Cover of Birds of a Feather by Jane Yolen and Jason Stemple

Birds of a Feather

More bird poems, all of them written to respond to Jason’s brilliant photographs, and with an introduction/appreciation by the world’s greatest birdsong expert, Don Kroodsma. These books are always a labor of love, mainly because I think the photographs should be seen by everyone.


  • One of the Bank Street Best Children’s Books of the Year
  • A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book
  • Nominated for the 2012-2013 Keystone State Reading Elementary Book Award
  • Alabama Camellia Award, grades 2-3 BookList 2012-2013

Around the web:

What reviewers have said:

  • “Prolific author Yolen teams up with her son, nature photographer Jason Stemple, for this spectacular, full-color view of wild birds.”—
  • “Yesterday I brought in a book of poems by Jane Yolen, Birds of a Feather. Jason Stemple’s photographs accompanying the poems are so close-up and crisp they practically fly off the page. My first-grade students snatched this one off the table before our speech session began. Next time I’ll have to bring in several copies – they fought over this book. They loved the perfect pairing of words and photos – the Mohawk on the Kingfisher, the cheery chickadee, and the group of strutting ‘Oystercatchers on Parade.'”—Steak Well Read Well blog
  • “The combination of the beautiful photos and Jane Yolen’s creative and intimate poems makes this book of poetry wonderfully accessible for readers of all kinds.”—Through the Looking Glass Review
  • “[P]oetry, prose, and photography combine to bring a variety of unusual birds to life for young readers…The stunning photographs, brilliant and jewel-toned, are shot by Yolen’s son, Jason Stemple.”—Sacramento/San Francisco Book Review
  • “Stunning, full color, close-up photographs of birds combined with evocative poems in different forms present memorable portraits of birds. Factual material about each feathered creature is inserted on every double-page spread to complete the picture.”—WETA’s Reading Rockets
  • “In this exceptional book of poetry, Jane Yolen invites bird lovers to look at birds in a new way. What makes the poems special is that they are full of surprises. Jane uses humor and an uncanny eye for detail to help us see the birds in an altogether more familiar and personal way. For each of the fourteen bird species described, she gives us a poem and some informative text. Her poetry is accompanied by wonderful photos that were taken by Jason Stemple.. . .The combination of the beautiful photos and Jane Yolen’s creative and intimate poems makes this book of poetry wonderfully accessible for readers of all kinds.”—Through the Looking Glass reviews
  • “So clever! Not only does each photograph feature poems in a wide variety of styles, there’s also a block of information about each bird. This is a perfect title to hand to kids who don’t think they like poetry, to bird-lovers, to poetry lovers, or just to random passersby.”—Jean Little Library
  • “The team behind A Mirror to Nature again pairs striking, full-color photographs of birds with spirited poems in a full range of styles and forms. A haiku for a kingfisher speaks tenderly to the quirky, diminutive bird (“Hey, girl, fish lover,/ Sitting on the dead gray tree,/ Love the blue Mohawk”); another offering compares a marching group of oystercatchers to windup toys; and a poem for a “solitary wood duck” admires the bird’s nobility (“We surrender,/ we surrender,/ we surrender to your beauty”). Stemple’s intimate photos capture a great horned owl’s gaze, a chickadee’s downy plumage, and sandpipers silhouetted against a sunrise, while Yolen’s solidly constructed verses show equal affection.”—Publishers Weekly
  • “The mother-son team takes us along as guests on their birdwatching tour. They put into words and images a sense of wonder, but never take themselves too seriously. “Haiku for a Cool Kingfisher” goes like this: “Hey, girl, fish lover,/ Sitting on the dead gray tree,/ Love the blue Mohawk.” Stemple’s astounding photograph emphasizes its smoky blue “Mohawk” because of the tree carcass on which it perches. The tip of the wood bows out in a downward arc that beautifully plays up the shape of the kingfisher’s tail feathers; the rust-colored tones where the arc connects with the tree’s vertical thrust mimics the metallic feathers of the bird’s belly. The blocks of text in the layout of the spread precisely match the bird’s dominant smoky blue tones, including the Mohawk. The design of the book sets up tantalizing contrasts, as with the royal tern. The raucous tone of the poem, “Terns Galore,” created through a cascade of synonyms, clashes enticingly with the serene feeling of the photograph, in which a lone tern coasts over a “packed colon[y]” of its peers. “At the seaside, terns galore,/ One tern, one tern, one tern more./ I tern. You tern./ My turn to fly, tern.” It reads almost like a tongue twister, especially in the concluding lines: “Why, tern, why turn?/ Turning terns are all returning,/ There upon the shore.” Then, in the endpapers, we see a ghosted image of the entire tern colony in flight. Breathtaking.”—Shelf Awareness
  • “Striking photographs of birds that might be seen in the eastern United States illustrate this new collection of 14 poems in varied forms. . . Stemple’s splendid photographs show birds in the wild—flying, perched in trees or on slender reeds, running along the sand and even bunched on a boardwalk. The colors are true, and the details sharp; careful focus and composition make the birds the center of attention. Yolen’s poems comment on these birds’ appearances and their curious actions. . . . Perhaps most effective is the rhythmic “Terns Galore”: “Turning terns are all returning / There upon the shore.” Short sidebars add interesting, informative details about each species and Donald Kroodsma, a well-known ornithologist, has added a short foreword. This is a welcome companion to A Mirror to Nature and An Egret’s Day “—Kirkus
  • “The stunning photographs capture these birds and others in all their beauty. The poems capture the personality of the bird and the moment of time. Each page offers brief facts about the bird. A great poetry collection of the beauty of nature.”—