Julia’s Inspiration:

There is so much good in life…one just needs to watch.

Wings in the Wind is a story based on a true account of an orphaned duckling’s survival on the banks of the Merrimack River. I watched this duckling every day as he matured into a healthy drake. julie and ducklingIt is quite unusual for an orphaned duckling to make it to adulthood, and his steady progress caught my attention.

Even though other mallard broods do not adopt orphaned ducklings, every need of the duckling was met as he navigated the river alone, gathering food and safely resting. When the young drake remained on the Merrimack after the other broods migrated south, Newburyport had an unusually mild winter and food was abundant. The river served as a sanctuary for other northern mallards migrating south, and the young drake naturally joined a new flock and migrated north when spring arrived. I was deeply moved by this experience and wanted to share this story of hope and trust.

The story is told through the eyes of a young girl who also grows as her sense of compassion and responsibility deepens. Julie represents my childhood. As a child, I explored the salt marsh along side my grandfather who was a World War II Physician. He too, loved nature, and along the Chesapeake Bay coastal wetlands, enjoyed passing lessons of love that can triumph over any sense of adversity. I wanted the narrative to express a poetic style where love is introduced early, and symbols of the sun and wind are ever-present…nature’s soulful symbols of hope, light and optimism. Many find the symbol of the wind offers a feeling of renewal and a fresh point of view.

Of course as an educator, I wanted to create a book that educates the whole child.  Literary techniques are employed that are whimsical and playful yet provide vivid imagery… and teach!  The science is accurately woven into the story (a wonderful way to provide a science lesson, including habitat conservation, to an elementary student), all while fostering self-esteem and independence.

We all know that children crave a sense of goodness and happy endings.   While reading the book to children, I am touched by their responses. Their comments and questions are poignant and reflect a care for one another.   After watching the drake succeed, many children have been inspired to overcome all kinds of obstacles. Students also quickly understand and appreciate the metaphors and symbols used, as well as the subtle themes in Wings in the Wind.  Throughout the ages, poetry and classic stories have been used to teach life lessons, and children naturally connect to the beauty of nature, the moments of quiet solitude and times of  reflection… and even more importantly, the joy!

Enjoy Wings in the Wind and please feel free to email (juliawalshauthor@gmail.com) your comments about the book and share your inspirations as you too watch the good that is ever present.


Reviews from Professional Educators

FROM: Massachusetts Audubon Society  – Lisa Hutchings, School and Youth Education Coordinator, Teacher, Naturalist, and mother, Newburyport, Massachusetts.
I absolutely LOVED your book. What a lovely, personal story that so many could relate to, adults as well as children. The illustrations are so real that I wanted to touch the pages with the swaying grasses!”

FROM: Cecilie Zwick Coker, Lower School Librarian, Sanford School, Hockessin, Delaware
“Julia Walsh’s account of Julie and her interest in the mallard duck, presents with vivid imagery and is a beautiful intergenerational story about friendship and compassion. Children will enjoy hearing about Julie’s curiosity about the life of a mallard duckling, and they will be able to connect with the subtle topic of persevering when faced with a difficult situation.”

FROM: Nancy Donovan, marine docent and author of Wild Dolphin Rider, Oscar the Herring Gull, and Marissa the Forest Spirit
Wings in the Wind is a delightful story of courage, persistence, and friendship. We watch, through Julie’s eyes, the survival and maturing of a mallard duckling. At the same time, we listen as Julie learns nature’s lessons. Information is accurate; presented in a way that children and adults can feel connected to the adventure. The illustrations are perfect for the story. They show a wide expanse of the marsh and river, while keeping Julie and the duckling still the focus of the story.”