Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Zoo Book for July

Did you know that July 1st (1874) is the anniversary of the opening of America's first zoo? On that date, the Philadephia Zoological Society opened the Philadelphia Zoo for the first time. The price of admission was $.25 for adults and $.10 for children. There were over 800 animals present.

In honor of this anniversary, why not read a wonderful book about a zoo and a little know World War II drama. The book is entitled The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman.

When the Germans invaded Poland (in 1939) the city of Warsaw was decimated - along with the city's zoo. With most of the animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski began sheltering Jews (escaped from the Warsaw Ghetto), as well as Polish resisters (and some surviving animals from the zoo), in their villa and in animal cages and sheds. Based on Antonina's own memoirs and newspaper interviews, as well as Ackerman's own research in Poland, the result is an exciting and unforgettable portrait of courage and grace under fire.

Ackerman said, in an interview, "I felt that her [Antonina's] story needed to be told, because it's a tale of heroic compassion, something 'ordinary' people rise to in every era, though we hear little about it." Meg



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