Tracking Tortoises

The Mission to Save a Galápagos Giant

  • Interest Level: Grade 4 - Grade 8
  • Reading Level: Grade 5

Galápagos giant tortoises are fascinating—and endangered. They live only on the Galápagos Islands, a chain of volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Ecuador. These tortoises face threats from the humans who live on—and visit—the islands, as well as from Earth’s warming climate.

Join author Kate Messner on an a journey to the Galápagos Islands to see these incredible creatures up close and discover how cutting-edge technology is helping scientists to study and protect them.

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Interest Level Grade 4 - Grade 8
Reading Level Grade 5
Genre Science
Category 5 Kinds of Nonfiction, 5KN: Narrative Nonfiction, Animals, STEM, STEM: Life Science/Animals
Copyright 2022
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Millbrook Press ™
Language English
Number of Pages 64
Publication Date 2021-09-07
Text Type Narrative Nonfiction
BISACS JNF003360, JNF051150, JNF003270
Dewey 597.92/46
Dimensions 10.625 x 8.875
Lexile 1110
Guided Reading Level X
ATOS Reading Level 7.4
Accelerated Reader® Points 3.0
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Author/Illustrator note, Awards, Bibliography/further reading, Glossary, Index, Maps, Page Plus™, Photo captions, Primary source quotations/images, Reviewed, Source notes, and Starred Reviews

Author: Kate Messner

Kate Messner is passionately curious and writes books that encourage kids to wonder, too. Her titles include award-winning picture books, easy readers, chapter books, nonfiction, and novels. A former teacher, Kate lives in upstate New York with her family and is trying to summit all 46 Adirondack High Peaks in between book deadlines.

Photographer: Jake Messner

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  • AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books, Long-listed, 2023
  • NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12, Winner, 2022
  • Green Earth Book Award, Short-listed, 2022


Children's Literature Comprehensive Database (CLCD)

“This book is perfection.” –Children’s Literature

The New York Times Book Review

“For readers curious about what it’s like to be a scientist, the book provides superb insights . . . And it opens doors to understanding the challenging times in which we live, the difficult choices we face and how we can go about building a more hopeful future.”—The New York Times Book Review


“An informative presentation on these notable reptiles.”—Booklist

Kirkus Reviews

“Messner smoothly introduces her readers to the formation and population of this famous archipelago . . . Science at work in a unique setting.”—starred, Kirkus Reviews

School Library Journal

“[A] vivid picture of not only the giant tortoises of these unique islands but also of the scientists who study animals that will outlive them. . . . Highly recommended for libraries and science classrooms with budding naturalists.”—School Library Journal