The Soul of an Octopus

By Sy Montgomery,

Book cover of The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration Into the Wonder of Consciousness

Book description

'Sy Montgomery's The Soul of an Octopus does for the creature what Helen Macdonald's H Is for Hawk did for raptors' New Statesman
'Charming and moving...with extraordinary scientific research' Guardian
'An engaging work of natural science... There is clearly something about the octopus's weird beauty that fires the imaginations of…

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Why read it?

6 authors picked The Soul of an Octopus as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Montgomery is one of my favorite non-fiction authors. She has written about her family’s pet pig, and she’s written about every creature, from hummingbirds and snakes to condors and pink dolphins.

But this book is, for me, one of the most eye-opening books I’ve ever read. It’s not a friendship/relationship in the same way as my other book recommendations, but Montgomery writes about a single octopus and its exploits in an aquarium. We learn just how smart and funny! octopuses are.

Also, because of this book, I cannot eat calamari anymore.

From Deb's list on humans bonding with wild animals.

If you watched and loved the movie My Octopus Teacher about the friendship between a filmmaker and a Pacific octopus, then this book will intrigue and inform you.

Sy Montgomery is a top-notch researcher and best-selling storyteller, and she makes her experience studying octopuses around the world personal and relatable. Both the movie and book brought me to tears at the beauty of these inter-species friendships.

Read this one to discover what we’re learning about the incredible intelligence and varied personalities of these astounding creatures.

Granted, Montgomery anthropomorphizes throughout this book, attributing all sorts of cognition and emotion to these fascinating cephalopods; but this book is so charming, partly because she captures her own awe so well, that I put aside my skepticism and enjoyed The Soul of an Octopus for what it unquestionably is: a great read.

From Sandy's list on the amazing world of coral reefs.

The City Sings Green & Other Poems About Welcoming Wildlife

By Erica Silverman, Ginnie Hsu (illustrator),

Book cover of The City Sings Green & Other Poems About Welcoming Wildlife

Erica Silverman Author Of Wake Up, City!

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an award-winning author of picture books and early readers. I have set my stories in many kinds of locations, including a haunted house, an Eastern European shtetl, an English Renaissance village, and a working cattle ranch. For Wake Up, City, I turned to the setting I know best, the city. I drew on memories of walking to kindergarten in early morning Brooklyn. This book is my love song to cities everywhere. As a lifelong city dweller, I worry about the impact of urban spread on the planet, but I feel hopeful, too, because many cities are becoming more nature and wildlife-friendly. The books I'm excited to share celebrate city wildlife. 

Erica's book list on celebrating cities

What is my book about?

A unique and artful blend of poetry, science, and activism, this picture book shows how city dwellers can intervene so that nature can work her magic.

In Oslo, Norway: citizens create a honeybee highway that stretches from one side of the city to the other, offering flowerpots, resting spots, bee boxes, and beehives—even water fountains—every eight hundred feet.

In the Bronx, New York: a community rallies to clean their river and cheers at the return of the long-lost beaver population.

In Busselton, Australia: people make a rope bridge that swings high above speeding cars, creating a safe path for tree-hopping possums and squirrels alike.

Through a mix of lyrical poems, real-life success stories, and bouquet-bright artwork, The City Sings Green explores the environmental impact of humans and showcases the many ways that we can rewild cities across the globe. Together, we can welcome nature back!

The City Sings Green & Other Poems About Welcoming Wildlife

By Erica Silverman, Ginnie Hsu (illustrator),

What is this book about?

A unique and artful blend of poetry, science, and activism, this picture book shows how city dwellers can intervene so that nature can work her magic. Perfect for fans of The Curious Garden and Harlem Grown.

In Oslo, Norway: citizens create a honey-bee highway that stretches from one side of the city to the other, offering flowerpots, resting spots, bee boxes and beehives-even water fountains-every 800 feet.

In the Bronx, New York: a community rallies to clean their river and cheers at the return of the long-lost beaver population.

In Busselton, Australia: people make a rope bridge that swings high…


This is the book that made me love the octopus! With humor, brilliance, and empathy, naturalist Sy Montgomery explores the physical and emotional world of largely captive octopuses, and their impact on the caregivers and divers who encounter them. As Montogomery attempts to bridge the gap between her own human consciousness and that of the octopuses, they reveal themselves to be intelligent and spirited creatures with complex emotional lives.

This book begs the question: how can human beings think they understand and thus know a living creature who possesses a more sophisticated sensory system and perceptual capacity than humans have themselves? This humancentric arrogance and naïveté become obvious while reading this tale of love and relationship. With a complex and “clever” brain, one would think we would all bow down with deep respect and open ourselves to the unimaginable – what might it be like to think, feel and sense as Octavia the Octopus does?  Perhaps by doing so we gain respect for her soulful life. Naturalist Sy Montgomery…

The Soul of an Octopus follows Sy Montgomery’s journey into an underwater world of secrets and surprises. As a guest at the New England Aquarium, she is privileged to study the giant Pacific octopus, an animal whose intelligence and canniness we are only beginning to understand. Montgomery often has the feeling that the octopuses she observes are evaluating her with equal curiosity, reaching out with several arms to touch and smell her skin. Meeting their gaze makes her think “of the look in the eyes of paintings of Hindu gods and goddesses: serene, all-knowing, heavy with wisdom stretching back beyond…

From Jean's list on the ways that animals redeem us.

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