About the Holiday
As May’s warm weather and rain creates a perfect environment for growing a garden, today’s month-long holiday, established by the National Wildlife Federation, encourages people to plant a garden that will benefit birds, butterflies, bees, and other insect pollinators. This is easier than it may sound and can be accomplished in a variety of ways and sizes from a single pot or container to a dedicated “meadow” plot. Planting native flowering species makes a positive impact on your local area. To watch a video with five tips to help you garden for wildlife, find plants native to your region, and learn how to have your space recognized as a Certified Wildlife Habitat, visit the National Wildlife Federation website and Garden for Wildlife. Sharing today’s reviewed book is another wonderful way to learn how to make their yards, front gardens, and even whole neighborhoods inviting to wildlife.
A Garden to Save the Birds
Written by Wendy McClure | Illustrated by Beatriz Mayumi
One day while Callum and his sister Emmy were eating breakfast, a bird hit their window. They and their mom rushed outside to check on bird. It was okay and flew away, but that’s when Callum noticed that the window glass reflected the sky, and the birds couldn’t tell the difference. Later, Callum, Emmy, and their mom read about birds and learned lots of things they didn’t know – like how there are fewer birds now and how lights at night affect their migration.
They decide to do things around their house to help the birds. They put out feeders and add decals to the windows. “But some of the things we do to help the birds,” Callum says, “are the things we don’t do.” In the fall, they’re mindful of where birds can find food. Even the Halloween Jack-o-lantern plays a part. And they plant bulbs to prepare for spring. It doesn’t take long before they attract a lot of different kinds of birds.
At night they take to turning off the porch lights and lowering the blinds so as not to confuse the birds. Callum looks up at the sky to see dark silhouettes flying by. “I never knew so many birds migrated at night,” he says. “I know now the moon helps them find their way.” He likes that now they and “the moon are working together.”
During the winter, Callum and Emmy make sure the birds have shelter and fresh water. They also talk to their neighbors about the birds and some of the changes they could make to help them. At first Callum thinks their next door neighbor isn’t interested in helping, but then they notice that he’s turned off his porch light too. It turns out that everyone on the block is making positive changes.
When spring and summer roll around again and all the flowers and grasses are blooming, Callum discovers that they’re not only helping the birds, but that bees, butterflies, and other pollinators are attracted to the neighborhood too. In fact, the neighborhood has made such an impact that it is recognized with a sign as a certified wildlife habitat. Callum is glad that they have all worked together to make their block a welcoming home for birds and other wildlife.
Backmatter includes a discussion on the decreasing bird population, how kids and their families can create welcoming environments around their homes, and online resources for more information.
In her charming and educational story, Wendy McClure strikes just the right tone to engage kids in learning about birds and how they can make changes around their homes to attract and help nurture birds and pollinators. Her storytelling is friendly and kid-centric, and readers will be drawn to Callum’s perspective and concern for wildlife and want to get involved in local environmental activism themselves. Adults will also find helpful and interesting tips on simple ways to make a yard or even a small area bird– and pollinator-friendly.
Beatriz Mayumi’s lovely and detailed illustrations depict the variety of backyard birds that visit inviting landscapes as well as the beauty of garden plantings. She also clearly and realistically portrays the kinds of feeders, water bowls, nesting boxes, and natural vegetation that attract birds year round. In her images, Mayumi also reminds readers about light pollution and where it comes from in a neighborhood setting. Her beautiful illustrations of the gardens created with such care as well as her depictions of Callum and his family and the whole neighborhood working together will inspire readers to get involved in helping to save the birds.
A charming and inspirational story as well as an excellent guide to turning any area into a sanctuary for birds and pollinators, A Garden to Save the Birds is a book that families and classrooms will turn to again and again. It is highly recommended for all kids and for public library collections.
Ages 4 – 8
Albert Whitman & Company, 2021 | ISBN 978-0807527535
Discover more about Wendy McClure and her books on her website.
To learn more about Beatriz Mayumi, her books, and her art, visit her website.
Garden for Wildlife Activity
Garden for Wildlife Board Game
Plant flowers, install a bird feeder and birdbath, build some birdhouses, and leave a layer of leaves then invite the birds, butterflies, and bees to your garden plot to win the game!
- Printable Garden for Wildlife Playing Cards
- Printable Garden for Wildlife Playing Die
- Printable Garden Plot or piece of paper or paper plate
- Black or brown Crayon (optional)
- Print one set of playing cards and garden plot (if using) for each player
- Print playing die
- Color garden plot, paper, or paper plate (optional)
- Choose someone to go first.
- Each player gets one roll of the die per turn.
- Roll the die and place the face-up object in your garden plot. If the player rolls the bird, butterfly, and bee before they’ve added all the other elements, play passes to the next player
- Players continue rolling the die and adding objects to their garden plots. After a player collects them all, they must roll the bird, butterfly, and bee to win.
You can find A Garden to Save the Birds at these booksellers
To support your local independent bookstore, order from
Picture Book Review