Phoebe’s Heron

Phoebe's Heron, by Winnie Anderson

“An enchanting book full of forgotten history, the tension of friendship, a brave girl, and deeply overflowing with the love of wild nature.” – Polly Carlson-Voiles, author of Summer of the Wolves

Phoebe’s Heron not only sheds light on the early conservation movement but [also] emphasizes the importance of treating people fairly and kindly and staying true to one’s values, even when it creates issues with family and friends. This is a sensitive and thoughtful juvenile historical novel that incorporates many themes in a delightful package.”
Foreword Magazine

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PHOEBE’S HERON, the story of 12-year-old Phoebe Greer, is set in 1900 Colorado.

Her first-person narrative begins when Phoebe, her family, and Nurse Daisy, who believes the sun is stronger than any buckshot-colored cloud filled with a needle-hard rain, arrive at their new cliff-top cabin in the foothills of the Rockies. They have moved from Denver in the hope that the altitude and fresh air will heal Phoebe’s mother’s tuberculosis.

While Phoebe wishes for nothing more than her mother’s health, she misses city life in Denver and her best friend Lisbeth, whose parents own Denver’s finest millinery store, where the two girls have spent hours in front of the looking-glass parading fancy feathered hats on their heads.

Phoebe loves to draw. Her father gives her a sketchbook, and soon she meets Jed, a local plume hunter. He desperately wants to find a blue heron as their feathers are in great demand for ladies’ hats. Gradually Phoebe and Jed become friends. As he shows her the delights of the natural world he so loves, her perspective broadens as their friendship deepens.

Colorado stagecoach
Historic stagecoach.

Phoebe visits her friend Lisbeth in Denver. There she becomes aware of a group of women who want to protect birds from being hunted for the purpose of fashion. Upon her return to the mountains, while she is alone, Phoebe sees a great blue heron in the creek, which she sketches in her journal.

She does not show this to Jed, but when he discovers the drawing for himself, and at a time when Phoebe needs a friend more than ever, her recently formed convictions are put to the test.

This is a lovely, lyrical story about discovery, friendship, and ultimately the courage to take a stand for something greater than oneself.

Beautifully written, Phoebe’s Heron illuminates the origins of the Audubon Society and the early days of American wildlife conservation. Young readers will be inspired to learn more about native species, and feel empowered to stand up to protect our vulnerable wildlife in these challenging times.” – Outdoors Nature Educator, Aldo Leopold Center

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Winnie Anderson, Author

Winnie Anderson holds an MA in Writing from Johns Hopkins University. She has had stories published in various children’s magazines.

She lives in Evergreen, Colorado, not far from Denver.

Phoebe’s Heron is her first novel.