Published by Penguin on April 3rd 2014
Genres: Animals, Apes, Monkeys, etc, Juvenile Nonfiction, Zoos
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The heart-tugging true story of how a baby gorilla found love in the arms of a surrogate mom When Umande was born, his mother didn’t know how to take care of him. So, he was hand-reared by keepers at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs. For eight months, the keepers crawled on the ground with him to show him how to walk; coughed in his face to teach him discipline; and gave him happy gorilla grumbles to encourage him. But for Umande, something was still missing. Luckily, a thousand miles away at the Columbus Zoo, a mom was waiting just for him.This touching true story about finding a family will resonate with animal lovers and adoptive families alike. Share this book with fans of Owen & Mzee, Tarra & Bella, and Knut.
The inspiration started with an intriguing news article about Umande the baby gorilla. Paired with countless hours of research and writing. The outcome, a picture book about life, love, and finding the road to a family. With one theme that catches the reader’s attention from the beginning, this book is filled with major events on every page. Did you even know that it is truly possible to have a little animal and not be able to care for it? Such is the case for Umande, leaving him with no mother to care for him at birth. As time goes by the keepers of the zoo become Umande’s care givers. Striving to provide for him the best environment that they can, given the circumstances. But they realize quickly that no matter how much love they provide Umande he needs more. He needs a mama gorilla. So the journey begins. I found the illustrations of this book to be carefully crafted and created for the storyline. They truly provide the reader with a visual of the words and story on every page. Lastly, Ms. Faulconer has created a beautiful book with words that truly capture the essence of family.
Be sure to listen to our casual conversation, located at the end of this post.
Maria Faulconer has published fiction and nonfiction for children and adults. She loves writing stories, especially ones that tug at the heartstrings. A huge animal lover, and an adoptive mom herself, she knew when she saw a photo of a baby gorilla snuggling with his surrogate mom that she had to tell their story – A Mom for Umande. Her first children’s book, Arianna and the Strawberry Tea, was used for a statewide literacy program. She currently writes for Colorado Springs Style magazine and is working on a YA novel. She lives in Colorado with her husband and two children.
Winner will receive a gift basket that includes a $50 Amazon gift card, a copy of A MOM FOR UMANDE, a stuffed baby gorilla, a gorilla zoo book, a miniature wooden zoo train set, Gummi Bears, and rock candy!