Thank you to Ryan in Bloomington, IN for this amazing poem! Ryan wrote “World” after a school visit from Phillip Hoose featuring the book Moonbird.
“Students got to know B95, a small bird that has flown the distance it takes to get to the moon and halfway back, when author and Indiana University graduate Phillip Hoose came by Summit Elementary. To tell third-, fourth- and fifth-graders about B95, Hoose shared pictures of the red knot, a shore bird with a speckled back that travels more than 9,000 miles from its breeding grounds in the Arctic to South America each year. He played his guitar, leading students in sing-a-longs, and the crowd of almost 200 students “awww-ed” at the sight of photos of baby red knots, with their fuzzy white feathers and tiny beaks.
When Hoose asked for questions, their hands shot up into the air. They wanted to know if the baby bird’s mother and father help it learn to fly and how the red knots are able to fly such long distances. They also asked how Hoose got his ideas to write a book like “Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95” and what his other books were about. Talking with youngsters gives Hoose a chance to spread awareness about the reduced populations of animals like red knots.
“My major weapon is a good narrative,” the author said. The nonfiction story of B95 doesn’t only describe the life of one bird, but it also “portrays the worldwide crisis in species loss.” During his presentation, Hoose referred to young people who were working to protect red knots, and he said, “we could use some letters,” because writing messages to legislators might help the long-distance fliers become recognized as an endangered species.
Hoose has been going from school to school talking to kids for about 30 years. “I love kids,” he said. “I want them to know that a writing life is available and there are real people who do this.”
Erika Peek, a fifth-grade teacher at Summit, had a similar idea when she invited Hoose to speak. “It’s inspiring to see someone doing something that they love,” Peek said. As a teacher, she hopes students will grow up into people who can make their passions their livelihood. “It was nice for the kids to meet a speaker with Bloomington ties,” she noted. She hoped it helped the students realize that authors could be among their next-door neighbors.
After Hoose’s presentation, Peek’s students settled into their desks to write poetry or read his books. Leading up to the author’s visit, they had been working in all of their classes on projects related to writing or the subjects of Hoose’s nonfiction, and they will continue to do so after his visit. Peek intends to tailor her upcoming lessons to the students’ interests by exploring areas they were curious about through research activities.
“The speaker may be gone, but we can find other ways to answer their questions,” she said.”
“The last we heard of a red knot known as B95 — after his tag — he was in Canada. It was August, and he was on his way south.
As usual, scientists studying red knots figured it might be their last sighting of him. No bird lives forever, they keep telling themselves.
But recently, he’s been spotted — several times! — on wintering grounds at Rio Grande, at the southern tip of Argentina.”
Read more from the Philadelphia Inquirer
If you have read the book Moonbird by Phillip Hoose, you know that one individual bird has had incredible staying power while his species is under great threat. You can help the Red Knot.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to protect the Red Knot rufa under the Endangered Species Act. Doing so would not only benefit the Red Knot, but other shorebirds since many other species have similar long migrations and are declining due to habitat pressures. But in order for The FWS to follow through on this recommendation to turn into a real listing your help is needed.
Thanks to the Friends of the Red Knot for initiating this petition.
Patricia M. González of the Global Flyway Network in South America sent author Phillip Hoose this astounding news about B95…
“This afternoon Allan Baker, Luis Benegas and myself saw B95 in the shores of Rio Grande in Tierra del Fuego. It was a great surprise as last year we did not see him in the area. Allan managed to get few pictures when the bird went ahead from the flock of about 110 knots. It was a nice luck as we don’t have many pictures of B95 in basic plumage. The flag is fading but still is possible to recognize the bird because the color band combination with a black band in the right lower leg (from 1995) and an newer orange band in the lower left leg (from a retrap in Rio Grande).
This was a great news for Rio Grande city as you probably know B95 was declared natural ambassador of this city and they will build a monument with his story.”
This Q&A was excerpted from Jeannette Larson’s interview with author Phillip Hoose for BookLinks. Within the interview, Phil answers the frequently asked question of who his audience is, adult or young adult.
BookLinks: Most of your books are published for young people, but the information is so extensive that they’re also perfect for most adults. What makes your books, like Moonbird, for example, a book for children?
Phillip Hoose: Well, I don’t write for children. I write for myself; I write for my inner Phil, and that person has no age. I try to write good books for good readers using language accessible to adults and younger readers. I strive to provide a clear, compelling, suspenseful, and moving account of the subject. Any person of any age who wants to learn about the extinction of a species and the rise of environmental groups should be able to enjoy The Race to Save the Lord God Bird because all the research I did gave me a suspenseful story with strong characters.
I sort of moved into the young adult marketplace after I had made a name with We Were There, Too!, which was nominated for the National Book Award. That is something that doesn’t happen for many nonfiction books, and it got me a niche in the youth market. There are advantages to publishing books for the youth market—schools and libraries are main distribution points, and the American Library Association puts a bright spotlight on children’s books. But I present my books to a lot of adult audiences, too. Very few adults I meet seem to think the books are not for them.