Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Owen & Mzee: The Language of Friendship by Isabella Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff, and Dr. Paula Kahumbu
This doesn't look like a middle school book, but I picked it up and couldn't stop reading it. It's a remarkable story of an unlikely friendship between Owen, an orphaned baby hippo, and Mzee, a 130-year-old tortoise. Owen was the only one of his hippo pod to survive the 2004 tsunami. The 600-pound baby was brought to Haller Park, a wildlife sanctuary in Kenya, Africa. There he immediately went toward Mzee, a grumpy old tortoise, and the next morning the pair was found snuggled up together. This book tells about the next year and a half of their lives, and how they have remained inseparable. With great photos and a touching story, this is an example of how children's nonfiction books can appeal to readers of all ages. It's not a book my students will necessarily seek out on the shelves, but I'm going to leave it on display by the bean bag chairs and I know they will pick it up and enjoy it.