Kathy Lasky

Owls, owls, and more owls!

Island Readers & Writers, Award-winning author Kathy Lasky, and The Chewonki Foundation  joined forces to create an exciting program on owls for kids.

In 2004, when IRW was just a budding idea, Kathy Lasky and her husband Chris Knight visited both Swan’s Island and Frenchboro.  The 17-volume NYT Bestselling Series, Guardians of Ga’Hoole was just in its beginning stages.  During her visit Ms. Lasky asked students to help her create words as part of the secret language spoken by owls in her storybooks.  Little did they know that the books would become bestsellers and made into a movie!

Ms. Lasky returned along with a wildlife educator from The Chewonki Foundation as part of IRW’s Literary Links to Science program.  On October 2, 2012 a naturalist presented “Owls of Maine: Habits and Adaptations of Maine’s Native Owls” to students in preparation for Ms. Lasky’s visit on October 4th.  In addition, copies of The Capture, the first book in the series were given to students as they began the school year. Book discussion questions, worksheets and a list of book-centered activities are available to teachers:

Kathy Lasky’s Guardians worksheet

During her visit, Ms. Lasky discussed how she prepared for the writing of the books, shared her science research activities, her source readings and general strategies for learning about Owls. She presented her books, talked about her own experience with studying natural history (especially on SPIDERS!), and answered questions from the island children, such as: What sparked her imagination?  Why did she choose to write about owls?  What’s it like to make a movie?

After the author and Chewonki visits, the Swan’s Island Library showed the film Guardian’s of Ga’Hoole which was open to the community, and facilitated a discussion on the adaptation of the book to the film. What a great series of events for the kids to learn from and remember for years to come!  Our thanks to Ms. Lasky and her husband Chris, The Chewonki Foundation, and the Swan’s Island Library.