Skip to main content
Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
When I Was a Turkey

When I Was a Turkey

Based on the Emmy Award-Winning PBS Documentary My Life as a Turkey

Joe Hutto and Brenda Guiberson

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)


When I Was a Turkey is a middle-grade adaptation of the remarkable true story of a naturalist who raised a flock of wild turkeys using imprinting.

After a local farmer left a bowl of wild turkey eggs on Joe Hutto’s front porch, his life was forever changed. Hutto incubated the eggs and waited for them to hatch. Deep in the wilds of Florida’s Flatlands, Hutto spent each day living as a turkey mother, taking on the full-time job of raising sixteen turkey chicks. For two years, Hutto dutifully cared for his family, roosting with them, taking them foraging, and immersing himself in their world. In return, they taught him how to see the world through their eyes. Here is the remarkable true story of a man with a singular gift to connect with nature.

A Christy Ottaviano Book


Talking Turkey


AS A CHILD, Joe Hutto had every kind of pet imaginable. His parents put linoleum on his bedroom floor and said he could keep almost any critter in his bedroom or...

Reviews from Goodreads

Joe Hutto and Brenda Guiberson

Joe Hutto is a nationally recognized naturalist and wildlife artist. He lives in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming. He is the award-winning author of Illumination in the Flatwoods, the book that inspired the documentary film My Life As a Turkey.

Brenda Z. Guiberson is the author of many books for children, including The Deadliest Creature in the World, Frog Song, Life in the Boreal Forest, Moon Bear, The Emperor Lays an Egg, and the bestselling Cactus Hotel. She lives near Seattle, Washington.

Joe Hutto

image of Brenda Z. Guibersono
Mary M. Gallagher

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

Latest on Facebook