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Star-Bulletin Features

Tuesday, March 7, 2000


New books help kids
discover nature

By Nadine Kam, Features editor


Two new children's books from Island Heritage serve up science in a colorful format that makes information easy to digest.

"Discover Hawai'i's Natural Forests," is written by David Boynton, who has spent 30 years documenting Hawaii's natural beauty. Born and raised on Oahu, he has a zoology degree from UC-Santa Barbara and in 1974 moved to Kauai to teach high school science.

The book, illustrated by Katherine Orr, covers the ecology of the Hawaiian islands, with descriptions of the many denizens of the tropical rain forest, both flora and fauna.


Bullet Discover Hawai'i's Natural Forest: By Katherine Orr and David Boynton (Island Heritage), $12.95, 44 pages, hardcover, ISBN 0-89610-208-4
Bullet Discover Hawai'i's Soaring Seabirds: By Katherine Orr (Island Heritage), $12.95, 46 pages, hardcover, ISBN 0-89610-246-7

The book is geared toward a third- or fourth-grade reader, but adults will probably be able to learn a thing or two. For instance, in the section on birds, Boynton introduces adaptive radiation, or the evolution of many species sharing a common ancestor.

He also discusses endemic plants found nowhere else, vs. introduced flora. The book contains a glossary and ends with a timely reminder on how to care for our forests.

Similarly, "Discover Hawai'i's Soaring Seabirds," is a child's first guide to seabirds, from the streamer tailed tropic birds to the mooing albatrosses.

Author and illustrator Katherine Orr has a bachelor's degree in biology and master's degree in marine zoology.

After chapters introducing and fostering an appreciation for the birds, Orr introduces hazards to their well-being such as mosquitoes that spread avian pox, fishermen and pollutants.

Orr says, "I write books out of a desire to communicate my love of nature to others, and that love of nature should begin when we are young."

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