Books as Gift Guide

Books make the best gifts. I may be a little biased, but I love giving books as gifts. I think they offer a personal connection. You are either saying, I loved this book and I think you will too. Or, I know you love cats, science, history, etc so I thought this would be a great book for you. It means you have listened to them when they have shared something with you and that you took the time to notice. To see all the posts in this series, click HERE

Fly with Me and Counting Birds books

If you have a bird lover in your family, no matter what age they are, these books would make wonderful gifts. They are obviously marketed as children’s books, but as a bird lover myself, I just adore these books. I learned so much from them and they are the kinds of books that you keep forever.

Fly with Me


A Celebrations of Birds Through Pictures, Poems, and Stories

By: Jane Yolen, Heidi E. Y. Stemple, Adam Stemple, and Jason Stemple

Published: October 16, 2018

Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books


As a child who grew up with parents who loved birds, I found myself completely wrapped up in this book. We had multiple bird feeders on our farm including those specifically for goldfinches, hummingbirds, orioles, and then regular feeders. That love of birds has carried on into our family as well. We keep our feeders stocked all year and enjoy the various birds that visit it. We don’t get the variety that my parents get out in the country, but we get a surprise visit once in a while from a bird we haven’t seen at our feeder before.

Author Jane Yolen has collaborated with her three adult children to write the stories of birds. You can tell they have all grown up with a great appreciation for birds. The poems written by Yolen and her daughter were descriptive and lovely. Obviously, the photography is vivid and beautiful, showcasing the beauty of birds and what makes them unique.

I learned so much about birds reading this book and I thought I knew a lot already. I had no idea that birds are the only living creatures that have feathers. I knew the beaks on various birds were different, but I didn’t realize how different and specific their beaks are to make it easier for them to eat. I loved reading about all the state birds and what makes them unique.

Since birds are common in folk tales, there are several included at the end of the book. I’ve always loved folk tales, especially ones that tell “why” a bird looks are does something. The story of “Why the Robin’s Breast is Red” was one I hadn’t heard before and it’s one I’ll remember next spring when the first robin lands in our yard.

The end of the book included ways to get connected to organizations that support birds. I’ve obviously heard of the Audubon society but never really knew what the organization did. It also shared information on apps (I had no idea there were apps for birding which I downloaded immediately).

Even though I loved this book, I think kids will too. The information shared is definitely written for kids, but everyone in the family will enjoy reading and looking at the pictures. This is a coffee table book size and is quite heavy. It’s definitely a book sure to become a cherished resource.

Author Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen – source

Jane Yolen is an award-winning author of more than 365 books. She is also a poet, a teacher of writing and literature, and a reviewer of children’s literature. All three of her grown children write books as well.  For more information, check out her website, HERE.

To purchase a copy of FLY WITH ME, click the photo below:

Counting Birds


The Idea that Helped Save our Feathered Friends

By: Heidi E.Y. Semple

Illustrated by: Colver Robin

Published: October 2, 2018

Publisher: Seagrass Press


Did you know that there are organized dates set aside for counting birds? A hundred years ago, a man named Frank Chapman loved birds and worked to create exhibits about birds. He also wrote books and articles about birds. He started a magazine called “Bird-Lore” read by bird lovers. Frank Chapman didn’t like the fact that sports hunters would gather on Christmas Day and hold a bird competition looking for birds to hunt. Any bird was game and all the birds shot at the end of the day were counted. The winning team was the team with the most birds killed.  Frank Chapman did not like this Christmas Day tradition and used his magazine to get the word out about a new bird counting idea. He proposed counting the birds and NOT killing them. On Christmas Day, 1900, 27 bird watchers in 25 various places counted all the birds they saw. From thrushes to owls, from loons to vultures, every bird observed was counted. That count was not the last, and the Christmas Day bird count continues to this day.

The Christmas Day bird count happens all over the world. The count starts at midnight, with the owls being counted first. Then new counters take over as the sun begins to rise. All birds are counted all day long. Birds in backyards, birds in fields and forests, and cities and farms. All the counts are turned in to the National Audubon Society and they look at the data to see what changes have occurred in migration patterns, population sizes, and what species may be in danger and need conservation help. This has become the longest-running citizen science project and wildlife census in the world.

This is not the only bird count during the year. There is another one in February during the weekend of President’s Day as well as others throughout the year. I remember my mom participating in bird counts and recording all the birds visiting our feeders.

This book is part history of Frank Chapman and part information on the importance of counting the birds and tracking them each year. I’m hoping I can participate in the February count recording our bird visitors during one of the days of the count. The book includes photography as well as mixed-media type of illustrations. I love that this book introduces the history of how the bird count started and why, because someone wanted to make a difference. This book offers kids a look at someone who believed in something and made good things happen because he felt it was important.

Author Heidi E.Y. Stemple

Heidi E. Y. Stemple – source

Heidi E.Y. Stemple grew up in a family surrounded by books but intentionally took some detours before becoming a writer herself, including working as a probation officer. Later she discovered that the best way to indulge her curiosity about the world was by writing because then she could investigate real-life mysteries, learn more about princesses, and share her knowledge of nature with young readers without having to leave her desk. Her mother, Jane Yolen, is the famed children’s book author, and her father, David Stemple, first introduced her to the Christmas Bird Count and a lifetime passion for birding. Heidi is the child in the renowned Caldecott Medal-winning book OWL MOON, which was written by her mother. She lives and works in western Massachusetts on a lovely old New England Farm.  For more information, check out Stemple’s website, HERE.

Clover Robin grew up in the country of Devon in the southwest of England, where she developed a love and deep appreciation for the natural world. Clover graduated from the Leeds College of Art and Design and Central Saint Martins.  She now lives and works in Greenwich.

To purchase a copy of COUNTING BIRDS, click the photo below:

I will be linking up this review on Booking Mama’s regular Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. This is a place for bloggers to share posts related to children’s and YA books. You will find spotlights, reviews, and sometimes even giveaways by clicking HERE, every Saturday.

Check out these other posts I’ve written about birds:

BIRDS AND THEIR FEATHERS book by Britta Teckentrup





Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of these books for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase these books through the above links, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.
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