Harris Center Reads: Migration

March 23, 2022
A flock of Canada Geese in flight against a light blue sky. (photo © Andre Moraes / raven.digital)

Moving Migrations

Welcome to Harris Center Reads, a curated book list for curious naturalists of all ages! This spring, as the wild world begins to stir, go on the trip of a lifetime with these books about one of nature’s most remarkable phenomena — migration.

For Adults

A Season on the Wind: Inside the World of Spring Migration by Kenn Kaufman. Fly into spring with naturalist and author Kenn Kaufman as he takes you on a tour of spring bird migration. Kaufman describes the beauty, science, and wonder of migration while also detailing how, where, and why human encroachment is having an impact.

Bicycling with Butterflies: My 10,201-Mile Journey Following the Monarch Migration by Sara Dykman. Written with both humor and humility, Bicycling with Butterflies chronicles the author’s nine-month, 10,000+-mile bicycle trek through all types of conditions and terrain as she follows monarch butterflies on their annual migration. A heartfelt and inspirational ride, and winner of the 2021 National Outdoor Book Award for Outdoor Literature.

Winter Pasture: One Woman’s Journey with China’s Kazakh Herders by Li Juan. Follow author Li Juan as she joins a family of Kazakh herders who are moving 30 camels, 500 sheep, and 100 cattle and horses to their winter pasture in the remote reaches of China’s Heavenly Mountains. Smithsonian Magazine called this newly-translated bestseller a “crowning achievement, shattering the boundaries between nature writing and personal memoir.”

Picture Books for Kids

A Warbler’s Journey by Scott Weidensaul and Nancy Lane. This new release from ornithologist and award-winning author Scott Weidensaul details the perilous long-distance migration of a yellow warbler, helped along on her journey by three different families from the tropics of Central America to the Canadian tundra. A beautifully written and illustrated book, filled with hope and wonder.

Atlas of Animal Adventures: A Collection of Nature’s Most Unmissable Events, Epic Migrations and Extraordinary Behaviors by Rachel Williams, Emily Hawkins, and Lucy Letherland. Children of all ages will enjoy this oversized book stuffed full of amazing facts about animals and their epic migrations. A feast for the eyes, and the perfect book for the nature trivia fan in your life.

Winged Wonders: Solving the Monarch Migration Mystery by Meeg Pincus and Yas Imamura. A must-read for anyone interested in monarchs, science, and history, this award-winning picture book describes how it took a team of people from around the world to piece together the details of the annual monarch migration. Kirkus Review says: “So, who solved the mystery of the monarch butterfly migration? Was it white Canadian scientist Fred, or was it the Indigenous people of the Sierra Madre mountains? A fascinating and inspiring STEAM-driven tale.”

Salamander Sky by Katy Farber and Meg Sodano. Migration isn’t just for birds and butterflies. Amphibians migrate too! Artful and scientifically accurate, Salamander Sky tells the story of a mother and daughter who go out on a rainy night to help spotted salamanders cross the road during the spring amphibian migration. A staff pick from Brett Amy Thelen, longtime coordinator of the Harris Center’s Salamander Crossing Brigades.

For Middle School Readers

The Magnificent Migration: On Safari With Africa’s Last Great Herds by Sy Montgomery. Go on an adventure with local naturalist and international bestselling author Sy Montgomery as she describes the greatest land migration on earth — the migration of wildebeest across the Serengeti — in vivid, lyrical detail.

Snowy Owl Invasion!: Tracking an Unusual Migration by Sandra Markle. In 2013, snowy owls suddenly started showing up in unexpected places, like Florida. Through stunning photographs and firsthand accounts from owl biologists, Snowy Owl Invasion! reveals how scientists unraveled the mystery of this surprising migration. A great read for middle schoolers who love owls and are curious about how scientists make discoveries.

Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 by Phillip Hoose. Follow the incredible journey of one of nature’s most remarkable migrants: the red knot, a four-ounce shorebird who flies the equivalent of to the moon and halfway back in its lifetime. Moonbird tells the story of one red knot in particular — B95, banded in 1995 and last seen in 2012 — while highlighting some of the challenges faced by all red knots and other animals who are threatened with extinction.

Where to Find These Books

BUY. We’d like to give a special shout-out to our local bookseller, Toadstool Bookshops in Keene and Peterborough! They’re open for in-person shopping, and they also sell online.

BORROW. In addition, most local libraries offer a wide variety of printed books, eBooks, and other digital options. Check with your town library for more information.