Gemina: The Crooked-Neck Giraffe

  • Written by Karen B. Winnick
  • Illustrated by Karen B. Winnick
  • Publisher: Santa Barbara Zoo, December 2013
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984167807; hardcover
  • Ages and Grades: 5 - 8; Kindergarten - 3

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Gemina stood out from the other giraffes at the Santa Barbara Zoo. She was the famous crooked-neck giraffe. Everyone who saw her wondered if she was all right? Did her neck hurt? As months passed, Gemina’s neck leaned more and more to the side but it never seemed to bother her. Gemina didn’t let her difference stop her from doing anything the other giraffes did. Told with affection and illustrated with oil paintings, this is Gemina’s story, a celebration of the life of a very special giraffe.

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From an article published in the Santa-Barbara News Press by Marilyn McMahon, December 11, 2013:
Karen: It was love at first sight when I first saw Gemina, the famous crooked-neck Giraffe at the Santa Barbara Zoo, one day in 2007. Gemina came right up and enchanted me with her sweet demeanor. Despite her crooked neck, she was part of the herd and completely comfortable in her own skin.

Gemina is my first nonfiction book. She appealed to me because when I write a story, I try to have an underlying message in my books without being preachy. To me, Gemina was an inspiration to children because she was comfortable with who she was even though she was different from the other giraffes.