Finding Family
Signed, personalized copies available
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Awards & Honors

Finding Family: The Duckling Raised by Loons

Written by Laura Purdie Salas
Illustrated by Alexandria Neonakis
Publisher: Millbrook Press, 2023
ISBN: 978-1728442990 32 pages


On a lake in northern Wisconsin in 2019, loon researchers were surprised to discover a mother and father loon caring for a mallard duckling. Normally, loons and mallards live very different lives and do not get along. Follow along as the duckling grows and displays a mix of both loon behaviors and mallard behaviors. Intriguing verse and striking illustrations combine in this heartwarming tale of unexpected animal cooperation.
May 13: Perched on the edge of a northern lake, a nest of dried mud and grass cradles two eggs. Olive-colored, black-splotched future loons.

Journal Reviews

An entertaining and informative story that will find a home in many collections.
—School Library Journal
Engaging natural science for the very young.
—Kirkus Reviews

Reader Reactions

Finding Family will fascinate young nature lovers and inspire all readers and listeners to take a closer look at nature’s mysteries. Older children and teachers will also appreciate the extensive back matter.

—Buffy Silverman

To me, this is a story not only about family, but about what we can learn from nature. Despite differences, there is a need for all of us to care for one another and to remember that families, despite different shapes or sizes, have love as a common denominator.

—Rose Capelli

…a beautiful read-aloud for families of every stripe, spot, and feather.

—Laura Shovan

Telling this story in free form verse with essential word choices, evokes wonder, caring, and tears. She addresses unanswerable questions…

—Vicki Palmquist, Bookology

Downloadable Activities

Loonish Song
Alike & Different
Teaching Guide_Thumbnail
Teaching Guide

Photo Gallery

SEL Finding Family
Finding Family Charlotte Zolotow
With Carol Hinz
Editor Carol Hinz is the one who realized this true story should be a picture book!
NOT a loon :>)
20230606_storytime with yvonne
A loon-y storytime with Yvonne Pearson and me
2024_MBA Finalists
Finding Family 2023 Eureka Gold Award!
Thank you, California Reading Association!
20230606_walking like a loon
Walking like a loon at storytime
20230606_loon anatomy
Showing some loon anatomy
20230401_kim bouquet
Book launch bouquet
20231118_NCTE signing_Finding Family
A book signing at NCTE
mallard vs loon
Loon vs. mallard
Meet My Family
A good pairing
Secrets of the Loon
A read along!
20230401_signing finding

More for Educators or Writers

How this Book Got Started

The idea for Finding Family: The Duckling Raised by Loons actually came from Editor Carol Hinz at Lerner. She had read about the unusual family and seen adorable photos on social media. She knew I’d written another loon picture book (Secrets of the Loon), and she wondered if I’d be interested in writing the true story of this interspecies family. Yes, please!

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