Birdsong Books - Natural Science Books for Children
Birdsong Books

Reviews and Awards

Press Room

Contact Birdsong Books

Book Reviews,
and Endorsements

The Animal's Winter Sleep

  • Delaware Diamonds Booklist 2009-2010
  • Book of the Month Dec. 2008, National Wildlife Federation, Your Big Backyard Magazine

Read the reviews!

Red Knot:
A Shorebird's Incredible Journey

Eric Hoffer Award Banner

  • 2007 Eric Hoffer Book Awards, First Runner Up, Children's Category
  • 14th Annual Writer's Digest International Self-Published Book Awards, Honorable Mention
  • Delaware Diamonds Book Award 2006-07
  • Accepted for the Accelerated Reader Program

Read the reviews!

Raccoon Moon

  • Selected as September 2005 Read-To-Me book, and September 2003 book of the month for the children's nature magazine, Your Big Backyard.
  • Selected for the International Reading Association's Children's Book Awards Notable Books.
  • Selected for the Delaware Diamonds Book List.
  • Selected for the Winter 2002 Children's BookSense 76 book list.
  • Accepted for the Accelerated Reader Program.

Read the reviews!

The Parent Council Seal

The Robins In Your Backyard

  • Awarded the Parent Council seal as outstanding from a learning perspective for children ages 4 to 7.
  • Selected for the Delaware Diamonds Book List.
  • Accepted for the Accelerated Reader Program.

Read the reviews!


Visits To

& Lectures


TOP of Page

The Animals' Winter Sleep

by Lynda Graham-Barber
illustrated by Nancy Carol Willis
ISBN 978-09662761-6-9, Paperback
Children ages 3-5, 24 pages, 8x9

What the Reviewers say:

Recommended for children ages 2 to 5, The Animals' Writer Sleep is a rhyming picture book about where various animals sleep in cold and snowy weather. Gentle illustrations in cool, soothing colors show different animals sleeping snugly in their dens, nests, burrows, and lodges. A perfect read-aloud book for parents to share with little ones just before bedtime.
James A. Cox, Midwest Book Review

This gentle winter tale is perfect for lulling young ones to sleep. Rhyming text describes how 13 North American animals adapt to the winter cold. Colored pencil illustrations show bears, squirrels, and beavers taking cover in their dens, nests, and lodges. An educational section at the end of the book illustrates various animal tracks and provides information on winter foods, nesting materials, and survival strategies.
National Wildlife Federation Book Review, Your Big Backyard Book of the Month

The thirteen animals depicted in this book have a variety of ways of coping with the winter. The active snowshoe hare takes its rest in a hollow log; the porcupine edges itself among some rocks and gets its rest. Skunks snuggle together in an underground den, and beavers live year round in their cozy lodges built above ground but entered through an underwater doorway. The last spread shows the animals' footprints and various facts about them. The final page gives the answers to a spread that challenges the reader to find all of the sleeping animals.
Marilyn Courtot, Children's Literature

What delights in this neat little book is the color and texture reminiscent of warm Crayolas and snow days, provided by artist Nancy Carol Willis, and a pleasant text by Lynda Graham-Barber that has moments of music. For the grownups and older kids, there's a cool appendix of how the animals in the lyric narrative cope with winter, organized by time of day during which the animals are most active – perfect for a teaching moment.
Scott Whitaker, Delmarva Quarterly

Lynda Graham-Barber has captured the wonder of unique animal adaptations in winter in a way that will appeal to young children. The text is melodic and rich with real natural history woven in. Questions in the back of the book do a particularly nice job of inviting the reader to look back through the pictures.
Teresa Mitchell, Education Director, Vermont Institute of Natural Science

Bold brilliant illustrations depict accurate natural history information in The Animals' Winter Sleep. Young children will discover where 13 familiar animal species sleep. Extra information in the back of the book extends the story and encourages interactions with the illustrations. A must on your bedtime story list!
Helen Fey Fischel, Associate Director of Education, Delaware Nature Society

TOP of Page

Red Knot - A Shorebird's Incredible Journey

by Nancy Carol Willis
ISBN 978-09662761-4-5, Hardcover
ISBN 978-09662761-5-2, Paperback
Children ages 6-10, 32 pages, 8.5 x 11

What the Reviewers say:

The author of this welcome book follows one Red Knot from its home, Tierra del Fuego, north to its breeding grounds near the Arctic Circle, clearly introducing the species and explaining this story to young readers. Carefully delineated drawings, beginning with a map on the title page, depict this incredible journey in colorful double-page spreads that illustrate the birds so accurately that a birder can easily identify the other shorebirds pictured as well. This is both a pleasure to look at and a source of useful information for classes studying ecology, birds or seasonal changes in the world.
Kirkus Reviews

Handsome illustrations, in what appears to be softly shaded colored pencil, present precise depictions of the red knot's appearance and activities within well-composed scenes showing a variety of habitats. Resembling an ornithologist's journal, the text consists of short entries that note the date and the bird's progress, behavior, and environment. The book concludes with a glossary, facts about scientists' banding of birds, and additional information about red knots. Easy to follow and informative.
Carolyn Phelan, Booklist

The smooth, simple text is complemented with well-composed, colored-pencil drawings. Factual notes are appended. This book will serve report writers and nature lovers well.
Nancy Call, School Library Journal

Bird migration is the subject of this beautiful book on bird life. This isn't a dry ecology book full of facts and figures. It's the kind of book your children will love and treasure for years to come.
The 2007 Eric Hoffer Book Awards, Best New Writing

Willis's full-page color art is the most realistically vivid we have seen in a children's book. Anyone who loved the movie "March of the Penguins" will follow Red Knot's adventure with equal amounts of anxiety, amazement and sheer delight.
Marah Coleman, Delmarva Quarterly

Knowledgeably written and expertly illustrated by Nancy Carol Willis, Red Knot: A Shorebird's Incredible Journey is the remarkable story of one bird's migration between South America's most southern tip, and the twenty-thousand miles she must travel to prepare a nest and raise her young. Enhanced with the inclusion of a glossary, annual timeline, as well as a range and route map, Red Knot is enthusiastically recommended for all young readers ages 6 to 9.
Small Press Bookwatch, Midwest Book Review

Red Knot: A Shorebird's Incredible Journey tells the dramatic tale of one bird's 20,000-mile migration. Since Red Knots make only a few stops along their route, their survival depends on having protected coastal sites with abundant food available, as in Delaware's Coastal Zone. This beautifully illustrated book teaches children about this amazing species, currently in serious decline, and the hardships it must overcome each year to nest and raise its young. As a long term protector of Delaware's wondrous Coastal Zone, I endorse this book and its clear and compelling conservation message.
Russell W. Peterson, Governor, State of Delaware, 1969-1973; President, National Audubon Society, 1979-1984

Nancy Carol Willis has captured the wonder of one of the most amazing animal journeys known to science, and has delivered a factually honest story of the migration by the Red Knot. In putting the story together, she has sought advice from me and other researchers of knots, as well as other people whose lives (and in some cases livelihoods) are touched by this bird that, twice each year, migrates between the southernmost lands of South America and some of the most northern lands of the Canadian Arctic. As an international migrant, special conservation challenges have faced this bird, whose populations recently have fallen precipitously. It has been a pleasure to watch how Ms. Willis has taken decades of research of such a wondrous animal and reduced it to an illustrated, simple and straightforward story of migration wonder with a conservation bent for children.
Brian Harrington, author of Flight of the Red Knot, WW Norton & Company, NY

I am really pleased that Nancy Carol Willis has written a book about the Red Knot. Its long-distance migration will prove inspiring to children, and its conservation plight will encourage them to care and take action. Willis' book brings children and their families close to the birds. She provides good information and creates a strong caring attitude. Willis' birds are beautifully drawn and are a great addition to the text. Her work will prove very important to the conservation efforts on behalf of the Red Knot.
Greg Butcher, Director of Bird Conservation, National Audubon Society

This lovely book gets the message across to children that we need to care for our environment if the animals we share this planet with are to survive. The epic journeys of these birds are explained in a way that is easy to understand and gives a feel for the trials they go through every year.
Nigel A. Clark, Head of Projects, British Trust for Ornithology

Red Knot: A Shorebird's Incredible Journey tells the amazing story of one individual of a species that is now in serious trouble. The Delaware Nature Society strongly endorses this timely book that will advance the education of children and adults about critical issues surrounding the annual shorebird and horseshoe crab migrations along Delaware Bay shores and specifically the plight of the Red Knot.
Michael E. Riska, Executive Director, Delaware Nature Society

This appealing nonfiction picture book offers a clear, detailed explanation of the unique journey the Red Knot must make in order to nest and raise young. Full page illustrations depicting various stages of the incredible trip, as well as predators, add to the drama of this exciting nature tale. A glossary and timeline are great additions and will appeal to older readers.
Karen Quinn, Assistant Director, Corbit-Calloway Library

The impact of the environment on endangered species comes to life for children in Nancy Carol Willis' book, Red Knot: A Shorebird's Incredible Journey. The journal-style narrative points out the strength and dangers of an awesome and brave feat that only nature could produce as a small bird takes an overwhelming trip in which Delaware Bay plays a key role.
Diana Taylor, Library Media Specialist, Holy Angels School

TOP of Page

Raccoon Moon

By Nancy Carol Willis
ISBN 0-9662761-2-4, Cloth $15.95
ISBN 0-9662761-3-2, Paper $7.95
32-pages, children 4-9, 8.5 x 11

What the Reviewers say:

This tale traces a nine-month period in the lives of three raccoon cubs and their mother-from the night the cubs are born under an April moon until the evening they first curl up in their winter dens and dream of the coming spring. Fascinating raccoon facts are sprinkled throughout this loving tale. And realistic yet vibrant illustrations bring the raccoon family to life.
National Wildlife Federation

Willis follows her wonderful exploration of The Robins In Your Backyard (Birdsong 1998) with an equally charming narrative about frequent backyard marauders. Her story traces the life of a raccoon family from the cubs' birth under the April moon to their winter's sleep. Facts are seamlessly woven into the narrative ('Rudy and Spice rip the ears of corn from the stalks. Rusty tears away the husk and devours the plump, yellow kernels. He can eat five pounds of food a night'). Brilliant, realistic paintings make the mother and her three cubs come to life. Willis joins the ranks of wildlife artists and writers like Jim Arnosky (Raccoons and Ripe Corn [Morrow, 1991]) and others, who offer young readers a chance to experience the wonder of real animals closely observed.
School Library Journal

Raccoon Moon is a gentle and highly recommended children's picturebook about a mother raccoon who takes care of her cubs. The soft color, museum quality illustrations add a heartwarming special touch to this tender tale. A postscript of fun facts about raccoons, including how the raccoon got its name and why baby raccoons can't be kept as pets, rounds out this excellent story.
Children's Bookwatch, The Midwest Book Review

Raccoon Moon seamlessly weaves together stunning artwork and concise factual information, producing an educational and entertaining story for children of all ages.
Kristin Haegele, Delaware Today Magazine

This would be a wonderful book for any teacher or parent who wants to teach a child about nature.
Heather Robertson, Children's Literature

It is a joy to discover a book that represents the perfect blend of story and science. Put Raccoon Moon on your list for classrooms, libraries, and gifts for any young people you want to fall in love with reading - and nature.
Pat Thompson, Supervisor of Instruction, Capital School District, Dover, DE

This delightful tale is a wonderful way of introducing children to these fascinating animals who live nearby, while also teaching them to appreciate and respect them as wild creatures with needs of their own.
Dr. Erica A. Miller, President-Elect, National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association

Raccoon Moon is beautifully illustrated, fun to read and accurate. The information at the end of the book will make any parent an instant expert on raccoons!
Dr. Karl R. Kranz, Director of Biological Programs, Jacksonville Zoo, FL

Big and beautiful illustrations and lyrical text lead younger children through the first year of a raccoon's life. Raccoon Moon is a "must-have" for any juvenile nonfiction collections.
Karen Quinn, Director of Youth Services, Corbit-Calloway Library, Odessa, DE

Raccoon Moon is a charming story about the adventures of raccoon cubs and their mother. The cubs' birth and growth is beautifully correlated by the phases of the moon and the passing seasons.
Barbara Keesey, Library Specialist, Bear Public Library, DE

TOP of Page

The Robins In Your Backyard

By Nancy Carol Willis
ISBN 0-9662761-0-8, Hardcover $15.95
ISBN 0-9662761-1-6, Paperback $7.95
32-pages, children 4-8, 8.5 x 11

What the Reviewers say:

Solid facts about the mating, nesting and migration habits of the American robin are neatly presented with big, eye-catching illustrations. The detailed colored-pencil illustrations make this common backyard visitor come alive and remind us why the robin is one of our favorite backyard birds.

The realistic colored-pencil illustrations include an inside-the-egg look at the embryo, the hatching of a bird, and a look at a newborn robin. A guide to aiding injured and orphaned songbirds is appended. Bird lovers and other curious folk will enjoy this light, but accurate account of the life cycle of the robin.
School Library Journal

Beautifully detailed large-size pencil drawings accompany a clear explanation of the breeding habits of the American robin. Teachers and parents will find it an unusually clear and enticing production.
The Midwest Children's Book Review

The natural progression of the Robin's life cycle provides the book with its easy, well-organized flow. This book could well be used in an early elementary classroom.
Small Press Magazine

Concluding information on dealing with injured or orphaned birds completes the attractive life cycle of this familiar bird.
The Elementary School Library Journal

Colorful illustrations allow readers to get up close and personal with these beautiful birds, while sparse text contains captivating details like this tidbit: each baby robin 'can eat fourteen feet of earthworms in one day.'
The Hartford Courant

As a specially trained wildlife aide, Nancy faithfully donated hundreds of hours to care for injured, oiled and orphaned birds. And it is lucky for us that her artistic and storytelling abilities transform this special understanding to something we all can share.
Lynne Frink, Founder, Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, Inc.

A gift for any child who has enjoyed watching robins.
Reviews from Parent Council

TOP of Page

The Rock

By Daniel A. Birchmore,
Illustrated by Nancy Carol Willis
ISBN 1-887813-03-9, Hardcover, $14.95
Children 4-7, 32-pages, 6 x 9

What the Reviewers say:

The Rock is a portrayal of geologic and evolutionary time at a remarkably simple level.
Ginger & Richard's Best of Books for Kids

The comforting story, accented by soft colored pencil illustrations, is an ideal read-aloud.
Book Reviews on the Internet

HOME | Press Room | Writing & Illustration | Nancy's Homepage | About Nancy
School Programs | Workshops & Lectures | Kid's Page | Contact Birdsong Books

  Schedule a Program, Workshop or Lecture | Book Reviews
How to Help Baby Animals | Tips for School Visits | Links | email: Nancy

Copyright ©1999-2023.
All Rights Reserved.
web design by MAD House Graphics

Valid CSS2!  Valid HTML 4.0!