Books and Web Resources for Teaching About Owls and Raptors
I have divided this booklist into fiction, nonfiction, and professional resources.
The Barn Owls
by Tony Johnston and Deborah Kogan Ray
Simple story with little text and lovely illustrations which is worthwhile, though easy.
Classroom Tip: When I read this book aloud I combine it with another, Billywise by Judith Nicholls. Both books can be read during independent reading.
by Jean Craighead George
Fabulous story that's connected to the chapter book My Side of the Mountain by the same famous author of science and nature books.
Classroom Tip: This is an opportunity for me to introduce my students to Jean Craighead George, an author I hope they will read as they develop as readers. There are two other books of nonfiction short stories by George that I also use: There's a Tarantula in My Purse and There's an Owl in the Shower.
Guardians of Ga'hoole: Book One: The Capture
by Kathryn Lasky
This is the first in a series of seven fantasy books written for older students.
Classroom Tip: I recommend this book for gifted 2nd graders.
by Jane Yolen
Beautiful, poetic language fills this picture book about a father and child's midwinter, late-night search for an owl.
Classroom Tip: I use this book for writing workshop mini-lessons about word choice, poetic language, and voice.
An exciting and sometimes scary adventure story starring animals that live in fictitious Dimwood Forest. This the second in a series of four books sold as a boxed set. The other three books are Ragweed, Poppy and Rye, and Ereth's Birthday.
Classroom Tip: I use this as my read-aloud chapter book while we study owls. I copy the map in the front of the book for my students and make a map transparency for the overhead. We refer to the maps every day while I read and they help students' comprehension. After I read Poppy, some students read the rest of the series themselves.
Adopted by an Owl: The True Story of Jackson the Owl
by Robbyn Smith van Frankenhuyzen
This true story recounts the relationship a family had with an owl they knew over a period of years.
Classroom Tip: Read aloud over several days.
Eyewitness Juniors: Amazing Birds of Prey
One of the Eyewitness series for 3rd and 4th graders.
Classroom Tip: Students use book to find answers to their report questions about raptors.
One Wing's Gift: Rescuing Alaska's Wild Birds
by John Harris
A book of short stories about wild birds that have passed through Bird Treatment and Learning Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Stories of hope about dedicated volunteers who work for birds' survival.
Classroom Tip: These are short stories, so I skip around and select the raptor stories. Helps students understand about becoming stewards of the environment.
Owl Puke: The Book
by Jane Hammerslough
A humorous look at owls that is full of fun activities and loads of facts. It comes packaged with an owl pellet and directions for dissection.
Classroom Tip: Good book to use at beginning of unit. Includes recipe for edible, candy "owl pellets." I made them at home and wrapped them in aluminum foil so they resembled real pellets. Includes a funny owl puke card which we made as a gift for parents.
All About Owls
by Jim Arnosky
Well-illustrated book by a noted science and nature author.
Classroom Tip: An age-appropriate, informative book that can be read by a second grade reading group if you have multiple copies.
Professional Web Resources
Owl calls, photos, and information about a wide variety of owls.
Classroom Tips: I work with students gathered around me at the computer. I show them how to listen to owl calls and gather information for reports.
Photos and information about North American owls. Students can listen to owl calls.
Classroom Tips: I use this site as I do Owling.com.
Science curriculum for ages 7–11. It also links to real-time nesting falcons.
Classroom Tip: When falcons are nesting, I have a student check-in daily and report findings to the class.