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Join us Thursday mornings at 8:20 for Minnesota Reads on Northland Morning, featuring Minnesota authors talking about their work. Funding provided in part by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund

MN Reads: "Finding Family" by Laura Purdie Salas

Cover of "Finding Family: The Duckling Raised by Loons" by Laura Pudrie Salas and illustrated by Alexandria Neonakis; painting of a duckling riding on a loon's back through green reflected water
Alexandria Neonakis

Despite some similarities, ducks and loons are not generally on good terms with each other, making what happened on a Wisconsin lake in 2019 all the more notable. A pair of loons, recently deprived of their own offspring, happened upon a lone duckling. The true story of the trio is captured in the 2023 picture book Finding Family by Laura Purdie Salas, and illustrated by Alexandria Neonakis.

"Scientists were just kind of astonished when they formed a family for the summer," says the author of the unlikely brood of three birds. "It has rarely been documented.... it is so unusual." The feeding habits, the way that the two species move, and so many other differences stacked the odds against the group, but the duckling took to the tutelage of the loons, and the loons remained committed to raising the duck.

Much can be said of this anomaly in nature, but the lessons that the story provides about being present easily find their way to the surface of this enduring tale. "Even when you don't know the future, you can make a life for yourself with whatever and whoever is around you," says the author.

Finding Family is nominated for this year's Minnesota Book Award and is available through most booksellers - including independent bookstores - as well as online.

Minnesota Reads is produced at The North 103.3 with funding provided in part by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Luke Moravec is the host for Northland Morning on The North 103.3. He’s also a local actor, musician and writer. He loves puzzles, riddles and fun mysteries.
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