penguins and other seabirds

Penguins & Other Seabirds is a lovely book that takes us to the Southern Hemisphere, to meet find out how Adélie penguins got their name and meet quirky tiny fairy penguins and regal Emperors! Using watercolours and whimsical descriptions, learn all about this enigmatic bird and his feathered friends across the globe. These funny little creatures waddle as they walk (a good way to avoid slipping on ice – hands by sides, turn toes out and take small shuffling steps).

Melting ice and over-fishing means some penguins have washed up on New Zealand’s north coast, as they struggle to find food. To avoid mini oil spills, avoid home/supermarket car washes (untreated water goes down drains and into the sea – use a waterless car wash or company that recycles the water). Switch energy to Ecotricity (does not use abbatoir waste to create fuel, and makes gas from grass!)

Zoos are not the answer, as penguins need cold weather and hundreds of miles to roam in the wild. Humboldt penguins often end up in zoos performing ‘penguin parades’ for children and suffer climate-related diseases. Some were due to ice-skate for ‘entertainment’ until a campaign by Freedom for Animals got it stopped.

Matt Sewell is a Shropshire artist and ornithologist, who is renowned for his wonderful books about birds. Using unique pop-art and funny descriptions, his books are worlds away from boring official manuals! His illustrations feature on Isle of Man stamps.

meet the flightless bird from Antarctica

Emperor Penguin is a wonderful book to educate children about the flightless bird from Antarctica. This is the largest of the penguins, and they make epic journeys each year. Filled with simple science and lots of facts, the book shows what makes these wonderful birds such great ocean swimmers, and how they manage to protect their cute chicks from freezing weather in the coldest place on earth. The book also covers important conservation challenges (due to climate change and melting sea ice) in an age-appropriate way.

Antarctica is a huge continent, an icy desert that usually would be very quiet, but for the high winds and now boat noise from tourists. Scientists work here to discover climate change science, and say that melting ice and pollution is harming the planet and creatures from albatrosses (babies are fed plastic pellets by unsuspecting mothers who think they are food) to Arctic terns (even dying here in England, due to various issues). So what we do here has huge effects on what happens in Antarctica.

Dr Michelle LaRue is a penguin professor (who knew?) who also studies seals and cougars, and teaches Antarctic Marine Science at Te Whare Wananga o Waitaha (University of Canterbury) in New Zealand. The book features stunning illustrations by Pham Quang Phuc. This book is part of a series to inspire the next generation of biologists and conservationists.

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