Perfect Picture Book Friday: Darcy Pattison’s Wisdom, the Midway Albatross

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!

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Author: Darcy Pattison

Illustrator: Kitty Harvill

Publisher: Mims House, 2012


Ages: 6-12

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.


Categories: Books we love, Perfect Picture Book Friday | 23 Comments

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23 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday: Darcy Pattison’s Wisdom, the Midway Albatross

  1. I enjoyed the story of Owen and Mzee. I am intrigued by this one.

    • I love the Owen and Mzee story, and their website is really cool. There’s a great story about Knut the polar bear from Germany and some other special animals.

  2. Wendy

    Sixty years is so many lifetimes to kids–I imagine they would be even more impressed by this book than adults. There must be a Mr. Albatross too–if she is still laying eggs–interesting to see the female focus after reading the post today on needing more female MCs.

  3. I love to hear true stories of survival of a species. It’s amazing that an albatross lives that long with so many threats to it’s habitat. I never knew they could reproduce for so many years. This really sounds like a wonderful story. Will check it out.

  4. Catherine Johnson

    That sounds fabulous, true stories always go down well with children and adults. The cover is stunning!

  5. Wow! What a fabulous tale! Wisdom seems to suit that albatross quite well! The stories that she could tell, if she would! Thanks for sharing!

  6. You had me with the cover!

  7. Beverly, I love that you featured a self-published book here…I did a challenge with Darcy when I first started blogging…didn’t know what direction I was taking in writing…she’s awesome and the book looks lovely.
    Wonderful review and activities.

  8. What an amazing story!

  9. MY oh my! I had no idea an albatross lived that long! WHen my dad was there at Midway in the 50’s she would have been there. Thanks for sharing such an interesting. Book.

  10. Stacy S. Jensen

    We’ll look for this one. Thanks.

  11. That is one eye catching cover. Interesting story about the albatross, don’t think there are many around. Thanks Beverly.

  12. Joanna

    This looks just wonderful, the kind of true story I love. Thanks for sharing!

  13. I’ve heard of this book but never read it, Beverly! I must see if my library has it – it just looks fantastic! And I always love adding picture books to our list that are intended for older readers – no one should ever feel too old for PBs 🙂 Thanks so much for adding this one to our list!

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