Sy received a royal welcome April 20 to Wendover School in Greensburgh, Pa. The 6th, 7th and 8th graders made more than 200 posters inspired by her work and travels, which are displayed throughout the school. Leading up to the visit, students watched videos, read interviews, and studied Sy’s books and the animals who inspired them. Thanks to the incredible staff at the school, especially librarian Beth McGuire students see authors as awesome as rock stars!
Good Creatures All. Sy is delighted to be on the front page of today’s Wall St. Journal in the company of many other fine books about animals: “My Beloved Octopus: Animal Memoirs Move Way Beyond Cats and Dogs.”
And the lead of the story:
In her book How to Be a Good Creature, Sy Montgomery gains rare insight into her late mother after a wild ermine rips the head off one of the author’s chickens.
“She was, in her way, as fierce as that ermine,” Ms. Montgomery writes in her memoir about lessons she has learned from 13 different animals. After seeing the voracious creature, she writes, her heart “flooded with the balm of forgiveness” for her mother.
Sy enjoyed her visit to Newport, Oregon, where she was met by 100 octo-devotees at the Newport Public library and 300 fans at the Eugene Public Library. Sy was visiting because of the good work of Newport Reads! during which the entire community is invited to read and discuss one book, in this case a certain book about octopuses. The above display was created by Linda Anable from facts and materials provided by Lance Beck and Evonne Mochon-Collura. And below, Sy visits with Cleo at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Thank you all for the great visit.
“What have animals taught me about life?” Sy asks in the book’s introduction.
Her answer: “How to be a good creature.”
“All the animals I’ve known—from the first bug I must have spied as an infant, to the moon bears I met in Southeast Asia, to the spotted hyenas I got to know in Kenya—have been good creatures. Each individual is a marvel and perfect in his or her own way. Just being with any animal is edifying, for each has a knowing that surpasses human understanding….
“Knowing someone who belongs to another species can enlarge your soul in surprising ways. In these pages you’ll meet animals who changed my life by the briefest of meetings. You’ll meet others who become members of my family. Some are dogs who shared our home. One’s a pig who lived in our barn. Three are huge flightless birds, two are tree kangaroos, and there’s also a spider, a weasel, and an octopus.
“I am still learning how to be a good creature. I try earnestly, but, perhaps like you, too, I often fail. But I am having a great life trying—a life exploring this sweet green world, and returning to a home where I am blessed with a multispecies family offering me comfort and joy beyond my wildest dreams.”
Kangaroo Training. The Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program features Sy’s Quest for the Tree Kangaroo in its excellent Junior Ranger Training program, here in the Papua New Guinea mountain village of Westkokop. Photo by Danny Sama.