Wild Cats Past & Present (Darby Creek Publishing, Plain City, Ohio), was named to VOYA’s (Voice of Youth Advocacy) 2009 Honor List as one of the top nonfiction books for middle school/junior high school readers, and was also a Junior Library Guild Premiere Selection. Wild Cats goes continent by continent across the world, detailing information about wild cats in each region. Beautiful full-color photographs give readers a visual treat. All thirty-six species of wild cats make an appearance, with the spotlight on some of the most amazing creatures on Earth, along with a few of their ferocious ancestors. Categorized by geographic region, the text shows how felines have adapted to their environment—from the tigers of Siberia to the rare, tiny sand cats that hide in the caves and boroughs of northern Africa. Yet despite the survival instincts that have kept felines around since the days of the saber-tooth cats, many of these wild cats are among the most endangered animals in the world. As the earth’s human population increases, fewer and fewer open spaces remain for wildlife. Wild Cats: Past & Present places special emphasis on the ever-shrinking habitat of felines and how conservation groups are working to protect them.
Activity: During the opening assembly, Dr. Becker will stress the importance of reading and writing to success in life. He will introduce the books he has written, and give a brief overview of his books’ themes. He will use storytelling to illustrate how wild animals have influenced his writing, and show video of some of the field research he has done in Africa observing wild cats in their natural habitat. Thereafter, Dr. Becker will read from Wild Cats Past & Present, and give students the opportunity to ask questions based on his books and travels around the world.
During the smaller group sessions throughout the rest of the day Dr. Becker will relate the “story behind the story” of how he came to write Wild Cats Past & Present, incorporating storytelling, video of his field research specifically for this book, read more sections from the book, and conclude with another question and answer segment.