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Hawksbill Promise


Hawksbill Promise

John Burroughs Association Riverby Award

NCTE 2020 Notable Poetry List


There is a deserted bay on a small island off Antigua where hawksbill turtles crawl ashore at night during the mating season to lay their eggs. Two months later the hatchlings―each weighing less than an ounce―emerge from the sand and scramble to the sea in the moonlight. Only a lucky few survive.


Mary Beth Owens was inspired by her admiration and concern for these critically endangered animals to write and illustrate this beautiful book. The narrator―a craggy, ancient jumby tree that stands sentinel over the bay―observes a hawksbill’s arrival by night, her arduous trek to excavate a nest and bury her eggs, her solitary return to the sea, and the later diaspora of her hatchlings. Spare prose complements pages saturated with Caribbean color or brooding in ghostly moonlight.

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