Second Tuesday Book Club will meet in-person from 7 to 8:15 p.m. on Tuesday, August 9, in the program room at Schimelpfenig Library, to discuss The Loneliest Polar Bear: A True Story of Survival and Peril on the Edge of a Warming World by journalist Kale Williams. We will observe social distancing, with face coverings recommended. Please email Cathe Spencer at email@example.com if you have questions or comments. See you at Schimelpfenig Library soon!
The Loneliest Polar Bear: A True Story of Survival and Peril at the Edge of a Warming World by Kale Williams
Around nine o’clock on the morning of Nora’s sixth day, Aurora rose, stretched, and ambled out of the den. The cub was completely reliant on her mom, alone and vulnerable without her. As the chilly air crept in around her, Nora cast her head from side to side, screeching as she searched for something familiar, something warm. When she found no answer to her cries, she began to wail.
Nora was one of only two surviving polar bear cubs born in the United States in 2015. Every cub–wild or captive–shoulders a share of the burden of a species in peril.
From environmental journalist Kale Williams, this debut is the heartbreaking but ultimately hopeful story of an abandoned polar bear cub named Nora and the humans working tirelessly to save her and her species, whose uncertain future in the accelerating climate crisis is closely tied to our own.
Renowned conservationist and primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall has praised this book as “a moving story of abandonment, love, and survival against the odds . . . Kale Williams not only writes eloquently about little Nora and the dedication of the zoo staff who save her life—but he also uses the tale as an entry point into important issues of our times: climate change that affects polar bears in the wild, the need for us to develop a more respectful relationship with the natural world, and the ethics of keeping animals in captivity.”
Author Carl Safina notes, “In The Loneliest Polar Bear, Kale Williams has crafted a compulsively readable book that masterfully—and courageously—braids the story of one bear and the stories of many bears and many people. As you’ll discover, we are one of those braided strands; we all play a role in this story. Williams is a rare author with big-picture vision and skill, and the result is this great, compelling book.”
Reviewer Sue O’Brien of Library Journal comments “In this debut, science and environmental journalist Williams chronicles the life of Nora, a polar bear cub whose mother abandoned her days after her birth at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. . . this is an absorbing, extensively researched book for fans of popular science and those who appreciate stories about polar bears, both captive and wild, as well as behind-the-scenes work at zoos.”
Portland-based Kale Williams covers science and the environment at The Oregonian/OregonLive. This nonfiction title, his first book, began as a series for the newspaper in 2017, and evolved into Project Nora. For his work, Williams won a Gold Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Kavli Foundation in 2018. Links to additional information, photos, and a video documentary can be found on Kale Williams’ website. He is also on Twitter, at @sfkale.