Owl Reads

Owls are captivating.  They are not only fascinating to study, but are also an excellent subject of fiction, both for little kids and big kids.  As promised, here is a very brief list of great owl reads.  These are just a  few my guys and I have recently enjoyed.


Owl Moon The very prolific Jane Yolen is the author of this almost lyrical book about a little girl and her father crunching through the snowy woods at night in search of an owl.  “Sometimes there is an owl, and sometimes there isn’t,” as her brothers tell her, but of course, Ms. Yolen does not disappoint her readers.  There is, indeed, an owl, a great horned owl to be exact.  Animals are naturally hidden in nearly every page, and the author’s beautiful imagery creates a familiar sense throughout the book.  The realistic illustrations combined with the obviously reverent awe she feels for nature makes this book a true friend in nurturing a sense of wonder in our little ones.

Little Hoot by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Jean Corace – In muted matte illustrations an adorable little owl in a hoodie complains throughout the book that he has to go to bed late.  Owls go to bed “late, late, late.”  “Rules of the roost,” Father owl reminds him.  G giggles every time at this flip-flopped story line about going to bed.  His favorite line?  A grumbling Little Hoot  vows, “When I grow up, I will let my kids go to bed as early as they want!”  If you like this book, the author-illustrator team has also given us Little Pea and Little Oink.

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell, illustrated by Patrick Benson-  Gorgeous illustrations of fluffy owlets snuggling in the nest are accompanied by a text reassuring any little one that when Mama is gone, she also comes back.


There’s an Owl in the Shower by Jean Craighead George – Here is a story for animal lovers.  The logging industry versus the spotted owls.  Truth be told, A read this one on his own and I have not yet managed to read it.  I have included it here, because I have read the author’s captivating My Side of the Mountain, and because, well, A still references it, even though he first read it almost a year ago.

Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat  Classic Canadian children’s author Farley Mowat wrote a book once upon a time when boys (and girls) lived outdoors and enjoyed hours of unscheduled free time.  This humorous and fact-filled book tells the story of three friends who find two great horned owls in need of rescuing.

Wabi: A Hero’s Tale by Joseph Bruchac  Drawing heavily on Native American legends, Wabi is a coming-of-age story about a great horned owl who chooses to become human to be with the girl he loves.  Before he can be near her, however, he must first win her trust and affection, as well as defeat the mythically-based creatures of the Valley of the Monsters.  Bruchac does a fabulous job of weaving in Native American folklore, and depicting scenes distinctly from an owl’s perspective.

May your family enjoy the bounty of the season.   Don’t forget to love every red, yellow, or orange leaf before they are gone for the year.  If you don’t live with the autumn colors, what are your enjoyable signs of fall?   Curling up together and sharing a book is a wonderful fall activity.  Whether through books, in nature centers, or out in their natural habitat, again, happy owling!

S's and A's drawings of the Barred Owl
S’s and A’s drawings of the Barred Owl

Whether our fascination for owls dates back to ancient, superstitious tales, or whether owls seem naturally more tied to the autumn season, this seems to be the time of year we focus on our nocturnal friends.  This year in science A (11 years old) and S (almost 10) have focused largely on nature studies and have been keeping their own nature journals.  We started the year delving into tree identification.  However, once the leaves began to turn beautiful, earthy colors and gracefully slip from their branches, we turned our attention to the migrating birds in our region.   We are caching bird feeding supplies for the winter in our garage, creating our own pinecone feeders with peanut butter, cornmeal and bird seed, checking out  a plethora of books on birds of Indiana from the library, and making wonderful use of our suburb’s and city’s nature centers.  Some of these nature centers have provided us with fascinating opportunities to see owls up close and personal, like the Eastern screech owl and the Great Horned owl.

Whoo whoo whoooooo!

We have also taken advantage of these centers for their homeschool ornithology classes and clubs.  My boys were enthralled with a nighttime owling walk, and dissecting owl pellets.


Apologies after the fact for the less than appealing subject of this photo.
Apologies after the fact for the less than appealing subject of this photo.

Their field studies have also inspired them at home as their drawings at the top of this post attest.  Not only have A and S been engaged in owl studies, but G (3 years old) has participated as well.  While I deemed him a trifle young for owl pellet dissection, he has enjoyed the nature centers, joined us on owl walks crafted his own foam owl, and watched documentaries like National Geographic’s Owls: The Silent Hunters.  He has also helped me compile some of our favorite owl readings, which you will find in the next post.

Do you have a favorite owl?  Have you participated in any other fun or educational owl activities?  Let me know!  Happy Owling!

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