Seabird by Holling C. Holling is a highly recommended title on our reading list. (See also Tree in the Trail.)

It began with a summer snowstorm near Greenland.  The fourteen-year-old ship’s boy in the crow’s-nest caught sight of a large white bird, his eyes following her hanging in the snow and then climbing up….


The boy is sure the gull saved the ship, and makes an ivory replica — Seabird.

Seabird follows the boy through his sailing career on a whaler, and onto a clipper with his son, Nate, rounding the Horn and to the Orient; and onto a steamer captained by Nate; and at the side of his son Jim, as he designed ships, and liners; and with his son Ken through the clouds.

All the while, the reader is carried along through history and around the world.

A writer of books for young people is quite aware that they may open new vistas for fresh and eager minds.  If this story charts a course into related stories — sparkling seas now held unknown between other book covers — then SEABIRD will have accomplished part of her mission.

Holling C. Holling

Seabird (along with the other Holling C. Holling titles) are frequently used to teach geography in a living-book way.

  • Map the locations that Seabird visits.
  • Draw a picture of each type of vehicle Seabird rides on.
  • Narrate the whaling process.
  • Describe China as Nate saw it.
  • There are many wonderfully illustrated asides in the book.  Choose one that you are most interested in to copy and illustrate in your notebook.
Additional Resources

Learn more about the birds of the sea.


Winged Ambassadors
A five-lesson look at the various types of seabirds.

Wearing Albatross Wings
Seabirds (and the albatross is one of the largest) have incredible wingspans.  This activity will give you an idea of just how big!

Notebooking Pages

Author Notebooking PagesAuthor Notebooking Pages
Simple pages for recording information on Holling C. Holling  including room for copywork, narrations, an illustration, dates of birth/death, and books by the author.

Drawing & Writing Notebooking Paper {Free Download}
For narrations, copywork, and illustrating and describing your favorite scene from the book.

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