Birds and Feathers Go Together


© Copyright – Cover image courtesy of Charlesbridge Publishing

Feathers: Not Just for Flying

•    Targeted Audience: Lower Elementary & Upper Elementary (Ages 6-9)
•    Genre: Non-Fiction  Picture Book
•    Author: Melissa Stewart
•    Illustrator: Sarah S. Brannen
•    Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing
•    Publication Date: February 25, 2014
•    Binding: Paperback
•    Dimensions: 11″ x .8.5″
•    Printing: Full Color
•    Length: 32 Pages
•    Retail: $7.95
•    ISBN: 978-1580894302

Feathers (1)

 © Copyright – Inside spread image courtesy of Charlesbridge Publishing

A Long Time in the Making

No monkeys, no chocolateAfter interviewing author Melissa Stewart about her wonderful book No Monkeys No Chocolate, I’m not surprised that she put so much thought, time and effort into this book too. In her author’s note she mentions that years ago, she read an article in Birder’s Magazine about unusual ways birds use their feathers. That inspired her to start researching the subject, and when this author researches a subject she does it so thoroughly indeed. She then spent about three years writing and editing countless drafts before showing it to her editor. After all, writing about a science topic such as this for an audience of six to nine year-olds is not an easy task. Her thoroughness is a trademark of her outstanding work, and I have the utmost respect for a writer who is this dedicated to getting her story just right.


© Copyright – Inside spread image courtesy of Charlesbridge Publishing

 Who Knew There Was so Much to Know About Feathers?

Feathers: Not Just for Flying  shows us that feathers serve many more purposes than we ever thought possible. In addition to making it possible for birds to fly, think of feathers as warmers, cushions, shades, sponges, camouflagers and gliders to name a few. Did you know they can soak up water like a sponge and their babies can later take a drink that water? Or that some birds’ feathers can make whistling sounds to attract mates and that feathers can help certain birds float like rafts? These and many more interesting uses for feathers are featured in the book.

A Scientific Journal with Beautiful Illustrations


© Copyright – Inside spread image courtesy of Charlesbridge Publishing

Author Melissa Stewart speaks to young readers as though they are scientists themselves. presenting Feathers: Not Just for Flying as if it were a bird journal. This approach makes the subject at hand all that more interesting. For each unique use  feathers have, there are fascinating facts to support it and a specific species of bird to set as an example. Each of these entries include beautiful watercolor illustrations by Sarah Brannen that are sure to inspire readers to create a nature journal of their own.

Why You Should Buy This Book

You’ll be hard pressed to find another children’s book for young readers on the topic of the many uses of bird feathers. This subject is fascinating and will encourage readers to think about little known uses for many other things in nature. Discovering the different purposes feathers serve inspires children to want to learn more about birds, study them in the wild and perhaps even draw them too. Feathers: Not Just for Flying gives readers insight into how scientists work and think and can lead to discussion about how important it is for us to take care of our planet so precious birds (and other wildlife) can continue to live and thrive and plant seeds we humans rely upon.

MStweartAbout the Author

Melissa Stewart is the author of more than 150 books! After earning a BA in Biology from Union College and a Master’s in Science Journalism from New York University, Melissa worked as a children’s book editor for nine years before becoming a full time writer in 2000. While gathering information for her books, she has explored tropical rain forests in Costa Rica, gone on safari in East Africa, and swum with sea lions in the Galapagos Islands. Melissa lives in Acton, Massachusetts.

About the IllustratorSarahBrannenHiRes-600x659

Sarah S. Brannen is a journalist and photographer who has also illustrated more than a dozen books for children. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard University and her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author and illustrator of  Uncle Bobby’s Wedding and has illustrated The Very Berry Tooth Fairy, The Pig Scramble, The Ugly Duckling and other titles. Her photos have appeared in many top magazines and newspapers, and she is a regular contributor to Ice Network and Skating Magazine. She lives in Massachusetts.

Further Learning

  1. Put on a bird play with this Reader’s Theater script.
  2. Check out the Teacher’s Guide with Common Core Curriculum Links.
  3. Visit the author’s website for a Bird Drawing Activity, lesson in Migration Math and a Story Time Guide.
  4. Get a blank book and have your children keep a bird journal where they can take notes and draw the species they see.
  5. Make a bird bath or bird house for your back yard.
  6. Visit the official Audubon website.
  7. Discover the National Bird Collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

Photos of Birds I’ve Taken in the Florida Everglades





Bird Photos © Copyright by Debbie Glade





2 Thoughts.

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