Whimsical illustrations accompany this heartfelt collection of essays on life, compassion, love and understanding the world by way of the author’s connections with the animals she has known. I find myself returning to this poetic collection often in quiet moments, contemplating not only how these connections impacted her life and her understanding, but seeing clearer now how my interactions with animals in my life have affected my own perceptions. The author shows us that there is truly a personality and a soul in all beings. A beautiful gift for someone who loves and has been loved by animals. — Tambra Johnson Reap
A New York Times bestseller!
National Book Award finalist Sy Montgomery reflects on the personalities and quirks of 13 animals—her friends—who have profoundly affected her in this stunning, poetic, and life-affirming memoir featuring illustrations by Rebecca Green.
Understanding someone who belongs to another species can be transformative. No one knows this better than author, naturalist, and adventurer Sy Montgomery. To research her books, Sy has traveled the world and encountered some of the planet’s rarest and most beautiful animals. From tarantulas to tigers, Sy’s life continually intersects with and is informed by the creatures she meets.
This restorative memoir reflects on the personalities and quirks of thirteen animals—Sy’s friends—and the truths revealed by their grace. It also explores vast themes: the otherness and sameness of people and animals; the various ways we learn to love and become empathetic; how we find our passion; how we create our families; coping with loss and despair; gratitude; forgiveness; and most of all, how to be a good creature in the world.
About the Author
Researching films, articles, and 22 books, SY MONTGOMERY has hiked the Altai Mountains of Mongolia looking for snow leopards, tracked tree kangaroos in Papua New Guinea, and more. A National Book Award finalist, she has also been honored with a Sibert Medal, two Science Book and Film prizes from the National Association for the Advancement of Science, three honorary degrees, and many other awards. She lives in Hancock, New Hampshire. Visit her online at symontgomery.com and on Twitter @SyTheAuthor.
Rebecca Green is an illustrator, painter, and make believe maker whose work has a home in young adult and children's books, galleries, magazines, and more. When she is not making things, she can be found cooking, traveling, and starting too many books to finish. She currently lives in Nashville, TN with her husband, their dog, Mori, and their cat, Junie B. Visit her online at myblankpaper.com and on Instagram at @rebeccagreenillustration.
"Montgomery’s lyrical storytelling and resonant lessons on how animals can enhance our humanity result in a tender, intelligent literary memoir."—Publishers Weekly
"The National Geographic channel meets memoir in this brief, compelling examination of what animals can teach us about ourselves."—Kirkus
"Mongtomery’s gorgeously illustrated memoir is a must-read for animal lovers of every age."—HelloGiggles
"Filled with fascinating stories of encounters and relationships with animals in various locations, this moving memoir will leave readers thinking about life on Earth, the creatures we share the planet with, and that 'brilliance' we have yet to fully understand."—School Library Journal
“How to Be a Good Creature should be required reading. A superbly crafted memoir, this book brims with wonder, empathy, and emotion. It stands as a vivid reminder of the deep and necessary connection we share with all living things.”—Nick Jans, author of A Wolf Called Romeo
“How to Be a Good Creature is one of the most moving books I have ever read. Sy Montgomery’s open honesty about her life allows her to find guidance from the unlikeliest creatures, and in their own ways these animals speak with the same spiritual purity as she speaks to us in this breathtaking work.”—Bob Tarte, author of Enslaved by Ducks
“I don’t know anyone whose animal empathies and scientific bona fides I admire more than Montgomery’s—from the curiosity she holds for a tarantula to the tender longing she has for an octopus. Told with characteristic humility and gorgeous language, How to Be a Good Creature is a remarkable achievement.”—Eliot Schrefer, author of Endangered, a National Book Award finalist
“A truly beautiful book about life, family, loss, and love.”—Temple Grandin, author of Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals
“How to Be a Good Creature is a rare jewel, full of empathy and the profound wisdom Sy has received from animals she has loved over her extraordinary lifetime. This sweet book is a triumphant masterpiece that I’m recommending to everyone.”—Stacey O’Brien, author of Wesley the Owl
“This is a beautiful book—essential reading for anyone who loves animals and knows how much they can teach us about being human.”—Gwen Cooper, author of Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder