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Hens for Friends © The Gryphon Press

by Sandy De Lisle
illustrations by Amelia Hansen

ISBN: 978-0-940719-26-2
$17.95 trade cloth

ISBN: 978-0-940719-27-9
$17.95 ebook

April 2015

24 pages
color illustrations throughout
For ages 5 and up

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Can a hen be a boy’s best friend? Aarón thinks so!

Hens are smart, savvy, and they like to cuddle, as Aarón explains in this picture
book about his relationship with his best friend, Margaret, a Rhode Island Red hen.

Aarón’s family interacts with their six adopted hens; they play with and pet the hens, tuck them in at night, as well as keeping the chicken coop clean and protected. When their mother bakes a birthday cake for Aarón’s younger brother, Eduardo, Aarón makes sure that Margaret’s eggs will be part of the cake.

Young readers will find out that hens are talented, that they can tell time, recognize people they’ve met, and solve problems, as well as learning that hens require ongoing care after they stop laying eggs. The final page of the book lists additional resources for parents and other adults.

Hens for Friends, unlike other children’s picture books about chickens, has a sweet sensibility about the joy of a loving relationship with an unusual companion animal.

Hens for Friends has easy-to-digest information about the benefits and the obligations of responsible stewardship of backyard hens and how the family’s care for their hens differs from that on a factory farm.

Perfect for bookstores to co-host a reading with a local animal humane group, backyard chicken group, or chicken sanctuary, or for animal loving bookstores.

* * *

“Aarón loves all his family’s chickens, but Rhode Island Red Margaret is his special favorite. It’s no wonder, as Margaret has an especially fetching expression in Hansen’s line-and-watercolor illustrations, which take advantage of natural chicken physiognomy to endow Margaret and the rest of the flock with demure ‘smiles.’

They make it clear that it’s not just the eggs that spur Aarón’s devotion. In a simple, personable narration, Aarón tells readers that his family got their flock from Mother Hen Chicken Rescue after the city council passed an ordinance allowing residents to keep the birds. He explains how they house, care for, and feed the chickens, gather eggs, and use the composted ‘poop’ in their garden … That Aarón and his family are Latino is just icing on the cake in this engaging introduction to keeping backyard chickens.”
 —Kirkus Reviews
Hens for Friends is not only a great story about animal-human friendship, but it is also filled with useful, interesting information about raising backyard hens. The illustrations of the chickens are realistic while also being warm and inviting. This book would be a valuable addition to any classroom or library to help children understand proper pet care. Kids of all ages will love this book. I can’t wait to read Hens for Friends to my granddaughter!”                       
 —Nancy Carlson, author of Sometimes You Barf,
I Like Me, and sixty-four other
beloved children's picture books
Hens for Friends is a recommended read for anyone looking for a beautiful tale of friendship between an animal and a child. An enchanting story of compassion and respect extended by a young boy to a hen named Margaret, it provides an opportunity to see chickens showcased as the wonderful, engaging individuals they are.”
—Suzanne McMillan, Senior Director,
Farm Animal Welfare Campaign,
American Society for the Prevention
of Cruelty to Animals


Sandy De Lisle is making her debut as a children’s picture book author. Sandy has worked as a public school teacher and currently as senior manager of content development for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

Amelia Hansen is the award-winning illustrator of It’s Raining Cats and Cats!, Are You Ready for Me?, It’s Raining Pups and Dogs, and At the Dog Park with Sam and Lucy, all Gryphon Press titles, as well as nineteen other books exploring the connections between people, animals, and the earth.

The Gryphon Press, a voice for the voiceless .