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Harriet's Ruffled Feathers

The Woman Who Saved Millions of Birds



Atheneum Books for Young Readers

(Simon & Schuster)

(pub.3.15.2022) 40 pages

Author: Joy McCullough

Illustrator: Romima Galotta

Character: Harriet Lawrence Hemenway


" Harriet Lawrence Hemenway loved hats. She loved them with ribbons and flowers, embroidery and pearls. And feathers! What was better than a hat with grand, glorious feathers? But then Harriet discovered that millions of birds died so that she and her friends could soar at the height of style. A passion for fashion was one thing, but this was feather-brained!

So Harriet led the charge to take feathers out of fashion, getting laws passed that made it illegal to buy or sell wild bird feathers. In 1896, she and her fellow bird protectors founded the Massachusetts Audubon Society, which grew into a national organization that still protects birds today!"

Tantalizing taste:

" Minna and Harriet agreed: They would no longer wear feathered fashions. But they were only two people. They'd have to do more if they were going to save the birds.

It was 1896. A new century was on the horizon, and change felt possible. Yet women didn't even have the right to vote. What could two society ladies do about a great big ostrich of a problem?

They decided to have a tea party with all their friends...

The women showed up in fine feather, sporting spectacular hats with massive plumes ...

Harriet gathered her flock... and then she told them, 'Did you know that every year, five million birds are killed in the name of fashion.'"

And something more: The Back Matter of Harriet's Ruffled Feathers includes a section, "How to Bird-watch Like Harriet," with suggestions such as "You can also be a citizen scientist by reporting your sightings of birds and other wildlife. Journey North has a website where you can learn about migrating animals, like hummingbirds and monarch butterflies, and record your sightings."


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