For ages 9 and up; 38 color illustrations, 6 b&w illustrations, 1 glossary, 1 appendix
Birds were “the objects of my greatest delight,” wrote John James Audubon (1785–1851), founder of modern ornithology and one of the world’s greatest bird painters. His masterpiece, The Birds of America depicts almost five hundred North American bird species, each image—lifelike and life size—rendered in vibrant color. Audubon was also an explorer, a woodsman, a hunter, an entertaining and prolific writer, and an energetic self-promoter. Through talent and dogged determination, he rose from backwoods obscurity to international fame.
In This Strange Wilderness, award-winning author Nancy Plain brings together the amazing story of this American icon’s career and the beautiful images that are his legacy. Before Audubon, no one had seen, drawn, or written so much about the animals of this largely uncharted young country. Aware that the wilderness and its wildlife were changing even as he watched, Audubon remained committed almost to the end of his life “to search out the things which have been hidden since the creation of this wondrous world.” This Strange Wilderness details his art and writing, transporting the reader back to the frontiers of early nineteenth-century America.
Nancy Plain is the author of numerous children’s books, including Light on the Prairie: Solomon D. Butcher, Photographer of Nebraska’s Pioneer Days (available in a Bison Books edition), winner of the Spur Award for Best Western Juvenile Nonfiction, the Nebraska Book Award for Youth Nonfiction and the Will Rogers Medallion Award.
2016 Young Adult Library Service’s Award for Excellence in Nonfiction Finalist
2015 Moonbeam Spirit Award (Gold) in Environmental Issues
2015 National Outdoor Book Award in the Children’s Books category
2015 Editors’ Choice Book by Booklist
2015 USA Book Award in Young Adult: Nonfiction Finalist
2016 Nebraska Book Award
2016 Spur Award winner for Best Western Juvenile Nonfiction from Western Writers of America