In the Indian Ocean, fishermen discovered a wounded turtle, which they adopted and named her Yoshitaro. In Yoshi’s Big Swim by Mary Wagley Copp, illustrated by Kaja Kajfez (Capstone, December 2022), Yoshi’s story of healing, growing, and her final swim teach young readers not just about one loggerhead sea turtle but also about how we can love, help, and preserve these endangered creatures.
Yoshi’s story began in 1997. She was taken to an aquarium in South Africa, and there the vets helped Yoshi’s shell heal. Yoshi swam in the aquarium in South Africa for twenty years. The text repeats “and she crept into their hearts” to emphasize how everyone who cared for Yoshi or came to see her in the aquarium loved her. After twenty years aquarium vets decided to try to rehabilitate Yoshi into the wild.
I enjoyed learning about Yoshi’s story. Many people helped her succeed by first rescuing her, then healing her, and then training her for a new life back in the wild. A tracking device followed her long journey around South Africa’s horn west, back around the horn going east, through the Indian Ocean, and toward the beaches of northern Australia. We won’t know where she ultimately lives today, because the tracker on her back stopped being able to send a location signal in 2020. Given what we know about loggerhead sea turtles, it is very likely that Yoshi found her own birth beach and is now continuing the turtle life cycle, and she now will lay her own eggs.
As I read the story, I thought of how well it would fit into a unit about sea turtles. Not only that but any animal lover or child interested in sea life would enjoy hearing about Yoshi’s story.
I received a digital copy for review consideration.