Harriet’s Ruffled Feathers

Atheneum/Simon & Schuster

Available in hardcover and e-book


Meet the inspiring woman whose love of fashion led her to start a conservation movement and found the Massachusetts Audubon Society in this lively picture book biography.

Harriet Lawrence Hemenway loved hats. She loved them with ribbons and flowers, embroidery and pearls. And feathers! What was better than a hat with grand, glorious feathers? But then Harriet discovered that millions of birds died so that she and her friends could soar at the height of style. A passion for fashion was one thing, but this was feather-brained!

So Harriet led the charge to take feathers out of fashion, getting laws passed that made it illegal to buy or sell wild bird feathers. In 1896, she and her fellow bird protectors founded the Massachusetts Audubon Society, which grew into a national organization that still protects birds today! Additional information about conservation can be found in the backmatter of this engaging picture book.


“Bird puns abound in this origin story of the National Audubon Society. . . McCullough’s prose maintains a playfully vintage flavor. . . Light-hued watercolors by Galotta combine delicate lines with simple figures of various skin tones, intricately rendered fashions, and near-realistic birds in this buoyant portrait of an early female conservationist.” 

– Publishers Weekly

“This inspiring story of one woman’s ability to enact change is well served by McCullough’s succinct and playful storytelling style, featuring lots of avian wordplay. Galotta’s delicate and colorful watercolor illustrations are highly detailed; defined lines help accentuate both high-society refinement and beauty in the natural world.” 

– Horn Book Magazine

 “The writing in this fictionalized biography, sprinkled with bird metaphors, sparkles . . . Pastel watercolors depict ladies in fashionable hats and dresses, the glorious plumage of many birds, and realistic natural environments.”  

– Booklist

“Lively text pairs perfectly with the dreamy, soft quality of the watercolor illustrations. This book not only tells Hemenway’s story, but with extensive and engaging back matter, also encourages readers to stand up for issues they believe in. . . A thoughtful biography . . . “

– School Library Journal