Saturday, May 30, 2015

Whoo Knew Owls Would Play Such a Large Part in Children's Literature?

Children's Literature is awash with owls.  From Owl at Home by Arnold Lobel to Harry Potter's loyal Hedwig, owls have appeared regularly in the genre.  The question is why?

I have always felt owls posses a mysterious majesty and believe many people are affected by their presence in the same way.  Within many cultures, owls symbolize strength and wisdom, due in large part to wings that allow soaring, claws that effectively clinch their prey, and laser eyes of field and forest, allowing nothing to go unnoticed.  These are all aspects admired by most children who, by virtue of being young and therefore, powerless, use vicariously.

Let's take a look at some, albeit some of this blogger's favorites, illustrate the love and admiration in kids' hearts for owls.  Owl Babies is a charmer, warm and fuzzy, by Martin Waddell.  These babies are as close as human babies as it gets.  All claws tucked away, this is a dream of a night time read!  

Another favorite of mine is The Owl and the Moon, again by Arnold Lobel.  I used to read this book to my boys, and they loved it, the soothing funniness of Owl's reaction to the moon and his environment.  Still a must-read for tucking-in time.

My all-time favorite owl book was written by my friend, Jane Yolan.  Owl Moon not only is a classic in the true sense of the word, it is biographical.  Jane's daughter loved to go owling with her dad, and the story comes directly from those adventures.  A delight for everyone, Owl Moon is a poem to nature, and love, and life.

Maybe there is something in the wisdom of owls.  After all, most cultures that validate these birds believe it to be true.  Or perhaps their most amazing eyes give an expectation of wisdom, all judicial, impartial, unbiased. Perhaps they allow us humans a glimmer into a mysterious world of non-judgmental behavior that makes and keeps kids emotionally whole.   Who knows, but one can hope.


  1. My good friend Nicole Groeneweg led her combined first/second grade class in a project that won a publishing contract from (I think) Scholastic. The book is The Perfect Place for an Elf Owl. All the writing and art was done by the students and it's a charmer. If you can find it, I think you'd enjoy it. I don't know what it is about owls, but everyone seems to love owls. I keep I little owl carving and some owl pictures in my office. There is a calmness to owls. Their call is soothing and their faces are sweet. thanks for a fun post.

    1. I always love your comments, Rosi, and I want to thank you for this one, full of information. I will look up Nicole's book; it does sound terrific! Also, I agree about the calmness to owls and just love them. Thanks again!