Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readersannounced today that it will publish Saving Fiona: Science, Social Media, and the Story of a Baby Hippo about the hippopotamus born prematurely at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, whose growth and reintroduction to her family made her an internet sensation.
Written by Thane Maynard, director of the zoo, Saving Fiona will be heavily illustrated with color photographs and written for elementary-school aged readers. The author’s proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.
Born on Jan. 24, 2017, nearly two months prematurely, Fiona weighed just 29 pounds, which is less than half the normal birth weight of a hippo. The book will cover her surprise birth, the struggle to save her when she wasn’t growing or eating properly, and the remarkable achievements she has made since, including the recent reunion with her entire family. Behind-the-scenes photographs and exclusive interviews with the zoo staff will give readers an intimate look at the inner workings of a zoo, and the relationships the caregivers have with the animals that live there.
Videos of Fiona posted to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s social media accounts have reached up to 50 million viewers. Her struggle for survival and the intense care and love she’s been shown have captured hearts and international attention. Using the hashtag #TeamFiona, donations have come in from people around the world, helping the Zoo provide 24-hour-a-day care for Fiona.
“Fiona’s incredible story of survival and hope captured all of us at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and we’re delighted to bring readers behind the scenes at the Cincinnati Zoo where Thane Maynard’s hardworking team dedicated itself to saving the world’s favorite baby hippo. Readers will enjoy an inside look at this one-of-a-kind story that features cutting edge science, community support, and unexpected social media fame,” says Catherine Onder, SVP and Publisher, HMH Books for Young Readers.
Maynard is internationally recognized for his dedication to wildlife preservation, research and education. He has authored more than a dozen books, the most recent, Hope for Animals and Their World, was coauthored with Jane Goodall. He has also shared science and environmental news via his nationally-syndicated radio program, “The 90-Second Naturalist,” for 30 years.
Saving Fiona: Science, Social Media, and the Story of a Baby Hippo will be published on Jan. 22, 2019in advance of Fiona’s second birthday. Erica Zappy of HMH’s Books for Young Readers group acquired world rights.
About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Trade Publishing
For nearly two centuries, HMH Trade Publishing has published some of the world’s most renowned novels, nonfiction, children’s books, and reference works. For more information, visit www.hmhco.com/popular-reading.
About the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
The world famous Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is committed to inspiring visitors to care about wildlife and wild places. It has been rated the #1 attraction locally and one of the top zoos in the nation by Zagat Survey.