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Harriet's Ruffled Feathers

The Woman Who Saved Millions of Birds

Illustrated by Romina Galotta

About The Book

Meet the inspiring woman whose love of fashion led her to start a conservation movement and found the Massachusetts Audubon Society in this lively picture book biography.

Harriet Lawrence Hemenway loved hats. She loved them with ribbons and flowers, embroidery and pearls. And feathers! What was better than a hat with grand, glorious feathers? But then Harriet discovered that millions of birds died so that she and her friends could soar at the height of style. A passion for fashion was one thing, but this was feather-brained!

So Harriet led the charge to take feathers out of fashion, getting laws passed that made it illegal to buy or sell wild bird feathers. In 1896, she and her fellow bird protectors founded the Massachusetts Audubon Society, which grew into a national organization that still protects birds today! Additional information about conservation can be found in the backmatter of this engaging picture book.

About The Author

Photograph © Joy McCullough-Carranza

Joy McCullough writes books and plays from her home in the Seattle area, where she lives with her husband and two children. She is the author of the middle grade novels Across the Pond, A Field Guide to Getting LostNot Starring Zadie LouiseCode Red, and Basil & Dahlia, as well as the middle grade series Team Awkward, and the picture books Harriet’s Ruffled Feathers, Champ and Major: First Dogs, and The Story of a Book. Her debut novel Blood Water Paint was longlisted for the National Book Award and was a William C. Morris Debut Award Finalist. Visit her at

About The Illustrator

Photograph by Romina Galotta

Romina Galotta is an illustrator residing in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where her two dogs let her use a couple of rooms of their house for work and sleep. She prefers traditional mediums such as watercolors, pencils, and gouache. She has illustrated several books, including Dear Librarian by Lydia M. Sigwarth, Harriet’s Ruffled Feathers by Joy McCullough, and We Are the Builders! by Deepa Iyer. Her other talents include bird rescuing, apprentice tattooing, pizza making, and precision combat driving.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (March 15, 2022)
  • Length: 40 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781534486775
  • Grades: P - 3
  • Ages: 4 - 8
  • Lexile ® AD910L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

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Raves and Reviews

"Bird puns abound in this origin story of the National Audubon Society. . . McCullough’s prose maintains a playfully vintage flavor. . . Light-hued watercolors by Galotta combine delicate lines with simple figures of various skin tones, intricately rendered fashions, and near-realistic birds in this buoyant portrait of an early female conservationist."

– Publishers Weekly

"This inspiring story of one woman’s ability to enact change is well served by McCullough’s succinct and playful storytelling style, featuring lots of avian wordplay. Galotta’s delicate and colorful watercolor illustrations are highly detailed; defined lines help accentuate both high-society refinement and beauty in the natural world."

– Horn Book Magazine

"The writing in this fictionalized biography, sprinkled with bird metaphors, sparkles . . . Pastel watercolors depict ladies in fashionable hats and dresses, the glorious plumage of many birds, and realistic natural environments."

– Booklist

"Lively text pairs perfectly with the dreamy, soft quality of the watercolor illustrations. This book not only tells Hemenway’s story, but with extensive and engaging back matter, also encourages readers to stand up for issues they believe in. . . A thoughtful biography . . . "

– School Library Journal

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More books from this author: Joy McCullough