Of Time and Turtles is number 7 on the Boston Globe bestseller list

Of Time and Turtles is number 7 on the Boston Globe bestseller list for the week ending Dec. 17.

CultureLab, a podcast from the popular weekly magazine New Scientist, recommends the best ten nonfiction books of 2023, including Of Time and Turtles. Listen here for their other picks.

The teens who produce the podcast This Teenage Life, interview Sy (one of their heroes) and Matt, to learn how “animals can keep them grounded and inspired … in the fast-paced, tech-driven world we live in.” Listen here.

The Book Of Turtles

School Library Journal has announced the 2023 Undies Case Cover Awards. (Translation: The best book cover design hiding under the book jacket.) Winner of the “Zoom in Award” is a certain turtle book. (We would have called this “The Hard-Shell Award.” See the others winners here.

Living on Earth logo
Living on Earth
Sy joined her longtime friend Steve Curwood, host of Living on Earth, to talk about what we can learn from turtles:

“Having explored the philosophical question of consciousness in, The Soul of an Octopus, for my next big book, I wanted to explore the philosophical question of time. Time is a mystery, just like consciousness. We wonder, you know, what is it? Is it real? Does it flow through us? Do we flow through it? What do we do with it? Who has it?

And who better than turtles to help me understand time, these ancient creatures who evolved at the same time as the dinosaurs, who have great long lifespans, who have wisdom and who understand waiting. And little did I know that I would conduct this inquiry into the nature of time during the pandemic, when time stopped.

“It was a great time to know turtles, because turtles know ancient time, sacred time. They know the kind of time that isn’t ruled by the calendar and the clock. In general, they don’t hurry, they don’t feel the sort of Damocles over their heads for deadlines. They get everything done when it needs to be done. And they drew me into a wholly different kind of time, the kind of time the Greeks called, “kairos,” or sacred time. And you just cannot be with a turtle without feeling you’re apprenticed to someone really wise.”

Listen here.

Bravo to the students, staff, and parents at the 48 participating schools of Douglas County, Colorado. Inspired by the animals in Becoming a Good Creature (the choice for their all-district read) they donated personal care products to families in need, wrote poems and essays, and created beautiful bookmarks and stickers about courage and kindness. Here’s a sampling of some of their wonderful art:
Student work from Douglas County, Colorado

Turtle Tree at Townsend, Massachusetts, Public Library
Jeanne Urda, former librarian at the Townsend, Massachusetts, Public Library, and a turtle’s best friend, created this tree to celebrate our hardshell heroes.

The Book of Turtles

— Kirkus Reviews has selected The Book of Turtles as one of the best picture books of the year.
— The Chicago Public Library says The Book of Turtles is one of the year’s Best Informational Books for Younger Readers.
— And it is a Booklist’s Editors’ Choice for 2023.
— As well as a Nerdy Book Club Award winner.

“In the vast ocean of children’s literature, Betsy Bird has carved a niche for herself, meticulously reviewing books for her ‘101 Great Books for Kids Committee’,” says the online news outlet BNN. One of this year’s spotlighted picks is The Book of Turtles. It’s a “standout, lauded for its engaging presentation of turtle facts.”

Art Costa, "Sounds Deep"
Art Costa, “Sounds Deep”

Octo-Curious. “When Vermont sculptor Art Costa first read The Soul of an Octopus, he was fascinated by author Sy Montgomery’s description of her friendship with an eight-legged ‘extraterrestrial,’” reports the Brattleboro Reformer. “Curious about other organisms living far below the surface of the ocean, Costa dove into research that became his most recent body of work, “Sounds Deep,” currently on view at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center.

The museum’s director of exhibitions, Sarah Freeman, describes “Sounds Deep” as “the conjuring of a beautiful world we seldom see, a world of strange, sightless creatures that inhabit the darkest depths of the ocean.” Constructed from reclaimed cardboard, paper mache and other natural materials, Costa’s “deep-sea denizens are richly textured and colored, and their faceless forms are full of personality and humor,” Freeman says.

Art Costa’s exhibit at the Brattleboro Museum runs until March 9, 2024. More information here.