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Picture Book Biography Brochure

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In 1934, Ruth Harkness had never seen a panda bear.  Not many people in the world had.

But soon the young Mrs. Harkness would inherit an expedition from her explorer husband: the hunt for a panda.  She knew that bringing back a panda would be hard. Impossible, even.  But she intended to try.

So she went to China, where she found a guide, built traps, gathered supplies, and had explorers' clothes made—unheard of for a woman in those days.  Then she set out up the Yangtze River and into the wilderness.  What she discovered would awe America: an adorable baby panda she named Su Lin, which means "a little bit of something very cute."

With breathtaking illustrations from Caldecott Honor artist Melissa Sweet, this little-known true story shares the tale of an adventurous woman who was bold and brave—and the unforgettable journey that helped shape American attitudes toward wildlife.


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