arrowhawk" is based on real events that display incredible courage and the determination and will to live. Beautifully written and illustrated, this story is at once heart-wrenching, remarkable and will fill readers with a quiet reverence for protecting wildlife.
Library: Biggs Branch, Butte County Library, 464-A B St., Biggs
Library Director: Linda Mielke
Branch Librarian: Cynthia Pustejovsky
Choices this week: "Diary of a Worm" by Doreen Cronin; "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle; "Biggest Pumpkin Ever" by Steven Kroll
Books to Buy
The following books are available at your favorite bookstores.
"Falcon" written and illustrated by Tim Jessell, Random House, 2012, 36 pages, $17.99 hardcover
Read aloud: age 3 — 4 and older
Read yourself: age 7 — 8
A young boy imagines all of the things he could do if he were a falcon. He could fly to faraway places — to cliffs high above the sea, over the ocean, to the far north and even to a great bustling city, where he would amaze pedestrians on the street as he would dive at frightening speeds from high above toward the pavement below, only to open his wings at the last minute and swoop upward to the astonishment of all.
Through spare text that describes a part of the life of a falcon and extraordinary landscape paintings, author/artist Tim Jessell has created a stunning portrayal of the majesty of this mighty wild bird — the falcon.
"Saving Yasha: The Incredible True Story of an Adopted Moon Bear" by Lia Kvatum, photographs by National Geographic Young Explorer Liya Pokrovskaya, National Geographic, 2012, 32 pages, $16.95 hardcover
Read aloud: age 5 — 6 and older
Read yourself: age 7 — 8 and older
Young Yasha is a moon bear, orphaned by his mother in their habitat in the Russian wilderness. Fortunately for him, he is found by two young scientists who take him under their wing to care for him, protect him until he can fend for himself and teach him how to live on his own in the wild. Young Yasha isn't alone with the scientists; they have discovered two other orphaned moon bear cubs, and the small group of cubs become a family.
For almost two years, the scientists studied the cubs. Knowing it was imperative for the cubs' survival, the scientists made certain they kept a great distance from the cubs in every regard. They took great care to cover their human scent, never played with the cubs and were silent in their presence to make certain the cubs would grow up as wild bears. And in time, they did.
This is a story that is at once fascinating, heartwarming and ultimately one of hope that speaks of the need to preserve wildlife. Brimming with gorgeous photographs throughout, this selection is awesome.
Kendal A. Rautzhan writes and lectures about children's literature. She can be reached at her website: greatestbooksforkids.com.