Written by Nancy Stewart, One Pelican at a Time tells the story of two best friends, Bella and Britt, who experience first-hand the terrible effects of the Gulf oil spill. As the girls watch the clean-up efforts, they see their long-time friend, an old brown pelican, dive into the oily water. They run for help, then follow the workers as they catch the bird and take it to the bird sanctuary to recover. A few days later, the girls return and help wash off the pelican in a huge bucket of sudsy water.
For children who live far from the Gulf, the story helps them better understand the oil spill and the effect it has had on the wildlife in the area, as well as the work that must be done in order to clean it up. The author’s notes at the end include a brief description of the actual spill in 2010 and how it has hurt both the people and animals that have made that area their home.
Another reason this story is unique is because the two main characters in the book — Bella and Britt — are modeled after two sisters! When I was looking for models for my illustrations, a wonderful family volunteered; they had two girls, one adopted, both the same age. Their mom helped too — she’s the ranger in the story. For them, the book also represents a fun family memory!
So if your children are studying conservation and the environment, check out One Pelican at a Time. It would be a great addition to any unit study about nature and our role in caring for it.