Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it has an important message about how sea turtles are endangered.
By Heidi Rader
Illustrated by Holly Smith
Published by Wildlife Conservation Publishers in 2011
44 pages – ages 8+
Theme/Topic – Conservation / Endangered animals
Opening and Synopsis – “Filemon sat in the dark atop the black volcanic rock at the edge of the forest trail that leads to the sea: The sky twinkled with a million stars.” A warm breeze gently blew and the full, round, moon shone brightly over the black sand beaches of Bioko Island. Yes, it was a perfect night for nesting sea turtles.”
Deme wants to help his father and the scientists record important information about the sea turtles that make their nests on the beach of Bioko Island (an island off the coast of Africa) every year. They have to measure the turtles, identify them and count the eggs they lay. Deme’s father tells him to work hard in school and when he learns the math and skills he needs, that he can help with the turtles. Deme works very hard at school and when the turtles come back Deme’s father tells him that he can help! Deme learns many things about the sea turtles and how they are endangered. He learns how poachers and pollution hurt the sea turtles and what he can do to help. Deme also learns that the sea turtles have been around since the dinosaurs were on the earth and leather back turtles can grow up to 7 feet long! Best of all he learns about what great creatures the turtles are!
Why I liked this book – I think this book really gave excellent facts about sea turtles, about their life cycle, how conservationists help save them and what dangers the sea turtles face. What was really cool was that I learned all these facts in a story about a little boy! That was a fun way to learn. The illustrations were marvelous and I went to an event where I met the author and illustrator for the book (I tell you about it below) and I found out that Ms. Smith drew these awesome illustrations by hand without ever seeing a real sea turtle. She just did a lot of research so she could make them look how they really do.
Activities and Resources – For information where to buy the book and more information on the book go to the publisher’s website HERE. Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program click HERE Sea Turtle Conservancy “Turtle Tides” activities for kids HERE
To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!
I also wanted to tell you about the event I went to at Harleysville Books where I met the author (Heidi Rader), illustrator (Holly Smith) and the person who put the book together (Peter Muir). The event was to raise money for the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy which had a flood when hurricane Irene hit our area and wrecked their children’s library. Mr. Muir told us about how the book was made – literally, he told us how the book went from words on a page to words with pictures, to a computer file and finally made into a hard cover book. This was really cool because most of us kids didn’t know a lot about the journey a book has to go through. Mr. Muir also told us about the story in the book. Then Ms. Rader talked about how she is one of the conservationists that research the turtles of Bioko Island (Bioko Island is a tiny island off the coast of Africa). She told us about 4 types of sea turtles, Leatherback, Hawksbill, Atlantic Green, and Olive Ridley, and that some of the turtles can get to be 7 or 8 feet long and weigh as much as a car! We got to try on model life-size turtle shells! Sadly, I got the smallest turtle shell (the Olive Ridley) and my tiny sister got a much bigger one (the Atlantic Green). Ms. Rader also talked about her conservation work and how we all can help the turtles by being responsible for our trash. Then Ms. Smith taught us how to draw a Leatherback turtle and we all got to try it! She told us how if you make a simple turtle but if you keep working at it you can make it more detailed and make it look like the real thing! You can see my sister’s sea turtle drawing HERE. It was an AWESOME event and I want to learn even more about sea turtles!