Wednesday 12 August 2020

Ride the Wind by Nicola Davies & Salvatore Rubbino - Guest Author Post

A heartfelt story from the author of King of the Sky and The Promise, with an important point to make about male mental-health:

Javier has a secret. On one of his father’s fishing trips, he finds an albatross caught on the hooks – alive, if only barely. Against his father’s orders, Javier smuggles the bird to safety and begins nursing it back to health. Every day the albatross accepts a little more food, but she shows no sign of wanting to use her wings. And if Javier's new friend refuses to fly, how will she ever find her way home? With words by award-winning author Nicola Davies and dramatic watercolours by Salvatore Rubbino, this is a beautiful story about the power of empathy.

"Nicola Davies is one of the best children's writers in the business." Huffington Post

“In this beautifully told and emotive picturebook, a motherless boy breaks rules for the sake of an injured albatross and is reconciled with his harsh father. Salvatore Rubbino’s clear, colourful draughtsmanship is deft at evoking the story’s South American setting.” – ‘Watch Out For’, The Sunday Times

Guest Author Post - Nicola Davies

Albatrosses are magical birds, adapted to stay on the wing in gales and storms that would drive other birds out of the air. Their vast wings, with spans up to three and a half metres, carry them almost without flapping, over many thousands of miles of ocean. And if that wasn’t enough, they find the way back toting, remote islands to meet their lifelong mates. 

But albatross are in trouble. Longline fishing boats that use thousands of baited hooks on lines miles long, catch sea birds as well as fish. Hundreds of thousands of albatrosses die this way every year. Marry all that with the effects of pollution, causing adult albatross to return to hungry chicks with bellies full of plastic rather than food, and you have 15 of the 22 albatross species on a collision course with extinction.

I’d wanted to write about albatrosses and the threats they face for years but when my daughter was travelling in coastal Chile, that was when a story about them finally landed in my brain. She sent me photos of fishing villages and the long line boats who fish the Humbolt current, right where albatross too search for food. These small fishers, whose lives are hard as those of the seabirds catch sea birds by mistake and drown them, just as the big commercial boats do.

That gave me the setting, but the human diaspora out of South and                Central America gave me the story: like albatross, many South and Central American people, travel far from home to make a living. Families are divided, and sometimes, like pairs of albatross, never reunited. At the time I was writing Ride the Wind, two close friends also had children travelling the world. I think our longing for our wandering offspring made me feel the story of the separated albatross pair more keenly and helped me to make the emotional link between the human family in the story, and the albatross.

I’ve never seen an albatross and I probably never will. But I still want to know that they are there, riding the wind far from land. If you do too please find out more here:

or donate here:

- Nicola Davies

A special thanks to our guest author this week, Nicola Davies!
Ride the Wind is now available to buy from all good booksellers.