Kids’ Book Corner: Get Involved in the Great Backyard Bird Count This Weekend with Books for the Birds

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A bird does not sing because it has an answer.  It sings because it has a song.

~Chinese Proverb

My Dad is a Birdman

I’ve always felt that childhood and flight are connected: for children everything is possible and imagination and the body are one. I still remember my own dreams of flying, remember awaking with the feeling of being airborne still in my muscles, the warmth of the sun still on my back.  Reconnect to your own childhood and enrich your child’s experience of nature this month by sharing books on birds, fiction and nonfiction, and participating in the annual Great Backyard Bird Count February 17-20, an annual bird–watching event for naturalists of all ages. By counting birds in their own back yards, local parks or schools, participants help scientists “create a real-time snapshot” of bird populations, their health, and their locations in North America. You and your child can devote hours, days or as few as fifteen minutes to the count – and then report your count online (  There is even a special kids’ page:

Backyard Birds

Backyard Birds of California: How to Identify and Attract the Top 25 Birds by Bill Fenimore is a clear and incredibly informative guide that makes identifying and learning about birds effortless and exciting. Readers 9 and up will love the names, shapes, photographs and maps that illuminate the appearance and behavior of each bird.  Younger readers can share the book with you. Included is information on how to transform your yard into a sanctuary for birds.  I especially like the simple scale for sizing birds and the glorious close-up photos.

About Birds: A Guide for Children by Cathryn Sill with illustrations by John Sill. This is a gorgeous introduction to birds for readers 4 and up, with extra information for older readers contained in a handy and fascinating Afterward. The watercolor illustrations are accurate, vivacious and full of revealing details about the birds. The text unfolds in simple declarations: “Birds have feathers,” “They sing to let other birds know how they feel,” yet implies the great diversity and magnificence of birds. Children will return again and again to this book and it will inspire them to look skyward.

About Birds

My Dad’s A Birdman by David Almond with illustrations by Polly Dunbar is a whimsical, and often lighter-than-air tale of a father’s efforts to take flight in a Great Human Bird Competition. Readers 6 and up will enjoy the literalness of his effort—the construction of wings, a diet of worms and a new last name, Crow––and the sweetness of life on England’s Lark Lane.

A Hen for Izzy Pippik by Aubrey Davis with illustrations by Marie Lafrance.  Kids 4 and up will love this satisfying and cheerful folktale about the unintended consequences of a good deed. A little finds a chicken in the road and protects her—no matter what––until the owner’s return. Not only does Shaina prevent the lovely hen from becoming chicken soup or chicken fricassee, she makes sure its growing flock thrives, too.  Lafrance’s illustrations are stylish and fun.

A Hen for Izzy Pippik

Wings by William Loizeaux is a novel for readers 9 -12 about a boy and a baby mockingbird he saves and nurtures over an eventful summer.  Leslie Bowman’s intelligent, crisp drawings enliven the narrative in which the bird, Marcy, is a fully alive and unforgettable character.

Jo Perry has a Ph.D. in English, taught literature and writing, and worked as a college administrator and as a television writer and producer. She is a reviewer for and is an ongoing contributor to kidsLA Magazine for which she writes about the city, children’s books, and conducts interviews. For two years she wrote the Kids’ Book Club column for the L.A. Times’ Kids’ Reading Room page.






About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.