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Empathy for Animals, On Land and Underseas


This summer, why not explore some great nonfiction science reads about animals, both on land and underseas, and the ways in which they continually surprise humans.

On Land

Beyond Words

August 12 is World Elephant Day, celebrate it by thinking about what animals think and feel.


Soul of an Octopus

On the New York Times blog, "Old Timer," a humpback whale spotted 44 years ago and recently sighted again, is one example of a whale surprising researchers. I don't usually recommend YouTube sources, but there are some great clips of animals surprising humans. For example, the YouTube video Gymnast makes a dolphin laugh makes me think of the highly evolved dolphins in Douglas Adams's novel So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.There have also been some interesting YouTube videos of octopuses being able to free themselves from closed jars or leaping to capture a crab on land.

Simon & Schuster's Off the Shelf has 11 Books to Explore the Mysteries of the Deep.

Sharks are an example of an animal that's greatly misunderstood. This article reveals how fiction writer Peter Benchley contributed to their mythos and later became their defender: "How the Creator of 'Jaws' Became the Shark's Greatest Defender."

For Children


Owney, the Mail-Pouch Pooch by Mona Kirby tells the true story of a stray dog that went to work for the U.S. Postal Service and won the hearts and minds of a nation with his devotion and loyalty.

Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla by Katherine Applegate
"The true story of Ivan, known as the Shopping Mall Gorilla, who lived alone in a small cage for almost 30 years before being relocated to the gorilla habitat at ZooAtlanta."


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