YA: This Session's for the Birds

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For the Birds on Crowdcast
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Derrick Z. Jackson
The Puffin Plan, Wednesday, October 20 | virtual

In 2021, Derrick Z. Jackson’s environmental and social commentaries earned the Scripps Howard Award for Excellence in Opinion Writing and First Prize in two categories from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists (NSNC), in Social Justice and Sports commentary. The Puffin Plan: Restoring Seabirds to Egg Rock and Beyond, co-written and photographed with renowned seabird restorer Steve Kress, won this year’s first-place Gold Award for Teen Nonfiction from the Independent Book Publishers Association. His puffin and landscape photography has been a finalist or semifinalist in several contests, most recently in BirdWatching Magazine in 2020. He is also co-author and photographer of Project Puffin: The Improbable Quest to Bring a Beloved Seabird Back to Egg Rock. Jackson is a contributor to Grist, ESPN’s The Undefeated and the American Prospect Magazine. Formerly of the Boston Globe and Newsday, he is a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a 10-time award winner from the National Association of Black Journalists, a 3-time winner from the NSNC, a 2-time winner from the Education Writers Association, a commentary winner from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and co-winner of Columbia University's Meyer Berger Award. A native of Milwaukee, Wis., and a 1976 graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, Jackson was a 1984 Nieman Fellow in Journalism at Harvard University. He holds three honorary degrees and the UW-Milwaukee Distinguished Alumni Community Service award.

Stephen W. Kress
The Puffin Plan, Wednesday, October 20 | virtual

Stephen W. Kress is the National Audubon Society’s Vice President for Bird Conservation and director of the Audubon Seabird Restoration Program and Hog Island Audubon Camp.

Rosemary Mosco
A Pocket Guide to Pigeon Watching, Wednesday, October 20 | virtual


An avid bird watcher, Rosemary makes books and cartoons that connect people with the natural world. Her Bird and Moon nature comics were the subject of an award-winning museum exhibit and are collected in a book that’s a 2019 ALA Great Graphic Novel for Teens. She co-wrote the Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid, a New York Times bestseller, and she recently released Butterflies Are Pretty... Gross!, a Kirkus-starred picture book. A Pocket Guide to Pigeon Watching is forthcoming in November 2021. She speaks at birding festivals and writes for the PBS kids’ show Elinor Wonders Why.


Jeremy Spool is a co-coordinator of the Massachusetts Young Birders Club and a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He studies the neuroscience of social behavior in songbirds like European Starlings and Zebra Finches. Spool was born in California and began migrating east after college, through Wisconsin, before finding a home in Massachusetts. Since he began birding for work and for the love of it in college, Spool has spread his love of birding to friends and family, and strongly believes that the joys of birding and the outdoors should be accessible to everyone. The Massachusetts Young Birders Club aims to create and empower a sustainable community of young birders (10-20 years old) in Massachusetts. The club's purpose is to guide youth in building their understanding and love of birds and nature.


Whether you identify as a city kid or an avid naturalist, fascinating birds can be found everywhere! In this session, we’ll hear from Rosemary Mosco, who’s been connecting people to the natural world with her funny (but scientifically accurate!) cartoons for years. In A Pocket Guide to Pigeon Watching she demystifies these ubiquitous but often misunderstood birds. Ornithologist Stephen W. Kress and photographer Derrick Z. Jackson team up for The Puffin Plan, a beautifully photographed account of reintroducing these gorgeous birds to rocky islands off the coast of Maine. We’ll hear from all these creators and get their ideas for incorporating the natural world into young people’s lives in this session hosted by Jeremy Spool of the Massachusetts Young Birders Club.

Donations made during registration or during the session will go to support the Boston Book Festival's Shelf Help Partnership, providing brand-new books and an author/illustrator visit to Boston-area public schools. This year's recipient schools are Josiah Quincy Elementary School in Chinatown and Chelsea High School in Chelsea. Thank you for your support!