The best books about seagulls

6 authors have picked their favorite books about seagulls and why they recommend each book.

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Jonathan Livingston Seagull

By Richard Bach,

Book cover of Jonathan Livingston Seagull

I wish I had read this book when I was younger, back when I was foolishly trying desperately to “fit in”. So, now I recommend everyone read Jonathan Livingston Seagull (especially teenagers) because we all need reminders not to follow the masses (because the “m” is sometimes silent). This book is a celebration of trailblazing, living your own truth without excuses, and experiencing true liberation.


Who am I?

Having studied what people believe (and why we believe what we do), it’s important to question the origin of our opinions, who gave them to us, and most importantly, why we are still carrying them today. I’m drawn to books that make you think rather than telling you what to think. 


I wrote...

Buddhist Boot Camp

By Timber Hawkeye,

Book cover of Buddhist Boot Camp

What is my book about?

A collection of journal entries on a journey to living a simple and uncomplicated life. Each chapter is only a page long and can be read in any order. While the book is not about Buddhism in the scholarly sense, it is an invitation to mindfully live at peace with the world (both within and around us), with the intention to awaken, enlighten, enrich, and inspire. As the Dalai Lama says, "Don't try to use what you learn from Buddhism to be a Buddhist; use it to be a better whatever-you-already-are."

The Herring Gull's World

By Niko Tinbergen,

Book cover of The Herring Gull's World: Study of the Social Behaviour of Birds

We often fail to appreciate the most common birds among us. In contrast, Nobel Laureate Niko Tinbergen celebrates the life of a common beach denizen in this classic book. Tinbergen wrote this book in the 1950s based on his detailed observations of the gulls in their natural habitats. As I read, I am taken to the dunes of the Netherlands where Niko spent his life. I can hear the cries of the gulls as they greet their mates, defend their turf, and raise their young. Tinbergen’s life of observing and experimenting is laid before me as he describes the postures and calls that form the gulls’ communication system. I come away from my read knowing a lot about gulls and even more about a brilliant scientist’s mind.


Who am I?

I am an ornithologist who studies the myriad ways in which we affect birds and they, in turn, affect us. I’ve conducted field research for over four decades, focusing mainly on the behavior, ecology, and evolution of corvids—crows, ravens, jays, and their relatives. Through these birds I’ve discovered how our settlements, agriculture, and recreation play into their hands, often to the detriment of less adaptable species. As a professor of wildlife science for 25 years, I’ve mentored many graduate and undergraduate students and written hundreds of technical articles. In my writing for popular audiences I aim to celebrate the successful birds that share our world and raise awareness of those we are driving toward extinction.


I wrote...

Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans

By John M. Marzluff, Tony Angell,

Book cover of Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans

What is my book about?

Crows are mischievous, playful, social, and passionate. They mate for life and associate with relatives and neighbors for years. And because they often live near people—in our gardens, parks, and cities—they are also keenly aware of our peculiarities, staying away from and even scolding anyone who threatens or harms them and quickly learning to recognize and approach those who care for and feed them, even giving them numerous, oddly touching gifts in return. The ongoing connection between humans and crows—a cultural co-evolution—has shaped both species for millions of years.

With his extraordinary research on the intelligence and behavior of corvids—crows, ravens, and jays—scientist John Marzluff tells amazing stories of these brilliant birds in Gifts of the Crow. Teamed with artist and fellow naturalist Tony Angell, they offer an in-depth look at these complex creatures and our shared behaviors, illustrated with gorgeous line drawings.

The Birds and Other Stories

By Daphne du Maurier,

Book cover of The Birds and Other Stories

The Birds is a tale of invasion. The rural West country setting appears safe, predictable. But Nat, an ordinary farm labourer, notices at once when the birds begin to mingle "in strange partnership." The description of the mass of gulls, riding the waves, waiting for the tide to turn, is unforgettable, superb. The birds are united against a single enemy, and they have a plan. They don’t care how many of their numbers die as long as they annihilate humanity. 

I love apocalypse tales and this is one of the greatest stories about what happens when nature turns against us.


Who am I?

I am a novelist and an academic. My own writing often evokes both the Gothic and the supernatural, and I enjoy the pleasures of plot: mystery, intrigue, and suspense. The popular literature of a particular culture will often tell you more about what that culture fears than the complex high art written at the same time. But where the project becomes really interesting is the moment when a writer exploits the literature of terror to investigate the human psyche and the dark side of the mind. All these tales are also award-winning films. In every case the book is more frightening.


I wrote...

The Deadly Space Between: A Novel

By Patricia Duncker,

Book cover of The Deadly Space Between: A Novel

What is my book about?

When I began teaching Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein the most common error was to confuse the Monster and his Maker. Surely the Monster’s name is Frankenstein? This confusion goes straight to the moral heart of Shelley’s book. The Monster and the scientist in my tale are the same person. My character, known as Röhm, is brilliant, charismatic, erotic, and evil. He is the tempter, the predator, the lover - and resistance is futile. But the single mother and her son who are bound to him do resist. Can they ever escape?

The Deadly Space Between is a book of ghosts, haunted by Frankenstein. It’s the only one of my books that I find unsettling to re-read. Even though I know what’s going to happen.

The Sea Lion's Friend

By Ed Shankman, Dave O'Neill (illustrator),

Book cover of The Sea Lion's Friend

Everyone needs a good friend and often when we make a new friend it invites others into our lives as well. This sweet rhyming book teaches a great lesson about what makes a good friend—and it’s not because they look just like you and like doing all the things you like doing—but revels in the differences that make each friend unique and celebrates the things friends do share in common. 


Who am I?

We tell stories for many reasons, but one of the best reasons is to teach our kids (or remind ourselves!) how to navigate in the world. We’ve all read Aesop’s Fables and at the end, the moral lesson is spelled out. This ruins the conversations you can have with someone else about what the story was about. Instead of feeling entertained, we feel like we were being told what to think and how to feel. As a writer, I love to include multiple themes in a book so that, depending on the age of the reader, or how many times the story is read, new ideas jump out of the book and into your brain.


I wrote...

Dragons Don't Dance Ballet

By Jennifer Carson,

Book cover of Dragons Don't Dance Ballet

What is my book about?

Esmerelda Dragon works the spotlight at the Metropolitan Ballet but what she really wants to do is dance. Encouraged by her friend, Harold, to audition, Esmerelda takes a leap of faith only to discover that she doesn’t quite fit in with the other ballerinas. But Esmerelda isn't ready to give up—and neither is Harold!

One Morning in Maine

By Robert McCloskey,

Book cover of One Morning in Maine

First published in 1952 and continues today as a fine example of finding joy and beauty in the simple experiences in life. McClosky draws a stunning view of Maine’s coastline that dazzles the senses. I sure plan to go find Buck’s Harbor there someday! The breezes, the seagulls, the sand, the small town ways of life along the eastern coast. I’m not the only one who finds this book a treasure. It holds the prestigious Caldecott Honor Book Award. Bravo, Robert!


Who am I?

My mother was rarely without pen and paper in hand. She wrote stories – true stories. After suffering a stroke she wasn’t able to compose the long enchanting novels she used to, but nevertheless kept writing. The stroke made it difficult for her to tell her special stories to her adored young grandson.  So we became creative. I took photos of her daily life with us. Brooke Dahmen drew beautiful illustrations from these photos. With her grandson’s and my help, grandma wrote true and heartfelt captions for the illustrations. All created in gratitude for the joys of senior living and the kind helping hands of a child.


I wrote...

A Land of Walkers and Wonder

By Leona Budilovsky, Joan Budilovsky, Brooke Dahmen (illustrator)

Book cover of A Land of Walkers and Wonder

What is my book about?

Is grandma or grandpa moving to assisted living? A Land of Walkers and Wonder is written specifically for children and seniors to explore these new types of living arrangements and be inspired by them. The story is about a day in the life of a 5-year-old boy as he visits his grandmother at her apartment in a senior living center. Everyone old is young again as fun games and surprises unfold between generations. Creativity holds no age limit. Inspiration exists in all shapes, sizes, abilities, and ages. Let this book inspire you to dream big at every age.

Wave

By Suzy Lee,

Book cover of Wave

A gorgeous picture book that captures the joys and excitement of being a child at the sea, playing chicken with the incoming waves. The little girl and a gaggle of gulls get braver and braver, until… SPLASH!

Suzy Lee’s lines are so fluid and expressive, her use of a limited palette works brilliantly, and there’s a clever use of the gutter (middle of the book) to build tension. Dare you not to smile and feel joy.


Who am I?

As a picture book creator, I am always seeking to use as few words as possible – for me, the best picture books are those where the images do most of the storytelling. Wordless books take things a step further and totally engage the child in interpreting the story - the child becomes the story's voice. Wordless books have a special place in my heart and I’m always on the lookout for new silent treasures as they emerge into the wonderful world of picture books. I want everyone to experience the special magic of ‘reading’ wordless books. 


I wrote...

Owl Bat Bat Owl

By Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick,

Book cover of Owl Bat Bat Owl

What is my book about?

A mother owl and her three little owlets live happily on their branch. That is, until the bat family moves in. The newfound neighbors (owls up top, bats hanging below) can’t help but feel a little wary of one another. But babies are curious little creatures, and that curiosity, along with a wild, stormy night, might just bring these two families together.

With subtly and hilariously shifting facial expressions and gestures, Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick brings her accessible graphic style to a warm and ingenious wordless tale that is sure to bring smiles to readers of all ages.

The Story of a Seagull and the Cat Who Taught Her to Fly

By Luis Sepulveda, Chris Sheban (illustrator),

Book cover of The Story of a Seagull and the Cat Who Taught Her to Fly

I watch these oil rigs blow up, I bear witness to birds smothered by oil slicks, and I am paralyzed with despair. But Luis Sepulveda finds hope, and he finds it with two animals who, in my back yard, would be natural enemies: a cat and a seagull. He finds, not only hope, but also reasons to break all unwritten rules. Because life is more precious than money, and hope is stronger than despair. I love the animals in this book. I love them with my whole heart. They’re not super smart or super courageous or super anything. They’re two animals, on a porch in a situation that needs to be solved. And if they can do the impossible, then damnit, I can at least try.


Who am I?

Thirteen years ago I adopted a homeless dog from Puerto Rico. I also met his rescuers, and they told me the story of this little yellow dog who lived by the food trucks on the road between San Juan and El Yunque National Forest. He had been hit by a car once, maybe twice. His leg was broken, and he was close to death. But they scooped him up, took him to the vet for surgery, nursed him to health, and sent him north. I named him Winston, and now I read every dog book with him in mind – the way he trusts me, believes in me, understands me, and understands everything I say. How did we get so lucky to have dogs? 


I wrote...

Rescuing Oricito: The Almost True Story of a South American Street Dog

By Marty Kingsbury,

Book cover of Rescuing Oricito: The Almost True Story of a South American Street Dog

What is my book about?

Valdivia, Chile, is a beautiful city: the Calle Calle River flows peacefully through town, elephant seals entertain people at the fish market, and horse-drawn wagons rumble the streets. But life is hard if you’re a homeless puppy. Oricito, a tiny golden mutt, is tired of being kicked around by people and seals alike. He doesn’t know how he will ever survive – until Rico and Valiente, two wily terriers, invite him into their pack. They teach him to beg food from tourists and to love with all his heart when rain pounds their makeshift roof. But they meet their match with The Man in New Shoes, a politician on a quest to rid the streets of homeless dogs. 

Beaks!

By Sneed B. Collard, Robin Brickman (illustrator),

Book cover of Beaks!

Not only is this book stunning – sculpted paper illustrations that appear 3D – it offers a flock-full of information about birds and the many types of beaks one may find on them. A beak isn’t just a beak, after all. With over 10,000 bird species in the world, it’s not surprising to learn that bird beaks come in many shapes and sizes, each with a specific purpose to a bird’s habitat necessary for survival in this big, wide world. Although geared for young readers, this book will inspire readers of all ages to take notice of bird beaks. Anytime we can encourage young readers to engage with nature and the world around them, that’s a good thing, don’t you think?


Who am I?

I’m the author of more than 25 award-winning books for children, including Mama Built a Little Nest, illustrated by Steve Jenkins, and I Love Birds! 52 Ways to Wonder, Wander and Explore Birds with Kids, illustrated by Alexander Vidal. When not writing, I help rehabilitate injured and orphaned songbirds, I study bird behavior, and I further my knowledge about birds through books and scholarly journals. Birds offer a constant source of discovery and wonder. I hope the books I’ve recommended offer a source of discovery and wonder for your young readers, too!


I wrote...

How to Find a Bird

By Jennifer Ward, Diana Sudyka (illustrator),

Book cover of How to Find a Bird

What is my book about?

This book is about the many wonderful ways a child may find a bird. They may begin by watching for them. And listening for them. And staying quiet, so quiet they can hear their own heartbeat. Children will soon discover that birds are everywhere - up in the sky, down on the ground, and sometimes right in front of them, just waiting to be discovered! This book features more than fifty species of birds, lushly illustrated by Diana Sudyka, and is a joyful and informative story to inspire budding young birders.

A Castaway in Cornwall

By Julie Klassen,

Book cover of A Castaway in Cornwall

Every chance I get to skip across the pond I take in a heartbeat, and one of my very favorite places to visit is the coast of Cornwall. You don’t have to spend a ton of money on airfare, though, to do the same. The descriptions in this book are positively scrumptious. You’ll feel as if your toes are in the sand with seagulls circling overhead. Plus there’s a fantastic mystery involved. Win. Win.

More Jane Eyre than Jane Austen.


Who am I?

Though I live in the foothills of the Ozarks, I’m an Anglophile at heart, loving all things Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. I spent much of my angsty adolescence tucked away in Regency and Victorian England with my nose stuck in a book. As a result, I now jump at every chance I get to skip across the pond and roam the English countryside, listening hard to hear all the voices from the past—which is why my stories are always tied to British history. So whether you love ballrooms or shadowy tales set in gothic manors, here’s a great list for you.


I wrote...

Lost in Darkness

By Michelle Griep,

Book cover of Lost in Darkness

What is my book about?

Even if there be monsters, there is none so fierce as that which resides in man’s own heart. Travel writer Amelia Balfour’s dream of touring Egypt is halted when she receives news of a revolutionary new surgery for her grotesquely disfigured brother. She must remain in England—which changes everything...in the worst possible way.

Surgeon Graham Lambert has suspicions about the doctor he’s gone into practice with, but he can’t stop him from operating on Amelia’s brother. Will he be too late to prevent the man’s death? Or to reveal his true feelings for Amelia before she finally sails to Cairo?

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