Feathers Not Just for Flying

51qrw4rngql-_sy384_bo1204203200_Feathers Not Just for Flying is a nonfiction picture book written by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen. It was published by Charlesbridge in 2014.

Feathers Not Just for Flying is a beautiful book. Brannen’s illustrations are soft as down. The palette is muted colors of the earth, sky and sea. Easy on the eyes, yet inviting the reader to study every inch of beautiful space.

Stewart’s text is also soft and gentle. Yes, each page is filled with interesting tidbits about a specific bird and what makes its feathers useful and unique to that bird. But her language is both inviting and easy to follow. The way the text is laid out invites the readers eyes to skim and skip from one bit of text to another.

As I meandered through the pages I remembered my attempt a few years ago to create a book with the same format. I thought it was pretty good. But a couple of publishers did not. I soon learned the facts I had garnered through many hours of research were soon inaccurate. Research on the particular animals I chose is constantly revealing new things about them.

So, I filed it away. But reading Feathers Not Just for Flying has inspired me to pull the manuscript out and dig into updated research.

In the back matter Stewart explains to readers that AFTER tons of research she spent three years “tinkering with” the text of the book. I exhaled! You mean I’m not alone in spending years writing and rewriting the same manuscript? Hurray!

And (according to her website) Stewart has published more than 130 books! I’d call that a full-time job.

ph_ms1On Stewart’s website she has posted her “Revision Timeline” for another of her books, No Monkeys, No Chocolate. From inspiration to finished books on shelves was TEN years!


I feel so much better now about my own snail-paced writing process.

Thanks, Melissa.


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