Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the WorldSkydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World

By Celia Godkin; Pajama Press, 2014, ISBN 978-1-927485-61-3 (bound) $19.95.

Click to watch the book trailer.

The inspiring story of how the peregrine falcon was saved from the brink of disaster.

High in the sky, a peregrine falcon joins her mate for some swooping and diving before returning to her nest to guard her eggs. The couple doesn’t know it yet, but they will lose most of these eggs; the first clutch to a volunteer scaling the cliff, and the next to the harmful effects of DDT. Told against the backdrop of scientists’ efforts to understand the raptors’ decline in the wild, this illustrated non-fiction book tells the story of several generations of falcons as they’re taken to a sanctuary, reintegrated into the wild, and ultimately relocated to the ledge of a city skyscraper.

With dynamic oil illustrations, author and wildlife artist Celia Godkin effortlessly captures the detail of the falcons and brings to life the different landscapes they inhabit. Skydiver will delight and inform readers with a passion for species preservation, as it documents the struggles and the eventual success of the efforts to save the fastest bird in the world.


“In clear and engaging language, Godkin frames this informative book around the story of a pair of falcons and their offspring. The dramatic mating display of the male and the courtship dance between the two are beautifully illustrated.”— School Library Journal

Dramatic oil paintings show falcons in various activities… this success story will be welcomed by nature lovers.”— Kirkus Reviews

An attractive, informative picture book.”— Booklist

“…crisp text and exquisite paintings…This book is highly recommended for both school and public libraries.”— Resource Links

Godkin’s writing is clear and concise and well-researched….dramatic full-colour paintings illuminate each page….Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World is well worth a place on the shelves of the wildlife section in an elementary school library. Highly Recommended.”— CM Magazine

“…Godkin…once again inspires young readers with an informative account about the natural world – in this case the successful conservation of a species.” Canadian Children’s Book News

An accomplished artist, Godkin also gives us pictures of this extraordinarily swift bird…it is these illustrations—as well as Godkin’s advice to “Look up!”—that will really inform and excite children about these beautiful birds.— The National Reading Campaign

This is a hopeful, upbeat success story told using attractive…pictures in mostly blues and browns. A brief author’s note at the end provides sources of additional information about peregrine falcons and the rescue efforts.”— Youth Services Books Reviews

“…informative text…detailed accompanying artwork…An author’s note encourages readers to find out more.”— Sal’s Fiction Addiction

Awards and Honours:

2016 Rainforest of Reading nominee
2015 Bank Street Best Book
2015 Green Earth Book Award nominee
2015–2016 Hackmatack Children’s Choice Award nominee
2014 CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens Selection