Did you know that adults can participate in our Summer Reading Program, too? The theme this year is Tails and Tales These nonfiction titles are all about the mystifying animals that we share the Earth with.

All titles mentioned below are available on our online catalog.

The Book of Eels: Our Enduring Fascination with the Most Mysterious Creature in the Natural World by Patrik Svensson

Remarkably little is known about the European eel. So little, in fact, that scientists and philosophers have, for centuries, been obsessed with what has become known as the “eel question”: Where do eels come from? What are they? Are they fish or some other kind of creature altogether? Even today, in an age of advanced science, no one has ever seen eels mating or giving birth, and we still don’t understand what drives them, after living for decades in freshwater, to swim great distances back to the ocean at the end of their lives. Drawing on a breadth of research about eels in literature, history, and modern marine biology, as well as his own experience fishing for eels with his father, Patrik Svensson writes a book about this unusual animal.

Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl by Jonathan C. Slaght

When he was just a fledgling birdwatcher, Jonathan C. Slaght had a chance encounter with one of the most mysterious birds on Earth. Bigger than any owl he knew, it looked like a small bear with decorative feathers. He snapped a quick photo and shared it with experts. Soon he was on a five-year journey, searching for this enormous, enigmatic creature in the lush, remote forests of eastern Russia. Through this rare glimpse into the everyday life of a field scientist and conservationist, Owls of the Eastern Ice testifies to the determination and creativity essential to scientific advancement and serves as a powerful reminder of the beauty, strength, and vulnerability of the natural world.

What Cats Want: An Illustrated Guide for Truly Understanding Your Cat by Dr. Yuki Hattori

With nineteen bones and twelve muscles, cats’ tails have countless ways of expressing their emotions. What Cats Want is here to uncover the meaning behind every movement, and the motivation beneath every quirk. Did you know, for example, that adult cats love to reconnect with their inner kitten? Or that cats prefer multiple watering holes over just one? Our cats are sophisticated-no matter what any dog lover says-and What Cats Want has the answers to every question asked by cat owners young and old.

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World by Steve Brusatte

Sixty-six million years ago, the Earth’s most fearsome creatures vanished. Today they remain one of our planet’s great mysteries. Now The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs reveals their extraordinary, 200-million-year-long story as never before. Steve Brusatte, a young American paleontologist, masterfully tells the complete, surprising, and new history of the dinosaurs, drawing on cutting-edge science to dramatically bring to life their lost world and illuminate their enigmatic origins, spectacular flourishing, astonishing diversity, cataclysmic extinction, and startling living legacy.

The Bird Way: A New Look at How Birds Talk, Work, Play, Parent, and Think by Jennifer Ackerman

Drawing on personal observations, the latest science, and her bird-related travel around the world, from the tropical rainforests of eastern Australia and the remote woodlands of northern Japan, to the rolling hills of lower Austria and the islands of Alaska’s Kachemak Bay, Ackerman shows there is clearly no single bird way of being. In every respect, in plumage, form, song, flight, lifestyle, niche, and behavior, birds vary. It’s what we love about them. As E.O Wilson once said, when you have seen one bird, you have not seen them all.

Fathoms: The World in the Whale by Rebecca Giggs

When writer Rebecca Giggs encountered a humpback whale stranded on her local beachfront in Australia, she began to wonder how the lives of whales shed light on the condition of our seas. Fathoms: The World in the Whale blends natural history, philosophy, and science to explore: How do whales experience ecological change? Will our connection to these storied animals be transformed by technology? What can observing whales teach us about the complexity, splendour, and fragility of life?

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

When Helen Macdonald’s father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer—Helen had been captivated by hawks since childhood—she’d never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators, the goshawk. But in her grief, she saw that the goshawk’s fierce and feral temperament mirrored her own. Obsession, madness, memory, myth, and history combine to achieve a distinctive blend of nature writing and memoir from an outstanding literary innovator.

The Hidden World of the Fox by Adele Brand

For thousands of years myth and folklore have celebrated its cunning intelligence. Today the red fox is the nature’s most populous carnivore, its dancing orange tail a common sight in backyards. Yet who is this wild neighbor, truly? How do we negotiate this uneasy new chapter of an ancient relationship? Join British ecologist Adele Brand on a journey to discover the surprising secrets of the fabled fox, the familiar yet enigmatic creature that has adapted to the human world with astonishing—some say, unsettling—success.

World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

From beloved, award-winning poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil comes a debut work of nonfiction–a collection of essays about the natural world, and the way its inhabitants can teach, support, and inspire us. As a child, Nezhukumatathil called many places home: the grounds of a Kansas mental institution, where her Filipina mother was a doctor; the open skies and tall mountains of Arizona, where she hiked with her Indian father; and the chillier climes of western New York and Ohio. But no matter where she was transplanted–no matter how awkward the fit or forbidding the landscape–she was able to turn to our world’s fierce and funny creatures for guidance.

The Language of Butterflies: How Thieves, Hoarders, Scientists, and Other Obsessives Unlocked the Secrets of the World’s Favorite Insect by Wendy Williams

Coupled with years of research and knowledge gained from experts in the field, this accessible “butterfly biography” explores the ancient partnership between these special creatures and humans, and why they continue to fascinate us today.

The Loneliest Polar Bear: A True Story of Survival and Peril on the Edge of a Warming World by Kale Williams

Six days after giving birth, a polar bear named Aurora got up and left her den at the Columbus Zoo, leaving her tiny, squealing cub to fend for herself. The cub was furless and blind, and with her temperature dropping dangerously, the zookeepers entrusted with her care felt they had no choice: They would have to raise one of the most dangerous predators in the world themselves, by hand. Over the next few weeks, a group of veterinarians and zookeepers would work around the clock to save the cub, whom they called Nora. Humans rarely get as close to a polar bear as Nora’s keepers got with their fuzzy charge. Sweeping and tender, The Loneliest Polar Bear explores the fraught relationship humans have with the natural world, the exploitative and sinister causes of the environmental mess we find ourselves in, and how the fate of polar bears is not theirs alone.

The Glitter in the Green: In Search of Hummingbirds by Jon Dunn

Hummingbirds are a glittering, sparkling collective of over three hundred wildly variable species. For centuries, they have been revered by indigenous Americans, coveted by European collectors, and admired worldwide for their unsurpassed metallic plumage and immense character. Yet they exist on a knife-edge, fighting for survival in boreal woodlands, dripping cloud forests, and subpolar islands. They are, perhaps, the ultimate embodiment of evolution’s power to carve a niche for a delicate creature in even the harshest of places.

Empire of Ants: The Hidden Worlds and Extraordinary Lives of Earth’s Tiny Conquerers by Susanne Foitzik and Olaf Fritsche

Beneath our feet, a fascinating drama unfolds: Ants are waging war and staging rebellions, growing fungi as crops and raising aphids as livestock, making vaccines and, generally, living lives that—up close—look surprisingly human. Evolutionary biologist Susanne Foitzik and biophysicist Olaf Fritsche reveal all in Empire of Ants, inviting readers to live alongside the workers, soldiers, and conquerors of the insect world—and the researchers who study them.


Your family can participate in this year’s Summer Reading Program, Tails & Tales, and continue learning about animals all summer long. Stop by the library to register.

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