Today I want to feature a gorgeous self-published book that I really wish I’d written myself…. Darcy Pattison and Kitty Harvill‘s Wisdom, the Midway Albatross. It’s exactly the kind of book I love to read, a biography that paints a bigger, clearer picture of the world we live in.
Check out Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog feature Perfect Picture Book Fridays. She has compiled a complete list of recommended picture books with links to resources for home and the classroom. It’s awesome!
Author: Darcy Pattison
Illustrator: Kitty Harvill
Publisher: Mims House, 2012
Theme: birds, endangered species, conservation, world ecology, natural disasters
Opening: “Many years ago, on the tiny Midway Atoll in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, a wild chick hatched. She was a gooney bird-a Laysan Albatross. The crowded, noisy rookery could be a dangerous place. Many chicks would not live long enough to learn to fly.”
Synopsis: The oldest bird in the world, documented with banding, is Wisdom, the Midway Albatross. She was on Midway when the Japanese Tsunami hit and this is her amazing story of survival of manmade and natural disasters for over 60 years. She has survived the dangers of living wild, plastic pollution, longline fishing, lead poisoning, and the Japanese earthquake. At 60, she’s still laying eggs and hatching chicks. It’s a story of survival and hope amidst the difficulties of life. (from Amazon)
Resources: There are many sources for further reading and study listed at the end of the book, including Save the Albatross: A Global Campaign by BirdLife International and the North American Bird Banding Laboratory. I found a good explanation of tsunamis for kids with graphics and a video. There is information about plastic pollution at the Plastic Pollution Coalition. I also think it would be interesting to start a discussion about events that other animals or people may witness or survive over a lifetime (for example, we know a lot of people who were born before or during World War II and have seen a lot since then), which can provide a framework for looking at history. The books about Owen and Mzee tell the story of an animal friendship that formed after Owen, a baby hippo, was stranded and orphaned after the tsunami of 2004.