A Penguin Named Patience written by Suzanne Lewis and illustrated by Lisa Anchin (2015)
This is a lovely book about what happened to the penguins at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. It’s a true story, told in first person from a penguin named Patience. The aquarium itself was not flooded by the gulf waters, but it did lose electricity in the aftermath of the hurricane. Without electricity, the penguins would surely die. It was terribly hot and humid in their habitat which is naturally cool. Food was scarce since no one was able to come and feed them. And without lights, it was completely dark day and night. Patience was the oldest of the penguins and tried her best to keep everyone safe. At last Patience sees a flashlight shining in the dark aquarium as their trainer and friend Tom came with fans and food. Tom counted nineteen living penguins when he arrived. He was able to find temporary housing for them in California and traveled via FedEx with them, staying until they were out of quarantine. Nine months later, Tom returns to escort all nineteen penguins back to New Orleans. This happy event was the cause of much celebration at the aquarium. The red carpet was rolled out and a marching band played ‘When the Saints Come Marching Home’ as Patience and the other eighteen penguins waddled home.
Although this is a story based on tragedy, it does have a happy ending. And so for that reason, I’ll suggest a few fun things to do with your young readers. If you think of others, please add them to your comments. I love to hear what you do to make reading come alive!