Saturday, January 9, 2016

Winter Reading 2016 Gemina: The Crooked-Neck Giraffe


After visiting the Santa Barbara Zoo and meeting Gemina, the author/illustrator was inspired to write about this unique giraffe. She tells about Gemina's birth in the San Diego Wild Animal Park, her transfer to Santa Barbara when she was 2-years-old, and then how a bump appeared on her neck when she was 3. Although tests were run, no one ever figured out what caused her neck to develop in such a crooked way. It never stopped her from doing all the things the other giraffes did. And it gave inspiration to many visitors to the zoo who also had differences, including a young boy who had scoliosis. The illustrations show Gemina at various times in her life, doing a variety of activities. There is also a photograph of her at the end of the story. One of the features that makes the book special is that the end papers show some of the pictures and letters that children had sent to the zoo as fan mail for Gemina.

For teachers and children's librarians looking for narrative nonfiction, this is another read-aloud to add to their collections. I was lucky enough to win a copy in a giveaway and will be placing it in my school's library.

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