Wisdom, the Midway Albatross


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

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.

  • 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.


  • 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



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 (www.darcypattison.com) 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 (www.facebook.com/KittyHarvill) 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: February 1, 2012
Retail Price: $11.99
Pages: 32
Trim Size: 8.5 x 8.5
Binding: Softcover
Backmatter: Resources for teachers/parents

For more information, see Wisdom’s website at http://albatross.darcypattison.com

  • Hiragana katakana
    May 15, 2012

    That is a badass albatross!! :D

    I must ask: Is the book available in Japanese? I’m learning Japanese and I’d like to check it out. I’d love it if there was a kindle-Japanese version of the book, as it’s really burdensome for me to have physical stuff (like books) shipped to Colombia from overseas (specially from Japan!)

    Anyways, thanks for sharing! :D

  • Darcy Pattison
    May 16, 2012

    I wish there was a Japanese version. But not yet.