World Giraffe Day

world giraffe daySaturday, June 21, the longest day of the year, has been designated as World Giraffe Day. A day to raise awareness of giraffe conservation. You can find out more at the Giraffe Conservation Foundation HERE.

Giraffes are pretty unique creatures. They have very long necks, even though they have the same number of vertebrae as a human person. Those bones are just really big! And even though those necks are really long, they’re too short to reach the ground!!

We have a facility here in Glen Rose, Tx called Fossil Rim Wildlife Center that is devoted to the conservation and preservation of endangered animals. It is a drive through park where you can see various animals in a natural environment. There are giraffes at Fossil Rim that will come visit you in your car. Giraffes are not on the endangered list, but their populations are unstable and are a concern. Fossil Rim is involved with the Species Survival Plan for giraffes and keeps a breeding herd. I did a post about Fossil Rim some time ago. You can check it out HERE.

So, in honor of World Giraffe Day, I have a beautiful book for you –

IMG_0254Zeraffa Giraffa
by Dianne Hofmeyr
illustrated by Jane Ray
published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books in 2014
this is a historical fiction book suitable for K and up

This is an incredibly beautiful book. Exquisitely detailed watercolors and a Rhythmic, lyrical text turn the tale of a small giraffe’s journey into magic. In 1824, a Great Pasha in Egypt decided to send a gift to the King of France. His choice for the perfect gift was a giraffe. Hunters were sent out to capture a baby. A young man was assigned as the baby’s caretaker. A journey to Paris was planned.

IMG_0255Zeraffa traveled by boat up the Nile river, across the Mediterranean Sea, up the coast to Marseilles, France. People in Europe had never seen a giraffe before! Zeraffa made for quite a spectacle and people came from far and wide to see her. After their long boat ride, the giraffe and her caretaker, Atir,  had to WALK 550 miles to get to Paris!! The entire trip took 2 1/2 years! That’s one long trip!! Whew! At the end of this book is a factual, historical write up of the story. You must check this book out!

And to go along with the picture book about Zeraffa, there is a non-fiction, adult type version as well.

A Giraffe’s True Story, from Deep in Africa to the Heart of Paris
by Michael Allin
published by Walker and Co. in 1998

My Mom Person read this one to me long ago. It is a truly fascinating tale. You can listen to an NPR interview with Mr Allin HERE.

You might also be able to find this interesting tale of raising a giraffe in Africa –

img005The home of the Melville’s in Kenya where they raised Daisy and established a giraffe sanctuary was turned into a hotel where you can stay and breakfast with giraffes! You can find out more about it HERE.

Another fun book about giraffes, with lots of interesting facts and information is

img004I hope that you can find a way to celebrate World Giraffe Day. If you happen to be in Texas you can come out to Fossil Rim and learn all about giraffes and even feed some! If you can’t make it to Fossil Rim, I’ll bet your local zoo might have some giraffes to visit. And grab one of these books and get carried away!

For your viewing pleasure —

Enjoy your weekend! and feed a giraffe! Or go view a giraffe. Or draw a giraffe. Or write a poem about a giraffe. Or pretend you’re a giraffe.

Your library friend on safari
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