So when I saw Owen and Mzee - written by father and daughter Craig and Isabella Hatkoff and Dr. Paula Kahumbu - a true story about an unlikely friendship between a turtle and a hippo, I added it to our pile.
In December 26, 2004, a tsunami in the Indian Ocean crashed onto the shore near Malindi, in the African country of Kenya. Owen, a baby hippo, was found stranded alone on the sandbar of a nearby sandy coral reef. The local villagers worked hard to rescue the hippo and took him to live at Haller Park, as he would not survive in the wild. Owen was placed in an enclosure that also housed a 130-year-old giant Aldabra tortoise - Mzee. The story follows the unlikeliest of friendships that develops between Mzee and Owen.
The pictures are taken by Peter Greste, whose photos of the friends have appeared in newspapers all over the world and have led visitors from across the globe to make pilgrimages to see one of the world's oddest friendships. The story gives general information about turtles and hippos and provides fun insights into Owen and Mzee's unusual friendship. At the end of the book, there is also interesting information about the people, places, and animals that appear in the book and background information about the tsunami of 2004.
This is a fun book and a great introduction to non-fiction. The beautiful pictures and funny and endearing story draw children in while teaching them about animials, Africa and history. Needless to say, my children loved it. In fact, when their friends came over, my kids told them how funny the book was and insisted that I read it to the whole group.
A true measure of success.
Monday, in the children's literature blogging world, is non-fiction Monday. Over at Telling Kids the Truth: Writing Non-Fiction for Children there is a list of all blogs highlighting non-fiction children's literature today. Check it out - there are some great books!