I’ve had the good fortune to view sea turtles in their natural habitat while snorkeling. And while I’m not currently traveling to anywhere I can snorkel, I can satisfy my desire to learn more about them by reading informative picture books, like today’s Perfect Picture Book.
Title: Follow the Moon Home: A Tale of One Idea, Twenty Kids, and a Hundred Sea Turtles
Written By: Philippe Cousteau and Deborah Hopkinson
Illustrated By: Meilo So
Publisher/Date: Chronicle Books/2016
Suitable for Ages: 4-6 (and older)
Themes/Topics: sea turtles, environmental activism, moving
I always need help finding my way, especially in a new place.
“Before long you’ll feel right at home, Viv.”
I WASN’T SO SURE.
Brief Synopsis: When Viv moves to a new community and school near the beach and the teacher assigns a class project to spur community action, Viv learns about the local sea turtles, the issues turtle hatchlings face, and how she, and her class, can help.
Links to Resources:
- Check out the fabulous back matter including a Letter to Young Activists, a note to Parents and Teachers, and information about Loggerheads and other Sea Turtles;
- Find more ideas in the Teacher Guide;
- “Swim” along on an online snorkeling trip in the Virgin Islands National Park to view marine life, including sea turtles;
- What problems do people in your local community face? Even with many schools operating remotely and social distancing the norm right now, there may be ways you can help by organizing a food or holiday gift drive, coordinating a socially-distanced park cleanup, or sending cards and other encouraging messages to nursing or other group homes.
Why I Like this Book:
Follow the Moon Home is a multi-layered informational picture book with hooks to engage anyone. If you, like the narrator, Viv, have recently moved, read how she connected with her new classmates and community through the class project to help the sea turtles. If you love sea turtles and want to learn more about them, the book has plenty of facts and engaging watercolor illustrations to lure you in. If you’re interested in helping others or in environmentalism, read on and follow the steps Viv and her classmates took to spur community action. Interestingly, the problem the class tackles, the lights from beachfront homes that confused the turtles, is not one I’ve seen discussed much in picture books about protecting sea turtles.
Because Follow the Moon Home offers so much on so many levels, I think it would be a tremendous resource in classrooms, as well as a terrific family read (note that the actions taken are initiated by a class, but a family easily could identify a community problem to solve).
A Note about Craft:
Although primarily an informational picture book about sea turtles and environmental activism, Follow the Moon Home is also a story about Viv, who settles into a new home, school, and community by rallying her classmates and neighbors to help the sea turtle hatchlings. Using first person POV, the authors forge an immediate connection between the reader and Viv, as we empathize with her desire to find her way. This, in turn, helps the reader connect with the young sea turtles, who also struggle to find their way to the sea.
This Perfect Picture Book entry is being added to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book list. Check out the other great picture books featured there!
I won a copy of this book last year – it’s perfect for a classroom – not only for the turtle story but also as a springboard for their own project. Let’s hope kids can get back together in school SOON!!!
Agreed! This book could be a recipe for finding & undertaking classroom community projects!
I have always been fascinated with the hatching of sea turtles as I’ve spent a lot of time on beaches where they hatch. Our grandchildren live right on the ocean and are fascinated with turtles and all marine life. This book would be very appealing — especially since it involves students helping the hatchlings. This would pair nicely with Cathleen Burnham’s “Tortuga Club” about kids in Costa Rica helping hatchlings on their journey to the sea.
I’ll look for Turtuga Club – I’m hoping to get back to pairing books on Tuesdays again soon.
This looks great – thanks for sharing!
A wonderful multi-layered picture book, with so many wonderful facts about sea turtles.
What a gorgeous watercolor cover! And you can’t go wrong with a Cousteau AND Debra Hopkinson. I saw sea turtles lay eggs in the middle of the night in Costa Rica a few years ago. After witnessing this amazing event, I’m not sure I’d recommend doing it again, because there are so many people doing it, and some guides do a poor job of respecting the turtle’s space while she’s laying eggs. But I do hope that conservation efforts help maintain colonies far into the future.
Now that I think about it, this would be a good book to pair with No Voice Too Small, a new book about kids identifying and addressing problems in their schools and communities. Also the workshop we just recorded for Kidquake, about kids identifying problems and writing petitions for change. So much good work being done in the world, I enjoy reading about the changemakers and “positive” people!
Oh, I’d love to witness sea turtles laying eggs, but I see what you mean about not distracting the poor turtles. I saw hatchlings in Cancun last year, but I’ve never been anywhere long enough to volunteer to guard the nests & look for hatchlings. Someday…
This is an amazing book. I like the additional layer of turning out the lights. I knew that helped birds, but I had not heard that it helps turtle hatchlings. I’m looking forward to getting this from my library.
With its combination of nature & the students’ activism, this is a book that I think you’ll really enjoy, Maria.
This is such a great book.
Agreed! I felt like I visited the nests myself. And I learned so much!
oh, I love sea turtle stories! And this one has two layers of story which makes it even more interesting. Thanks for sharing it today.
Thanks for stopping by! The many layers really resonated with me!
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