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Archive for the ‘Skydiver’ Category

Skydiver by Celia Godkin, “a hopeful, upbeat success story”—Youth Services Book Reviews

Posted on July 8th, 2016 by pajamapress

Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World  by Celia GodkinRating: 1-5:  5 (5=starred review)

Genre:  Nonfiction Picture Book

What did you like about the book? A peregrine falcon pair mates and lays eggs. Before the eggs can hatch, they are stolen by a scientist who rappels down a cliff to get them. No, it’s not an evil scientist. Rather, it shows the lengths conservationists were forced to go to prevent the extinction of a species when DDT caused birds’ shells to become fragile. Scientists knew the wild peregrines would lay a second clutch to replace the stolen one. Meanwhile, more of the stolen young survived than would have in the wild. The story shows how scientists raised the young and then released most back into the wild to help the species recover. This is a hopeful, upbeat success story told using attractive watercolor pictures in mostly blues and browns. A brief author’s note at the end provides sources of additional information about peregrine falcons and the rescue efforts.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Although the audience appears to be first to third graders, some challenging vocabulary (eg. accumulate and conservationist) makes it better suited to be read aloud by an adult.

Who should buy this book? Elementary libraries and public libraries.

Where would you shelve it?  Shelve in nonfiction in 598.9 with other books about birds of prey.

Click here to read the full review.

Celebrate Earth Day with the Peregrine Falcon

Posted on April 22nd, 2016 by pajamapress

Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World  by Celia GodkinEarth Day is celebrated worldwide every year to give global citizens the chance to demonstrate their support for and dedication to environmental protection. This year Canada is participating in an ambitious campaign to assist in planting 7.8 billion trees—one for every person on the planet—by 2020.

With so much work to do, it’s easy to feel daunted at the prospect of saving the earth. That’s why, while continuing work to protect the environment, it’s important that we also celebrate what we’ve already achieved. A great example of a feel-good environmental success story is the rehabilitation of the Peregrine Falcon.

After the Second World War DDT was developed as one of the first modern synthetic pesticides. Within a decade it was being used extensively all over the world to control insect pests. However, by the end of the 1950’s scientists and researchers noticed insect populations had built up an immunity to it, while species that weren’t its intended target—like the Peregrine Falcon—were exhibiting signs of DDT poisoning. Because the Peregrine Falcon is at the top of its food chain, the birds accumulated large amounts of DDT from the song birds and fish that they fed on, who had absorbed the chemical in smaller amounts from the insects they preyed on.

A DDT build-up in a Peregrine Falcon’s body is not lethal to the bird itself, but it makes their eggshells thin and prone to cracking, causing chicks to die in their eggs. Many breeding pairs of Peregrine Falcons were unsuccessful during this time and their population saw a dramatic decrease. By the mid-1970’s Peregrine Falcon populations had declined by 90% and were at risk of becoming locally extinct, or extirpated, in North America.

Fortunately bird experts and volunteers recognized the need to intervene and save the bird. In 1974 the Peregrine Fund, and other agencies in Canada and the U.S., had initiated a reintroduction program for the Peregrine Falcon. Rescue teams moved clutches of eggs out of the wild to incubate in research labs, giving them a better chance of survival. They were also able to secure mature falcons through bird hobbyists—the Peregrine Falcon has been a prized hunting bird for hundreds of years—to successfully breed in captivity. When chicks were three weeks old they were placed in artificial nesting sites where they were fed and cared for until they were mature enough to develop their own hunting skills.

Initially these nesting sites were located in the wild to duplicate the falcon’s natural habitat, but researchers soon found that chicks were being taken as prey by great horned owls before they could reach maturity. The project was re-homed into cities, where sky scrapers approximated the cliffs where Peregrine Falcons usually nest. The benefit to this change is that, aside from humans, Peregrines have no natural predators in urban environments, but there is still an abundance of small birds and rodents for them to hunt. Because these birds are a migratory species, it was only a matter of time before mature birds began to move back to the wilderness, though there are still many thriving populations of peregrine falcons in large cities across North America.

Since 1974 over 6000 Peregrine Falcons have been released back into the wild; enough that officials were able to remove the Peregrine Falcon from the endangered species list in 1999. The birds are still protected under the Migratory Bird Act, but to this day the return of Peregrine Falcons to the wild is the biggest success to come from the Endangered Species Act.

So any time an environmental initiative—like planting 7.8 billion trees—seems too big to accomplish, it’s good to remember that human intervention has already saved the fastest bird in the world, and with concerted effort and dedication, we can do so much more to help the earth and its creatures.

To learn more about the Peregrine Falcon and what it took to save these incredible birds, Celia Godkin’s non-fiction picture book, Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World is a great resource for classrooms, libraries or curious children. Click here to check out Skydiver‘s book trailer.

Learn even more:
From Death’s Door to Life in the City: The Urban Peregrine Falcon
History of Peregrine Falcon Efforts in Indiana
Journey with Nature: Peregrine Falcons
National Post: From the brink of extinction, Prairie falcons make a comeback
National Wildlife Federation: Peregrine Falcon
Raptor Rehabilitation of Kentucky
The Amoeba Sisters: Biomagnification and the Infamous DDT

Three Pajama Press Books Nominated for the Rainforest of Reading

Posted on January 13th, 2016 by pajamapress

Pajama Press is pleased to announce that three of our picture books have been nominated for the 2016 Rainforest of Reading Award: Bad Pirate by Kari-Lynn Winters and Dean Griffiths, In a Cloud of Dust by Alma Fullerton and Brian Deines, and Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World by Celia Godkin.

Bad Pirate by Kari-Lynn Winters and Dean Griffiths homecover-in-a-cloud Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World  by Celia Godkin

Inspired by the Ontario Library Association’s Forest of Reading program, the Rainforest of Reading is a book festival that brings award-winning children’s literature from Canada to primary schools in Saint Lucia, Grenada, Montserrat, and Nevis. For three weeks in March 2016, 8,500 students in grades 3, 4, and 5 will read and engage with the twelve nominated books. At the end of the three weeks, students will vote for their favourite book and many will attend a day-long celebration with the authors and illustrators themselves.

We are thrilled that our books will be a part of this important literacy initiative. Congratulations to our participating authors and illustrators!


The Rainforest of Reading will announce full festival information on their new website, to be unveiled on February 5, 2016

Five Pajama Press titles are Bank Street Best Books

Posted on March 27th, 2015 by pajamapress

Five Pajama Press titles have been selected for the Bank Street College of Education’s The Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2015 Edition:

Nat The Cat Can Sleep Like That - a not-quite-ready-for-bedtime story by Victoria Allenby, illustrated by Tara AndersonNat the Cat Can Sleep Like That
Written by Victoria Allenby, illustrated by Tara Anderson
Under Five, Animals (Fiction)

Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World  by Celia GodkinSkydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World
Written and illustrated by Celia Godkin
Ages 9–12, Ecology

Cat Champions: Caring for our Feline Friends by Rob LaidlawCat Champions: Caring for our Feline Friends
Written by Rob Laidlaw
Ages 9–12, Science

Moon At Nine by Deborah Ellis - the true story of two girls who fell in love in post-revolution Iran Moon at Nine
Written by Deborah Ellis
Ages 12–14, Today

Graffiti Knight by Karen Bass, winner of the Geoffrey Bilson Award and the CLA Young Adult Book AwardGraffiti Knight
Written by Karen Bass
Ages 14+, Historical Fiction

Click here to view the full lists.

Skydiver nominated for the Green Earth Book Award

Posted on March 27th, 2015 by pajamapress

Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World by Celia Godkin has been nominated for the Green Earth Book Award.

Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World  by Celia GodkinSkydiver is a non-fiction picture book that chronicles the successful efforts of scientists to reintroduce peregrine falcons to their former territories in North America after the population was depleted by the effects of DDT. The book has also been nominated for the Hackmatack Children’s Choice Award.

The Green Earth Book Award, administered by The Nature Generation program, is the United States’ first book award for environmental stewardship for children and young adults. Winners will be announced on Earth Day, April 22, and formally presented at the Read Green Book Festival in Washington, D.C., on October 1.

Visit The Nature Generation website to learn more.

Skydiver and A Brush Full of Colour nominated for the Hackmatack Award

Posted on March 27th, 2015 by pajamapress

Two Pajama Press books have been nominated for the 205–16 Hackmatack Children’s Choice Award.

Skydiver_C_Dec5.inddSkydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World, a picture book illustratedby Celia Godkin, chronicles the successful efforts of scientists to reintroduce peregrine falcons to their former territories in North America after the population was depleted by the effects of DDT.

A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison, a picture book biography written by Margriet Ruurs and Katherine Gibson, recounts the life of Canada’s iconic artist of the Yukon. Filled with full-colour examples of Ted Harrison’s art from throughout his career, the book also features an introduction written by the artist himself.

A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison. A picture book biography by Margriet Ruurs and Katherine GibsonThe Hackmatack Award is Atlantic Canada’s reading program for students in grades four to six. Participants will read a shortlist of ten fiction books and ten non-fiction books in either English or French, then vote for their favourites. You can view the full list at the Hackmatack Award website.

Skydiver “is highly recommended for both school and public libraries”—Resource Links

Posted on January 13th, 2015 by pajamapress

“Using crisp text and exquisite paintings award winning author and illustrator Celia Godkin tells the story of a pair of peregrine falcons. The book begins with a description of the habits of the birds in springtime.

“Together, they swoop and tumble in a dazzling courtship dance.” As the story progresses, Celia seamlessly introduces the concepts of conservation in response to the long term effects of global usage of DDT. Celia describes how the first clutch of eggs was taken from the birds to be raised in a bird sanctuary.

Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World  by Celia GodkinWithout bogging down the story, Celia provides justification and explanations of actions taken. In regards to the removal of the eggs Celia notes that “ The falcon rescue teams know that peregrines often lay a second clutch if the first is destroyed.” The pair of falcons do indeed lay more eggs and raise one chick that year. The book follows the development of the human raised chicks. Celia explains that due to the usage of DDT the peregrine falcon “…had disappeared from great tracts of its former territory” and shows that even high rise buildings in cities have been used successfully to reintroduce the peregrine falcon.

The two page paintings illustrate the wide scope of a peregrine’s world. The paintings evoke a sense of the peregrine’s speed in flight. This book is highly recommended for both school and public libraries. It can be used for story time as well as lesson units about nature, birds, conservation and the environment.”

Thematic Links: Peregrine Falcons; Animal Rescue; DDT; Environment
—Laura Reilly

Four Pajama Press books selected in Best Books for Kids & Teens

Posted on November 21st, 2014 by pajamapress

Pajama Press is pleased to congratulate the authors of four of our Spring 2014 titles on being selected for the Fall 2014 edition of Best Books for Kids & Teens.

MoonAtNine_C_Oct5.inddStarred Selection: Moon at Nine by Deborah Ellis

RevengeFly_C_Dec5.inddStarred Selection: Revenge on the Fly by Sylvia McNicoll

WhenEmilyCarrMetWoo_RGB_72dpiWhen Emily Carr Met Woowritten by Monica Kulling and illustrated by Dean Griffiths

Skydiver_C_Dec5.inddSkydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World written and illustrated by Celia Godkin


Best Books for Kids & Teens  is a publication of the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Click here to learn more.

New Animated Trailer for Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World

Posted on October 30th, 2014 by pajamapress

Watch Celia Godkin’s peregrine falcons swoop and dive in the new animated book trailer for Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World.

Animations by Maryna Nekrasova

Skydiver “An attractive, informative picture book.”—Booklist

Posted on September 17th, 2014 by pajamapress

SkydiverCover“This encouraging animal-rescue story features the world’s fastest animal: the peregrine falcon. Set in the era when scientists realized that DDT was thinning eggshells and endangering many bird species, the story is told in a simple, immediate manner, focusing mainly on the birds rather than on their rescuers. Two peregrines meet at their cliffside nesting site, where the male flies to a great height, plummets down, and then sweeps upward to join the female in an aerial courtship dance. Their first four eggs are taken by a woman lowered down the cliff by a rope. Of their next three eggs, two break during nesting, but they raise the remaining chick. Meanwhile, a rescue team hatches the first four eggs, nurtures the surviving three young birds, and releases them. An owl snatches one, but the others survive as city dwellers, living on a skyscraper ledge. Trained as a scientific illustrator as well as a biologist, Godkin uses soft, precise strokes of oil paint to create scenes of peregrines in captivity and in the wild. An attractive, informative picture book.”