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Children's Nonfiction Alternative Family

Finding Family

The Duckling Raised by Loons

by (author) Laura Purdie Salas

illustrated by Alexandria Neonakis

Lerner Publishing Group
Initial publish date
Mar 2023
Alternative Family, Birds, Zoology
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2023
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 5 to 10
  • Grade: k to 4
  • Reading age: 7 to 8


Discover the true story of an orphaned mallard duckling being raised by a pair of loons.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.

About the authors

Laura Purdie Salas is the author of more than 130 books for kids, including If You Were the Moon, Water Can Be . . ., and BookSpeak! Poems about Books. Poetry and rhyming nonfiction books are her favorite things to write. Laura loves to do author visits, writing workshops, and teacher inservices. Read more about Laura and her work at

Laura Purdie Salas' profile page

Alexandria Neonakis grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada, with her huge family. She now lives in California with her husband and their two cats. In addition to illustrating children’s books, she works as a character- concept artist for video games. Her recent children’s books include Sweetest Kulu by Celina Kalluk and This Is MY Room by Jennifer Richard Jacobson. She loves hiking in the gorgeous Southern California wilderness, gardening, playing games, and reading good books. Learn more about her online at

Alexandria Neonakis' profile page


  • Winner, ALSC Summer Reading List
  • Winner, Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) Choices
  • Winner, Eureka! Children’s Book Award
  • Winner, Junior Library Guild Selection

Editorial Reviews

"Engaging natural science for the very young."—Kirkus Reviews

"An entertaining and informative story that will find a home in many collections."—School Library Journal

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