Storytelling and a Love for Birds

Local Author, Nancy Gaenzle’s Children’s Book Series

By Janelle Stear  Photos Kimberlee Miller

For thirty-one years, Nancy Gaenzle taught fourth grade; now retired, she has blended her passion for educating children with a passion for her feathered friends.

New to Eagle, Nancy grew up on the Camas Prairie in southern Idaho. While there, she enjoyed visiting her grandmother, Mary, who held a deep affinity for the birds in her backyard. “I remember sitting with my grandmother on her patio, she would try to mimic their songs.” Nancy also enjoys researching and learning more about various birds.

Nancy’s first book, Luella and Nita the Owl, was published by Archway Publishing this past June.

Paul Bush illustrated the brilliant pages for this story. Bush is a professional illustrator for the medical field but has been working on the side with Nancy and her stories. Bush says, “I love the stories and the way Nancy has written them with teachable moments for children.  Nancy enjoys storytelling, and I enjoy bringing her stories to life with my sketches and vibrant watercolors. We make a great team.”

In the story Luella and Nita the Owl, Nancy explains, “A mother owl has chosen a cottonwood tree on the family farm for her nest to raise her three baby owlets. [Ten year old] Luella immediately develops a bond with this mother owl and does all she can to keep her new friend safe in this tree.”

Nancy’s book is entertaining and informative for children as it gives facts about owls, such as how the owl’s eyes and neck are so unique from other birds.

Nancy explains how her inspiration for her first book came to her: “One day, while walking my dog, Ruby, along a country road, I happened to find a brown and white striped owl feather. This gift from nature inspired me to start my stories.”

Nancy’s four-year-old granddaughter, Luella, is the vision for the main character. She wants her granddaughter to enjoy these books now as well as later. “I began writing my stories, so Luella would have something to remember me by long after I am gone. Luella has inherited my love for wildlife and small creatures,” says Nancy.

In Nancy’s second book, Luella’s Christmas Surprise, which will be arriving from the publishers in September, is a story about two Mallard ducks living on a pond near the family farm. Luella and a very nice neighbor, Clyde Santos, enjoy their daily chats at the pond and watch these two ducks named Drake and Marta. The Christmas holiday is almost here. Mr. Santos is away on vacation. Luella wakes on Christmas morning to discover a huge surprise!

Look for upcoming Luella books out in 2019: Luella and Frank the Pheasant and Luella and Mary the Mourning Dove.

You can find Luella and Nita the Owl at:

You can also find Nancy’s books at:
Boise’s Flying M Coffee
World Center for Birds of Prey

If you would like to invite Nancy for a book signing, or reading, contact her at:








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