Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers announced today that it will publish a new book titled Saving Fiona: Science, Social Media, and the Story of a Baby Hippo. The story is about the adorable baby hippopotamus that was born prematurely at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. The hippo’s reintroduction to her family, and fun-loving attitude, has made her an internet sensation around the world. Fiona even has a series of goods available on Amazon, including tees, cards, bags and more.
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. You can see baby Fiona in action below.
“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, 2019 in advance of Fiona’s second birthday. Erica Zappy of HMH’s Books for Young Readers group acquired world rights.