The Book

2013 News and Awards

  • We are thrilled that the book will now be available in the Smithsonian Museum stores. If you visit Washington, D.C., look for her face in the bookstores.
  • >Wisdom, the Midway Albatross has been named a Finalist in the Children’s/Juvenile Non-Fiction category of the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.
  • Harvill is the April, 2013 recipient of the Artists For Conservation (AFC) Monthly Conservation Artist Award . The Award is made each month to a member of the AFC group who has demonstrated a combination of artistic excellence and who has made an outstanding contribution to the conservation cause.
  • ***Starred Review in Publisher’s Weekly
    “. . .Pattison writes crisply and evocatively. . .”
  • First Place winner in the Children’s Picture books category of the 20th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. Winners will be formally announced in the March/April 2013 issue of Writer’s Digest and on

Wisdom, the Midway Albatross by Darcy Pattison, illustrated by Kitty Harvill

2013 NEWS: At the age of 62, WISDOM is a new mother again in 2013! Her chick is named Mana’olana, Hawaiian for Hope.

Children’s Picture Book: Wisdom, the Midway Albatross

The oldest wild bird in the world, documented with banding, is Wisdom, the Midway Albatross. When the Japanese Tsunami hit on March 11, 2011, her nest was in the path of danger. This is her amazing story of survival of manmade and natural disasters for over 60 years.

If you can’t see this video, click here.

  • She has survived manmade disasters: longline fishing, plastic pollution, water pollution, and lead poisoning.
  • She has survived natural disasters: predators, storms, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis, including the Japanese earthquake.

At 60+ years old, she’s still laying eggs and hatching chicks. Among the birds of the world, this albatross, its ecology and life are amazing. It’s a story of survival and hope amidst the difficulties of life.


  • “As it stands, Pattison has uncovered one heckuva story. I can say with certainty that no child has ever walked up to my library’s children’s reference desk asking for nonfiction albatross books for pleasure reading, but for those kids assigned animal bios (it happens), easy nonfiction reads, or just books on birds in general, I now know exactly what it is I’m going to want to hand them. A keeper, you bet.” Elizabeth Bird, Fuse#8 Production blog
    • One of the featured titles in Classroom Connections: Taking Flight with Books about Birds, by Jeanette Larson. May 2012 (Book Links.
    • “Wisdom’s story makes my heart soar.”
      Kirby Larson, author of Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship and Survival and Winner of the Newbery Honor for Hattie Big Sky.
    • “On December 10, 1956, early in my first visit to Midway, I banded 99 incubating Laysan Albatrosses in the ‘downtown’ area of Sand Island, Midway. Wisdom (band number 587-51945) is still alive, healthy, and incubating again in December 2011. While I have grown old and gray and get around only with the use of a cane, Wisdom still looks and acts just the same as on the day I banded her. . . remarkable true story. . . beautifully illustrated in color.”
      Chandler S. Robbins, Sc.D, Senior Scientist (Retired), USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD.
    • “As both a seabird conservationist and a mom to young kids, I highly recommend Wisdom, the Midway Albatross. Wisdom’s true story of survival is exciting and artist Kitty Harvill brings her to life in illustrations that are beautiful and accurate. Having worked to protect these magnificent creatures, I find it wonderful to be able to share their story through this book!”
      Jessica Hardesty Norris, Ph.D., Seabird Program Director, American Bird Conservancy
    • “It’s marvelous! I LOVE it! And I got a lump in my throat, tears! And I’m a biologist! Your book is beautiful, meaningful, simple, elegant………thank you for caring, thank you for sharing this story!”
      Kim Rivera, National Seabird Coordinator, NOAA Fisheries, Deputy ARA, Protected Resources Division, Alaska Region

    How Big is an Albatross?

    This video was taped at the 2012 Arkansas Audubon Summer Camp.

    If you can’t see this video, click here.



    We wish to thank the following photographers for their amazing photos, the basis for much of our artwork. Thank you for making this book possible.

    • Pete Leary
    • John Klavitter
    • David Patte
    • Brenda Zaun
    • Michael Lusk


    Darcy Pattison, author of Wisdom, the Midway Albatross

    Darcy Pattison

    Published in eight languages, Darcy Pattison’s ( recent children’s science and nature books include Prairie Storms (Sylvan Dell) and the forthcoming Desert Baths (Sylvan Dell). Her books have been recognized for excellence by starred reviews in Kirkus and BCCB, Child magazine and Nick Jr. Family Magazine Best Books of the Year lists and various state reading award lists. She was the 2007 recipient of the Arkansas Governor’s Arts Awards, Individual Artist Award for her work in children’s literature. Darcy and her husband have three daughters, one son, three sons-in-law, one granddaughter and two grandsons. When not writing, Darcy can be found quilting or hiking.


    Kitty Harvill, illustrator of Wisdom, the Midway Albatross

    Kitty Harvill ( specializes in wildlife art, especially endangered species, and works in watercolor, pastel, oil and cut-paper. She is internationally recognized among bird artists. She has a dual residency in the Arkansas/U.S. and Brazil and is actively involved with the conservation efforts in southern Brazil. Recent titles include Up! Up! Up! It’s Apple-Picking Time (Holiday House) and Vida Livre, with Brazilian author Adélia Woellner , a story about the endangered Red-tailed parrot. Born in Clarksville, Tennessee, Harvill holds a BFA cum laude in painting from SMU and an MA in art therapy from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and an AA in illustration from Ray College, Chicago.


    WISDOM, THE MIDWAY ALBATROSS: Surviving the Japanese Tsunami and Other Disasters for Over 60 Years. Written by Darcy Pattison, Paintings by Kitty Harvill.

    JNF003270 JUVENILE NONFICTION / Animals / Endangered
    JNF003030JUVENILE NONFICTION / Animals / Birds

    EPub: ISBN 9780979862182
    Paperback: ISBN 9780979862175
    Pub. Date: 2012
    Retail Price: $11.99
    Backmatter: Resources for teachers/parents
    Reading Level: 840L or 3-5 grade reading level

    For more information, contact Darcy Pattison at

    Comments (8)

    1. FANTASTIC ! I cannot await to see the book printed and distributed ! Good luck!

    2. Congrats, Darcy!

    3. Can’t wait to read this book to my grandson, Darcy. You are so talented. I’m very intrigued by the longevity of this albatross.

    4. Beautiful book about Wisdom. I love the illustrations too. A a child I lived on Midway in one of the cable homes. Like the one in the book. Mildred l. Fisher and her husband Harvey I. Fisher were good friends of my parents.Harvey was a noted Zoologist who conducted extensive Albatross research on Midway. Mildred wrote the book “The Albatross of Midway.” in 1970. I am mentioned in her book on page 59. 1959 is my birth year. I would bring flowers to the nests of the hatched

      I’ll enjoy sharing your book with others from Midway.

    5. It’s been 52 years since I departed Midway for the last time and Wisdom was justl a kid. So was I.

    6. I flew in Navy patrol planes from Midway from 1957-1960. The Laysan albatross, better known as the Gooney bird, was the major hazard to our aircraft. I’m amazed to learn that a Gooney from my time there is still producing offspring. No wonder there were so many of them.

    7. I flew in Navy patrol planes from Midway from 1957-1960. The Laysan albatross, better known as the Gooney bird, was the major hazard to our aircraft. I’m amazed to learn that a Gooney from my time there is still producing offspring. No wonder there were so many of them.

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