If you haven’t traveled much, then you just might get inspired by Baba Didi and the Godwits Fly by Nicola Muir and illustrated by Annie Hayward with a foreword by Former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark. This book is about amazing migrations, both by tiny shorebirds and by determined humans.
Baba Didi of the title is the narrator and Isabella’s grandmother. When they discover brown shorebirds called bar-tailed godwits feeding on the beach near their home in New Zealand, Baba Didi explains how the birds make a migration flight all the way to Alaska each year.
It turns out Baba Didi made an equally perilous journey when she and her husband left Croatia when they were young and sailed all the way to New Zealand. Although the lure was the potential for finding gold, their group didn’t have the money to buy the required license to even look. Instead of giving up, they found deposits of amber that gave them the opportunity to buy marginal land. Working hard and using insight, they began growing vineyards and were soon able to support themselves. With every turn of the page, the reader learns something new about the history of immigration in New Zealand.
Baba Didi and the Godwits Fly is about migrations, but it also has a strong theme about perseverance and doing what needs to be done to survive and even prosper. It is the type of book a grandparent would enjoy reading to his or her own grandchildren, and then sharing their own family stories. Perhaps it would be time to plan some far-reaching travels of their own.
If you are looking for nonfiction/fiction pairs for a lesson about bird migration, consider reading Baba Didi and the Godwits Fly with some of the picture book nonfiction in this list at Science Books for Kids:
Series: Searchlight Books
Paperback: 40 pages
Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group (August 1, 2013)
A portion of the sales of this book benefit UNICEF.
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(Photograph of a bar-tailed godwit by Maslowski, Steve – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service )