New Release Books by Sy Montgomery

Sy Montgomery is the author of The Hawk's Way (2022), The Seagull and the Sea Captain (2022), The Hummingbirds' Gift (2021), Becoming a Good Creature (2020) and other 67 books.

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The Hawk's Way

release date: May 03, 2022
The Hawk's Way
A splendid and luminous celebration of one of nature’s most perfect and mysterious creatures—the hawk—from the New York Times bestselling author of the “astoundingly beautiful” (NPR) The Soul of an Octopus. When Sy Montgomery went to spend a day at falconer Nancy Cowan’s farm, home to a dozen magnificent birds of prey, it was the start of a deep love affair. Nancy allowed her to work with Jazz, a feisty, four-year-old, female Harris’s hawk with a wingspan of more than four feet. Not a pet, Jazz was a fierce predator with talons that could pierce skin and bone and yet, she was willing to work with a human to hunt. From the first moment Jazz swept down from a tree and landed on Sy’s leather gloved fist, Sy fell under the hawk’s magnetic spell. Over the next few years, Sy spent more time with these magnificent creatures, getting to know their extraordinary abilities and instincts. They are deeply emotional animals, quick to show anger and frustration, and can hold a grudge for years. But they are also loyal and intensely aware of their surroundings. In this mesmerizing account, featuring sixteen pages of gorgeous color photographs, Sy passionately and vividly reveals the wonderous world of hawks and what they can teach us about nature, life, and love.

The Seagull and the Sea Captain

release date: Mar 01, 2022
The Seagull and the Sea Captain
From New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award Nominee Sy Montgomery comes the sweet, brightly illustrated true story of a seagull and a sea captain who became friends over the course of four summers. In a quiet harbor in New England, a sea captain named Ellis is visited by a seagull that lands on the back of his family’s passenger schooner one afternoon. Ellis feeds the seagull, and by the end of the week, it was eating crackers right out of his hand! Their friendship lasted the summer, and four years later, the wild seagull Polly still visits. This nonfiction story about an unlikely friendship is sure to charm young readers.

The Hummingbirds' Gift

release date: May 04, 2021
The Hummingbirds' Gift
From the beloved New York Times bestselling author of the “fascinating…entertaining” (The Daily Beast) National Book Award finalist The Soul of an Octopus, a charmingly perfect gem of a book about the most exquisite and extraordinary of winged creatures—hummingbirds. As one of the most beautiful and intriguing birds found in nature, hummingbirds fascinate people around the world. The lightest birds in the sky, hummingbirds are capable of incredible feats, such as flying backwards, diving at speeds of sixty-one MPH, and beating their wings more than sixty times a second. Miraculous creatures, they are also incredibly vulnerable when they first emerge from their eggs. That’s where Brenda Sherburn comes in. With tenderness and patience, she rescues abandoned hummingbirds and nurses them back to health until they can fly away and live in the wild. In The Hummingbird’s Gift, the extraordinary care that Brenda provides her peanut-sized patients is revealed and, in the process, shows us just how truly amazing hummingbirds are. With Sy Montgomery’s signature “joyful passion” (Library Journal), and including sixteen pages of gorgeous color photos, this beautifully written and inspiring little book celebrates the profound gift that hummingbirds are to our planet and is the ultimate gift for nature lovers and bird watchers everywhere.

Becoming a Good Creature

release date: Sep 29, 2020
Becoming a Good Creature
A New York Times Bestseller School is not the only place to find a teacher. In this beautiful picture book, learn the many surprising lessons animals have to teach us about friendship, compassion, and how to be a better creature in the world. Sy Montgomery has had many teachers in her life: some with two legs, others with four, or even eight! Some have had fur, feathers, or hooves. But they’ve all had one thing in common: a lesson to share. The animals Sy has met on her many world travels have taught her how to seek understanding in the most surprising ways, from being patient to finding forgiveness and respecting others. Gorillas, dogs, octopuses, tigers, and more all have shown Sy that there are no limits to the empathy and joy we can find in each other if only we take the time to connect. Based on the New York Times best-selling adult memoir, Sy Montgomery and Rebecca Green's beautiful, friendly guide is for readers young and old who wish to be better creatures in the world. Go ahead, pass it on.

Inky's Amazing Escape

release date: Aug 25, 2020
Inky's Amazing Escape
“Montgomery’s expertise and the gorgeous illustrations make this a fine purchase for libraries serving early elementary students.” —School Library Journal “The mixed-media illustrations make good use of dynamic spreads, color, and texture—perfect for a book on a master of camouflage. Montgomery seamlessly incorporates interesting facts about octopuses into the narrative.” —Booklist Learn all about Inky the Octopus, an international sensation known for escaping from the New Zealand aquarium in April 2016, in this fascinating picture book from National Book Award nominee and octopus expert Sy Montgomery. Inky had been at the New Zealand aquarium since 2014 after being taken in by a fisherman who found him at sea. Inky had been getting used to his new environment, but the staff quickly figured out that he had to be kept amused or he would get bored. Then one night in 2016 Inky, about the size of a basketball, decided he’d had enough. He slithered eight feet across the floor and down a drainpipe more than 160 feet long to his home in the sea. Acclaimed author Sy Montogmery reminds readers that Inky didn’t escape—but instead, like the curious animal he is, wanted to explore the rest of the vast ocean he called his home.

Condor Comeback

release date: Jul 28, 2020
Condor Comeback
*Winner of the 2021 Green Earth Book Award* Sibert Medalist, National Book Award Honoree, and New York Times best-selling author Sy Montgomery turns her formidable talents to the story of California condors and the scientists who have fought against their extinction in this installment in the award-winning Scientists in the Field series. In April of 1987 the last wild California condor was captured and taken to live in captivity like the other twenty-six remaining birds of its kind. Many thought that the days were over of of this remarkable, distinguished bird that had roamed the skies of North and Central American for thousands of years. Sy Montgomery employs her skill for on-the-ground reporting, shrewd observation, and stunning narrative prose to detail the efforts of scientists, volunteers, and everyday citizens to get California condors back in the wild. In particular, Montgomery profiles employees at the Santa Barbara Zoo who have worked tirelessly to raise abandoned chicks, nurse sick birds back to health, and conduct research that can support legislation to ban what is probably the largest threat to the existence of the wild condor: lead bullets. In turns affectionate and frustrated, hopeful and heartbreaking, Montgomery’s powerful prose does justice to these ancient, sociable, and elegant creatures. Complete with world-class, full-color photography and helpful sidebars that provide details such as the history of the bird’s fight back from extinction, the dangers of lead poisoning, and the relationship of condors to the Chumash nation, Condor Comeback is an inspiring story of groundbreaking science, perseverance, and cooperation.

The Magnificent Migration

release date: Jan 01, 2019
The Magnificent Migration
Sibert medalist and National Book Award finalist Sy Montgomery takes readers on a staggering, emotional journey alongside the greatest land migration on the planet earth--that of the wildebeest across the Serengeti--to explore the mystery and wonder of migration in a sweeping story sure to leave its mark. With full color photography. Sibert medalist Sy Montgomery takes readers on a staggering, emotional journey alongside the greatest land migration on earth--that of the wildebeest across the Serengeti--to provide a you-are-there account of one of nature's most fascinating occurrences. Montgomery explores the wonder of migration, asking questions like, how do migration patterns sculpt the environment? Why do animals migrate? And how do they know where to go? With lyrical prose, abundant facts, and the inclusion of other species who undertake remarkable migrations, Montgomery makes a journey of thousands of miles fly by--but not without leaving its mark. Full color photography.

How To Be A Good Creature

release date: Sep 25, 2018
How To Be A Good Creature
A New York Times bestseller! National Book Award finalist Sy Montgomery reflects on the personalities and quirks of 13 animals—her friends—who have profoundly affected her in this stunning, poetic, and life-affirming memoir featuring illustrations by Rebecca Green. Understanding someone who belongs to another species can be transformative. No one knows this better than author, naturalist, and adventurer Sy Montgomery. To research her books, Sy has traveled the world and encountered some of the planet’s rarest and most beautiful animals. From tarantulas to tigers, Sy’s life continually intersects with and is informed by the creatures she meets. This restorative memoir reflects on the personalities and quirks of thirteen animals—Sy’s friends—and the truths revealed by their grace. It also explores vast themes: the otherness and sameness of people and animals; the various ways we learn to love and become empathetic; how we find our passion; how we create our families; coping with loss and despair; gratitude; forgiveness; and most of all, how to be a good creature in the world.

The Hyena Scientist

release date: May 15, 2018
The Hyena Scientist
This myth-busting new addition to the critically acclaimed Scientists in the Field series by Sibert medal winning team Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop is perfect for nonfiction readers looking for more female scientist narratives, or a fresh perspective on an underrepresented animal—Hyenas! Timely and inspiring, The Hyena Scientist sets the record straight about one of history’s most hated and misunderstood mammals, while featuring the groundbreaking, pioneering research of a female scientist in a predominately male field in this offering by Sibert-winning duo Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop. As a scientist studying one of the only mammalian societies led entirely by females, zoologist Kay Holecamp has made it her life’s work to understand hyenas, the fascinating, complex creatures that are playful, social, and highly intelligent—almost nothing like the mangy monsters of pop culture lore.

Tamed and Untamed

release date: Sep 18, 2017
Tamed and Untamed
Extraordinary new insights into the minds and lives of our fellow creatures from two of the world’s top animal authors, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas and Sy Montgomery. A Mail on Sunday “Critic's Pick” Best Read of the Year "In their writing and in their lives and in their remarkable friendship, Liz and Sy break down false barriers and carry us closer to our fellow creatures.”—from the foreword by Vicki Constantine Croke, author of Elephant Company Tamed and Untamed―a collection of essays penned by two of the world's most celebrated animal writers, Sy Montgomery and Elizabeth Marshall Thomas―explores the minds, lives, and mysteries of animals as diverse as snails, house cats, hawks, sharks, dogs, lions, and even octopuses. Drawing on stories of animals both wild and domestic, the two authors, also best friends, created this book to put humans back into the animal world. The more we learn about what other animals think and do, they explain, the more we understand ourselves as animals, too. Writes Montgomery, “The list of attributes once thought to be unique to our species―from using tools to waging war―is not only rapidly shrinking, but starting to sound less and less impressive when we compare them with other animals’ powers.” With humor, empathy, and introspection, Montgomery and Thomas look into the lives of all kinds of creatures―from man’s best friend to the great white shark―and examine the ways we connect with our fellow species. Both authors have devoted their lives to sharing the animal kingdom’s magic with others, and their combined wisdom is an indispensable contribution to the field of animal literature. The book contains a foreword by Vicki Constantine Croke, author of the bestseller Elephant Company.

Amazon Adventure

release date: Jul 04, 2017
Amazon Adventure
Considered the “lungs of the world,” the Amazon provides a full fifth of the world’s oxygen, and every year unsustainable human practices destroy 2.7 million acres. What can be done to help? That’s where Project Piaba comes in. Join the award-winning author Sy Montgomery and the photographer Keith Ellenbogen as they traverse the river and rainforest to discover how tiny fish, called piabas, can help preserve the Amazon, its animals, and the rich legacy of its people. Amazon Adventure is an eye-opening—and ultimately hopeful—exploration of how humanity’s practices are affecting and shaping not only the Amazon, but our entire environment.

The Soul of an Octopus

release date: Jul 12, 2016
The Soul of an Octopus
Finalist for the National Book Award for Nonfiction * New York Times Bestseller * Starred Booklist and Library Journal Editors’ Spring Pick * A Huffington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of the Year * One of the Best Books of the Month on Goodreads * Library Journal Best Sci-Tech Book of the Year * An American Library Association Notable Book of the Year “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, UK “One of the best science books of the year.” —Science Friday, NPR Another New York Times bestseller from the author of The Good Good Pig, this “fascinating…touching…informative…entertaining” (The Daily Beast) book explores the emotional and physical world of the octopus—a surprisingly complex, intelligent, and spirited creature—and the remarkable connections it makes with humans. In pursuit of the wild, solitary, predatory octopus, popular naturalist Sy Montgomery has practiced true immersion journalism. From New England aquarium tanks to the reefs of French Polynesia and the Gulf of Mexico, she has befriended octopuses with strikingly different personalities—gentle Athena, assertive Octavia, curious Kali, and joyful Karma. Each creature shows her cleverness in myriad ways: escaping enclosures like an orangutan; jetting water to bounce balls; and endlessly tricking companions with multiple “sleights of hand” to get food. Scientists have only recently accepted the intelligence of dogs, birds, and chimpanzees but now are watching octopuses solve problems and are trying to decipher the meaning of the animal’s color-changing techniques. With her “joyful passion for these intelligent and fascinating creatures” (Library Journal Editors’ Spring Pick), Montgomery chronicles the growing appreciation of this mollusk as she tells a unique love story. By turns funny, entertaining, touching, and profound, The Soul of an Octopus reveals what octopuses can teach us about the meeting of two very different minds.

The Octopus Scientists

release date: Dec 21, 2021
The Octopus Scientists
Part of the award-winning Scientists in the Field series, The Octopus Scientists takes readers to the waters off of Moorea, Tahiti, to study the mind of the mollusk. Follow scientists as they uncover the secrets of its advanced intelligence and learn what these thinking, feeling creatures have to teach us about the oceans, its animals, and ourselves. With three hearts and blue blood, its body unconstrained by jointed limbs or gravity, the octopus seems to be an inhabitant of another world. The octopus also has the powers of a superhero: it can shape shift, change color, squirt ink, pour itself through the tiniest of openings, or jet away through the sea faster than a swimmer. Most intriguing of all, octopuses are remarkably intelligent. This book, an inquiry into the mind of an intelligent invertebrate, is also a foray into our unexplored planet. These thinking, feeling creatures can help readers experience and understand our world (or even life itself) in a new way.

The Great White Shark Scientist

release date: Jun 07, 2016
The Great White Shark Scientist
Dr. Greg Skomal, biologist and head of the Massachusetts Shark Research Program, is investigating a controversial possibility: Might Cape Cod’s waters serve as a breeding ground for the great white shark, the largest and most feared predatory fish on Earth? Sy Montgomery and Keith Ellenbogen report on this thrilling turning point in marine research and travel to Guadeloupe, Mexico, to get up close and personal with the sharks. This daring expedition into the realm of great whites shows readers that in order to save the planet and its creatures, we must embrace our humanity and face our greatest fears. This is an ideal read for Shark Week or anytime!

Chasing Cheetahs

release date: Oct 28, 2014
Chasing Cheetahs
Since the year 1900, cheetah footprints quickly dwindled in African dirt as the species plummeted from more than 100,000 to fewer than 10,000. At the Cheetah Conservation Fund's (CCF) African headquarters in Namibia, Laurie Marker and her team save these stunning, swift, and slender creatures from extinction. Since the organization's start in 1990, they've rescued more than 900 cheetahs, most of whom have been returned to the wild. But this arduous challenge continues. For most African livestock farmers, cheetahs are the last thing they want to see on their properties. In the 1980s, as many as 19 cheetahs per farmer died each year. Cheetahs were considered vermin--but, in learning more about this magnificent species, we know this is far from true. Today, CCF acts as a liaison between the farmers and the cheetahs, in order to promote cohabitation in an ecosystem that cannot thrive without the existence of the precious and predatory cheetah. On a wild ride through the African wilderness--sometimes sniffing out scents left in the dirt--Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop join CCF in studying the cheetah's ecological, genetic, and behavioral patterns in order to chase down the fastest animal on land and save the species--before it is too late.

Guys Read: True Stories

release date: Sep 16, 2014
Guys Read: True Stories
Jon Scieszka's Guys Read anthology series for tweens turns to nonfiction in its fifth volume, True Stories. The fifth installment in the Guys Read Library of Great Reading features ten stories that are 100% amazing, 100% adventurous, 100% unbelievable—and 100% true. A star-studded group of award-winning nonfiction authors and journalists provides something for every reader, all aligned with the Common Core State Standards. Compiled and edited by real-life literature legend Jon Scieszka, Guys Read: True Stories is a mind-blowing collection of essays, biographies, how-to guides, and more, all proving that the truth is most definitely out there. Supports the Common Core State Standards

The Tapir Scientist

release date: Jul 23, 2013
The Tapir Scientist
If you’ve never seen a lowland tapir, you’re not alone. Most of the people who live near tapir habitat in Brazil’s vast Pantanal (“the Everglades on steroids”) haven’t seen the elusive snorkel-snouted mammal, either. In this arresting nonfiction picture book, Sibert winners Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop join a tapir-finding expedition led by the Brazilian field scientist Pati Medici. Aspiring scientists will love the immediate, often humorous “you are there” descriptions of fieldwork, and gadget lovers will revel in the high-tech science at play, from microchips to the camera traps that capture the “soap opera” of tapir life.

Temple Grandin

release date: Apr 03, 2012
Temple Grandin
When Temple Grandin was born, her parents knew that she was different. Years later she was diagnosed with autism. While Temple’s doctor recommended a hospital, her mother believed in her. Temple went to school instead. Today, Dr. Temple Grandin is a scientist and professor of animal science at Colorado State University. Her world-changing career revolutionized the livestock industry. As an advocate for autism, Temple uses her experience as an example of the unique contributions that autistic people can make. This compelling biography complete with Temple’s personal photos takes us inside her extraordinary mind and opens the door to a broader understanding of autism.

Birdology

release date: Aug 04, 2011
Birdology
Meet the ladies: a flock of smart, affectionate, highly individualistic chickens who visit their favorite neighbors, devise different ways to hide from foxes, and mob the author like she's a rock star. In these pages you'll also meet Maya and Zuni, two orphaned baby hummingbirds who hatched from eggs the size of navy beans, and who are little more than air bubbles fringed with feathers. Their lives hang precariously in the balance-but with human help, they may one day conquer the sky. Snowball is a cockatoo whose dance video went viral on YouTube and who's now teaching schoolchildren how to dance. You'll meet Harris's hawks named Fire and Smoke. And you'll come to know and love a host of other avian characters who will change your mind forever about who birds really are. Each of these birds shows a different and utterly surprising aspect of what makes a bird a bird-and these are the lessons of Birdology: that birds are far stranger, more wondrous, and at the same time more like us than we might have dared to imagine. In Birdology, beloved author of The Good Good Pig Sy Montgomery explores the essence of the otherworldly creatures we see every day. By way of her adventures with seven birds-wild, tame, exotic, and common-she weaves new scientific insights and narrative to reveal seven kernels of bird wisdom. The first lesson of Birdology is that, no matter how common they are, Birds Are Individuals, as each of Montgomery's distinctive Ladies clearly shows. In the leech-infested rain forest of Queensland, you'll come face to face with a cassowary-a 150-pound, man-tall, flightless bird with a helmet of bone on its head and a slashing razor-like toenail with which it (occasionally) eviscerates people-proof that Birds Are Dinosaurs. You'll learn from hawks that Birds Are Fierce; from pigeons, how Birds Find Their Way Home; from parrots, what it means that Birds Can Talk; and from 50,000 crows who moved into a small city's downtown, that Birds Are Everywhere. They are the winged aliens who surround us. Birdology explains just how very "other" birds are: Their hearts look like those of crocodiles. They are covered with modified scales, which are called feathers. Their bones are hollow. Their bodies are permeated with extensive air sacs. They have no hands. They give birth to eggs. Yet despite birds' and humans' disparate evolutionary paths, we share emotional and intellectual abilities that allow us to communicate and even form deep bonds. When we begin to comprehend who birds really are, we deepen our capacity to approach, understand, and love these otherworldly creatures. And this, ultimately, is the priceless lesson of Birdology: it communicates a heartfelt fascination and awe for birds and restores our connection to these complex, mysterious fellow creatures

The Quest For The Tree Kangaroo

release date: Oct 19, 2009
The Quest For The Tree Kangaroo
A 2007 Sibert Honor Book It looks like a bear, but isn’t one. It climbs trees as easily as a monkey— but isn’t a monkey, either. It has a belly pocket like a kangaroo, but what’s a kangaroo doing up a tree? Meet the amazing Matschie’s tree kangaroo, who makes its home in the ancient trees of Papua New Guinea’s cloud forest. And meet the amazing scientists who track these elusive animals.

Search for the Golden Moon Bear

release date: Aug 25, 2009
Search for the Golden Moon Bear
Sy Montgomery--acclaimed author of The Soul of an Octopus and bestselling memoir The Good Good Pig--has shared with readers her amazing encounters with intelligent octopi, great apes, man-eating tigers, and pink river dolphins, but here her muse is an animal whose name and appearance evoke another world altogether. Southeast Asia's golden moon bear, with its luminous coat, lionlike mane, and Mickey Mouse ears, was unknown to science--until Montgomery and her colleagues got on the trail at the dawn of the new millennium. Search for the Golden Moon Bear recounts Montgomery's quest--fraught with danger and mayhem--to reconstruct an evolutionary record and piece together a living portrait of her littleknown subject. This beautiful animal is not just a scientific eureka! It is also a powerful symbol of conservation. Search for the Golden Moon Bear is a field report from the frontiers of science and the ends of the earth, seamlessly weaving together folklore, natural history, and contemporary research into fantastic travelogue.

Walking with the Great Apes

release date: Aug 25, 2009
Walking with the Great Apes
Three astounding women scientists have in recent years penetrated the jungles of Africa and Borneo to observe, nurture, and defend humanity's closest cousins. Jane Goodall has worked with the chimpanzees of Gombe for nearly 50 years; Diane Fossey died in 1985 defending the mountain gorillas of Rwanda; and Biruté Galdikas lives in intimate proximity to the orangutans of Borneo. All three began their work as protégées of the great Anglo-African archeologist Louis Leakey, and each spent years in the field, allowing the apes to become their familiars--and ultimately waging battles to save them from extinction in the wild. Their combined accomplishments have been mind-blowing, as Goodall, Fossey, and Galdikas forever changed how we think of our closest evolutionary relatives, of ourselves, and of how to conduct good science. From the personal to the primate, Sy Montgomery--acclaimed author of The Soul of an Octopus and The Good Good Pig--explores the science, wisdom, and living experience of three of the greatest scientists of the twentieth century.

Journey of the Pink Dolphins

release date: Feb 15, 2009

Spell of the Tiger

release date: Feb 15, 2009
Spell of the Tiger
From the author of The Soul of an Octopus and bestselling memoir The Good Good Pig, a book that earned Sy Montgomery her status as one of the most celebrated wildlife writers of our time, Spell of the Tiger brings readers to the Sundarbans, a vast tangle of mangrove swamp and tidal delta that lies between India and Bangladesh. It is the only spot on earth where tigers routinely eat people—swimming silently behind small boats at night to drag away fishermen, snatching honey collectors and woodcutters from the forest. But, unlike in other parts of Asia where tigers are rapidly being hunted to extinction, tigers in the Sundarbans are revered. With the skill of a naturalist and the spirit of a mystic, Montgomery reveals the delicate balance of Sundarbans life, explores the mix of worship and fear that offers tigers unique protection there, and unlocks some surprising answers about why people at risk of becoming prey might consider their predator a god.
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