Monday, August 29, 2016
Non-Fiction Monday: Every Day Birds by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
Every Day Birds by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater. Illustrated by Dylan Metrano. unpgd. Orchard Books/ Scholastic Inc., February, 2016. 9780545699808. (Review from finished copy courtesy of publisher.)
A good cure for nature deficit disorder is to just get outdoors. One sure way of luring young people outdoors is to share irresistible books that make them beg to go outside. Every Day Birds is one such book.* The other day, I read this blog post by Don Torino, naturalist and president of the Bergen County Audubon society. Great food for thought. My students are a pretty lucky bunch. Our science teachers are amazing and our town has a gorgeous nature center run by another amazing naturalist who visits three or four times a year to explore the nearby stream with students.
I love being out of doors. I love watching birds. I keep multiple bird feeders out in my front yard and while the squirrels who raid the feeders bother me to no end, I delight in watching which of my feathered friends might stop by.
I am also a fan of Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's work. She's so passionate about nature (and poetry writing across the curriculum) and her poems always make me want to get outside. This lovely poem introduces twenty common North American birds. The illustrations are reminiscent of stained glass. Though they are not photorealistic, young readers will easily identify the bird in the wild based on the cut paper collage illustrations. Indeed, a teacher or librarian looking to make a unit out of this could pair photos (and even birdsong files) with the illustrations for a nice cross-curricular connection.
There are several pages of thumbnail illustrations along with a line or two of extra tidbits about each bird. The poem is also written out in its entirety across two pages.
What a lovely book to share with budding birders. Share this one widely. Visit the author's website for more information about her books, including book trailers, and school visits (highly recommended).
*Other fun titles for curing nature deficit disorder are:
Forest has a song by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater.
Step Gently Out by Helen Frost
Sweep Up the Sun by Helen Frost
Citizen Scientists by Loree Griffen Byrnes
The Boy Who Drew Birds: a story of John James Audubon by Jacqueline Davies