Book Spotlight: One Pelican at a Time by Nancy Stewart

Bella and Britt love living by the beach. When they find oil washing to shore from a gulf spill, they want to help but are told there is nothing for kids to do. But when their old friend, the pelican, becomes covered with oil, they help save his life by their quick thinking and action.

Read an excerpt:

As days passed, the girls waited and watched while adults tried to fix the problem. That is, until they saw the old pelican leave his perch and plunge into a patch of sticky sea.

Britt gasped. “Will he come back up?”

“If he does, how can he live? Bella questioned.

But he did come to the surface, covered in heavy, tacky oil. He looked at them, and they looked at him. And the girls took action.

“Help! Help us help the pelican!” both girls screamed.

A young man who, on such a hot, summer day, would be renting colorful umbrellas to beachgoers, sat alone on the sand.

“What’s the trouble?” he shouted, running toward the girls.

“The old pelican! The old pelican! We have to save him!” Bella sobbed.

“Come on. No time to lose!” The young man sprinted down the beach to the clean-up crews.

“Ah, I know that old bird,” nodded the crew chief. “Let’s go get him.”

Read the reviews!

"This book will help your youngster learn how he/she can help wildlife when faced with the disasters of an oil spill; it also stresses the dangers and need for proper handling of the oil. The illustrations are like a water color, very nicely done. Good book for opening up discussions on what can be done and how.”

–4 the Love of Books

“One Pelican at a Time is a touching story of how the Gulf Oil spill has impacted the wildlife in the area. It encourages kids to be green in their actions and encourages parents to make sure that something like this never happens again. Additional resources are listed in the back of the book for your children in case you want to include this in a unit study about oil spills or our environment. Definitely a great way to explain the oil spill to children and to encourage them to do their part for our environment.”

–Confessions of an Overworked Mom

“I love the message that this book sends and the encouragement it provides to kids who want to get involved and take action. It is written in easy to understand language without sounding too childish. It is a complicated topic for kids to grasp but I think the author does a good job at explaining it.”

–Turning the Clock Back

“If you are a concerned parent or teacher in search of a good book that will help children learn about caring for the planet, I highly recommend One Pelican at a Time.”

–Melange of Cultures’s Blog

"All in all, I am very impressed with how Author, Nancy Stewart was able to simplify such a horrible incident so that a child could understand it and how she was able to teach hope through a story of children doing their part to save the gulf, one pelican at a time."

--The Adventures of My Family of 8

"The book opens the door to a frank discussion about man’s impact on the environment. Children hear the stories of the spill on the news and in the media, but are distant from it. A child in New York or Michigan can empathize with the people directly impacted by spill through Stewart’s book.

The illustrations brilliantly depict the sorrow in the children’s faces and the oil riding the ocean’s surface and washing onto the beach. Each illustration speaks volumes about the tragedy."

--J. Aday Kennedy: A Writing Playground

"The book is well written and the lovely illustrations by Samantha Bell convey the story perfectly. Kids who read it will enjoy discovering what two children like themselves were able to do to make a difference in the world."

--Janet Ann Collins/Onwords opening eyes, opening hearts

After having been an elementary school teacher, a management consultant with New Options, Inc. in New York City and a university professor of education, Nancy Stewart now writes children’s books full time. She, her husband and three sons, lived in London for eight years, where she was a consultant to several universities, including Cambridge.

Nancy travels extensively throughout the world, most particularly Africa. She is the US chair of a charity in Lamu, Kenya, that places girls in intermediate schools to allow them to further their education.

Nancy is the author of One Pelican at a Time and two other Bella books: Bella Saves the Beach and Sea Turtle Summer. All three are published by Guardian Angel Publishers.

She and her family live in St. Louis and Clearwater Beach, Florida.

You can visit Nancy online at or at her blog
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