Finding a Dove for Gramps by Lisa J. Amstutz

Finding a Dove for Gramps

Lisa J. Amstutz, Author

Maria Luisa DiGravio, Illustrator

Albert Whitman & Company, Fiction, 2018

Suitable for Ages: 5-7

Themes: Animals, Birds, Counting, Nature, Community

Opening: “Mom and I slip silently out the door. Today we’re going to count birds. It’s just the two of us this year, since Gramps flew south for the winter. “Just like the swallows!” he said.


This year I want to find a dove.

Jay looks forward to participating in the bird count each winter with his mom and Gramps. It’s fun to spot different birds like a nuthatch, a black-capped chickadee, and even a golden-crowned kinglet! This year Jay wants to spot his Gramp’s favorite bird — a dove. But with so many different birds in the nature preserve, will Jay have a chance to locate one before the count is over?

Why I like this book:

This is  heartwarming tale is about a boy and his mother enjoying their time together outdoors counting birds. The boy grabs his clipboard and binoculars as they quietly step into nature, careful not to scare the birds. The story also involves community.

The illustrations are rendered in soft shades of blue and white, so that children can easily spot a wide variety of birds around them.

This book is a timely book to introduce children to bird counting and conservation. The annul Christmas Bird Count is inspired by a national citizen science project in which everyone can participate. Many hold special Christmas bird counts for kids. And there is a Backyard Bird Count and many other counts throughout the years. Great book for classrooms.

Resources: This is the perfect time of the year to join the Great Backyard Bird Count in February or one of the many other citizen science projects that take place through out the year. Visit the Audubon website for a list of count cirles near you. This year marks a 120-year celebration of counting.  And visit the Sonoma Birding website and the eBird website to do you own bird count any day of the year and track your counts. There also is a bird count check list at the end of the book.

Lisa J. Amstutz is the author of more than eighty books for children. She loves finding new birds to add to her yearly list. Lisa and her family live on a small farm in rural Ohio with Daisy the dog, two ornery goats, and a flock of chickens.  Visit Lisa at her website.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

*Review copy provided by publisher.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

30 thoughts on “Finding a Dove for Gramps by Lisa J. Amstutz

  1. I love this book! It was one of my favorites & it is wonderful to combine this with BIRD COUNT by Susan Richmond (fiction) & COUNTING BIRDS by Heidi Stemple (nonfiction) for a great exploration of the Great Backyard Bird Count.


    • Thank you for the leaving some additional information on book pairings. I love that there are many more PB and MG novels that include birding for kids. Such a fun and educational family activity.


  2. I used to watch the wrens outside my bedroom window when I was small. Loved hearing their songs. And they were so tiny. I think that children are naturally drawn to birds, and this story makes that love cross generations. Sweet!


    • Yes, I love the multigenerational aspect is moving because ultimately Jay is trying to search for his grandfather’s favorite bird, the Dove. I believe cultivating a love of nature and birds at an early age is so important. Happily many more books include birding.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This looks like such a sweet book that warms the heart. For Christmas I gave my two youngest granddaughters binoculars for the Christmas Bird Count. This book would be perfect for them. Thank you for sharing, Patricia.


    • Yes, this book does focus on the Christmas Bird Count, but includes other. What a perfect idea about giving binoculars. I had thought giving some to my great grandson because he lived along the ocean, but I could give him a copy of this book, which has a checklist at the end. Birding is a year-round activity.


  4. Citizen science projects are great fun and contribute a lot of information to the collective knowledge. If this book can encourage kids and their parents to get involved, it’s earned its place on my shelf.


  5. What a lovely book! I really enjoy bird watching and it’s nice to see more and more books about it. It’s something children can easily do with their families.


  6. I love this book and the way Lisa weaves science into a heartwarming story. Thanks for sharing it – winter is a great time to go birding.


  7. Pingback: Finding a Dove for Gramps by Lisa J. Amstutz — Children’s Books Heal – Jasper Lynn

  8. As someone who has been participating in these bird counts for years, I love seeing books that get kids excited about joining in. This book looks touching and lovely.


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