She Heard the Birds: The Story of Florence Merriam Bailey

Princeton Architectural. Oct. 2021. 38p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781648960505.
K-Gr 2–This accessible look at one woman’s lifetime dedication to scientific study and efforts to protect American birds introduces Florence Merriam Bailey. Spare text on vividly illustrated double-page spreads tells the story of this pioneering 19th-century ornithologist as she grows from a nature-loving girl to an activist/protector adult. Her early love of nature and birds matured to a call to action when she was horrified at women’s fashionable hats adorned with feathers and even stuffed dead birds. She devoted her life to observing and listening to birds in their habitats and wrote one of the first field guides on recognizing birds by their songs and calls. The pastel torn paper collages creatively illustrate her life—depicting a bird’s-eye glimpse from the treetops of the small girl, a dark night sky with owls and constellations, and the tools she used to study and record her scientific work. A summary of her life is appended as are resources for further information on birds.
VERDICT Recommend to boost library collections’ biographies of scientific women for young readers.

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