Belle's Journey<br><font size=2>An Osprey Takes Flight</font>

Belle's Journey
An Osprey Takes Flight

  • 1899

By: Rob Bierregaard / Illustrated by: Kate Garchinsky

Take flight with Belle, an osprey born on Martha's Vineyard as she migrates for the first time to Brazil and back—a journey of more than 8,000 miles.

For over sixteen years, Dr. Rob Bierregaard (Dr. B. to his students) has tracked osprey migration using small radio transmitters. This is the story of one of Dr. B.'s ospreys, Belle, who each spring flies from her winter home in Brazil to her spring nest on Martha's Vineyard. Besides the long distance, Belle must find food, weather storms, and face other dangers while her tracking device transmits information about where's she been. Based on information garnered through twenty years of research by the author, Belle's Journey will soar into reader's hearts.

Listen to an interview with author Rob Bierregaard on Radio-Canada:

Rob Bierregaard & Belle's Journey

Look Inside the Book:

Author & Illustrator Bios:

Rob Bierregaard, author

Rob Bierregaard has studied ospreys in New England since 1971. Beginning in 2000, he started tagging ospreys with satellite transmitters that enable us to follow their migration to South America and back. Belle's Journey is Rob's first children's book. Read more about Rob here.

Kate Garchinsky, illustrator

Kate Garchinsky is the illustrator of Belle's Journey and The Secret Life of Red Fox. Prior to creating children's books, Kate designed toys, birdbaths, and trail maps. She lives with her husband, Brian, in Pennsylvania. Read more about Kate here.

Awards & Honors:


  • CCBC Choices 2019


Editorial Reviews:

Kirkus Reviews

A young osprey named Belle completes her first 4,000-mile solo migration from Massachusetts to South America and back. One spring, Dr. B., a scientist on Martha's Vineyard who studies ospreys, selects Belle, a large, young female, to be equipped with a satellite transmitter dispatching messages tracking her movements every three days. By September, Belle has become an expert fish catcher and a strong flier, and she is poised for her migration south. Launching from Martha's Vineyard, Belle flies nonstop for two days over the open Atlantic before resting on a cargo ship. Resuming her journey, Belle traverses a Bahamian island, Cuba, and the Caribbean Sea. A hurricane blows her into Colombia, and she eventually arrives in Brazil. A year and a half later, Belle returns to Martha's Vineyard, taking an inland route to begin the next phase of her life. In this "mostly true story," Bierregaard (the real Dr. B.) uses the real-life Belle, whose migration he tracked, to convey this lively, personalized look at migrating ospreys. Rendered in watercolor pencil, ink, and aqua crayon, the realistic, atmospheric illustrations rely on line and color to capture the drama of Belle's amazing adventure. An engaging, informative introduction to ospreys for budding birders

School Library Journal

Written in an easy-to-follow and authoritative style, this narrative nonfiction tale recounts the story of a young osprey from her early days in Martha’s Vineyard, MA, to her first migration to South America and back. Bierregaard, who has studied the birds for more than 40 years, explains that this is mostly a true story, but that he has imagined some of the details. He caught Belle as a young chick and fastened a radio transmitter to her (worn like a backpack), which sends an account of Belle’s travels to the scientist every three days. He knows where she’s been, how long it took her to reach certain places, and the weather she encounters along the way. Belle’s flight is an instinctual one, readers are told, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting. She travels many miles each day, survives a hurricane, visits the Japurá river in Brazil, and avoids threats from humans and other animals. Students will be easily caught up in Belle’s story, especially when she encounters dangers for the first time in her young life. Garchinsky’s illustrations—done in watercolor pencil, ink, and aqua crayons—are not only lovely to look at but match the book’s lively tone. There are also two photographs of the real-life Belle included at the end. VERDICT: A page-turner for animal lovers, this book is a good choice for libraries in need of engrossing nonfiction.


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ISBN: 978-1-58089-792-1

ISBN: 978-1-63289-615-5 EPUB
ISBN: 978-1-63289-616-2 PDF
For information about purchasing E-books, click here.

Ages: 7-10
Page count: 112
73/x 9

Correlated to Common Core State Standards:
English Language Arts-Literacy. Reading Literature. Grade 3. Standards 1-5, 7, 8, 10
English Language Arts-Literacy. Reading Literature. Grade 4. Standards 1-5, 7, 8, 10

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