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Growing Up Gorilla read aloud with author Clare Meeker!

Posted by Elizabeth Bacher, Communications

Yola in 2016. Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Looking for a way to keep your little ones entertained while learning from home? How about joining us for a Growing Up Gorilla read-aloud story time!


WATCH NOW: https://youtu.be/eRCFbwlnvnc

You may know about the new addition to our western lowland gorilla family—a baby boy born to first-time mother Uzumma and silverback Kwame. Uzumma is a great mom, no doubt thanks to skills passed down from her own attentive mother. But what happens when a mother gorilla doesn’t know how to care for her baby?


Nadiri and Yola in 2016. Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Seattle author Clare Meeker spent more than two years documenting the story of Yola, who was born at Woodland Park Zoo 4 ½ years ago. Yola’s mother, Nadiri, was partially hand-raised due to complications at the time of her own birth, so we needed to prepare for the possibility that she might not know what to do when she had a baby. Indeed, Yola’s first few months were spent in the care of her dedicated keepers who constantly stayed close to Nadiri. The goal was to help her bond with baby Yola while her maternal instincts slowly kicked in—ultimately allowing the infant to be fully reunited with her true gorilla family.

Clare Meeker reads aloud from her book about Yola, Growing Up Gorilla, in 2019. Photo courtesy of Clare Meeker.

Follow along with author Clare as she reads aloud from her book Growing Up Gorilla, which was inspired by Yola's story and was recently named 2020 Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year in the STEM category. Clare’s reading of this wonderful story is courtesy of the fine folks at Lerner Publishing Group and will be available for you to watch and share until June 30, 2020. The video runs about 35 minutes, so feel free to break up listening sessions into shorter time periods for younger learners. Want to read along with your own copy of Growing Up Gorilla? You can find it here or at other online retailers.

Clare's book, Growing Up Gorilla. Photo: Elizabeth Bacher/Woodland Park Zoo

More gorilla fun

Learn more about our gorilla family and the new baby—Yola’s nephew—at our Growing Up Gorilla webpage. There you'll also find suggestions for more gorilla fun. Download an activity sheet to add to the baby’s wish book and be entered to win some gorilla-worthy prizes!

You can also celebrate Yola or Uzumma’s new baby with a symbolic ZooParent animal adoption! Adopt now and help fund conservation programs and the daily care and feeding of our gorillas and all zoo inhabitants.

Gorilla plush toy. Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Visit Clare Meeker’s website to learn more about her and her other published books, including Hansa, the True Story of an Asian Elephant Baby and Lootas Little Wave Eater, the story of an orphaned sea otter raised at the Seattle Aquarium.

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