Yoshi, Sea Turtle Genius: A True Story About an Amazing Swimmer
by Lynne Cox
illustrated by Richard Jones
Penguin Random House, 2023
review copy from the public library
Lynne Cox is one of my sheroes. She herself is an amazing swimmer, breaking records for long-distance swimming in difficult water without a wetsuit — most notably, swimming to Antarctica! If SHE thinks Yoshi is an amazing swimmer, Yoshi must be an amazing swimmer.
Yoshi is a loggerhead turtle. She hatched on a beach in Australia, then survived and grew in the Indian Ocean for five years before being snagged by a fishing net off the coast of South Africa. She was rescued by a fisherman, then placed in an aquarium, where she lived for over 20 years. After conditioning and training, and with a tracker attached to her shell, Yoshi was released back into the wild as an adult loggerhead. She first swam north, up the coast of Africa, then she turned around and swam south and then east, all the way to Australia, mating along the way and laying her eggs on the very beach where she (likely) hatched herself.
Amazing, right? Plus, this book is beautifully written and gorgeously illustrated. It has just the right amount of text for a read aloud, and I can bet there will be passionate conversations about the consequences of pollution, the pros and cons of zoos and aquariums, and the absolute genius of Yoshi.