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Karl's New Beak: 3-D Printing Builds a Bird a Better Life
Karl's New Beak: 3-D Printing Builds a Bird a Better Life
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Reviewed Titles

Karl's New Beak: 3-D Printing Builds a Bird a Better Life

by Lela Nargi
Illustrated by Harriet Popham

Karl is an Abyssinian ground hornbill with a special challenge. His lower bill had broken off and made eating difficult. Karl did a great job of adapting and finding new ways to eat, but he wasn't getting all the food he needed. His zookeepers at the National Zoo and friends at the Smithsonian Institute wanted to help. Could an old bird skeleton and a 3-D printer give Karl a new beak? Karl's new adventure was about to begin!

PublisherCapstone Editions
Age Level4-8 Years
Reading LevelGrades 1-3
Trim Size8 x 10
Page Count32

Additional Formats
Price: $9.99


Lili Taylor, Emmy-Award nominated actor - Conservation activist, and National Audubon Society and American Birding Assoc.

"The Hornbill is a living treasure. And so is this spectacular book Karl’s New Beak. Lela Nargi knows that the way to get kids (or grownups for that matter!) to care about birds is through storytelling. A true story with depth and complexity that doesn’t talk down to kids. Karl’s New Beak shows kids that anything is possible through friendship, imagination, and STEM. I loved this book so much that I’m planning a trip to visit Karl at the Smithsonian National Zoo!" - Lili Taylor, Emmy-Award nominated actor

January 17, 2019

Pragmatic Mom - Mia Wenjen

"Using 3-D printing technology, Karl’s friends at the National Zoo and the Smithsonian Institute found a way to help Karl!" - Pragmatic Mom

July 8, 2019

Nonfiction Detectives - Cathy Potter

"The nonfiction narrative's conversational tone and descriptive language make this an enjoyable read for kids and adults. Karl's New Beak is an excellent example of the problem and solution structure for classrooms studying nonfiction text structures. . . .an inspirational story that will inspire young readers to look for solutions to problems in their every day lives." - Nonfiction Detectives

March 4, 2019


Flying Off My Bookshelf - Jennifer Wharton

"If you have interest in technology, science, and 3-d printing at your library, it's a good title on the topic." - Flying Off My Bookshelf

April 4, 2019

Booklist - Julia Smith

"This uplifting animal story features precise, accessible writing, excellent illustrations (a mix of photos, sketches, and 3-D computer renderings), and STEM connections galore. The text highlights the cross-disciplinary teamwork that went into designing Karl’s new beak without ever bogging down the text with obvious lessons. Kids will undoubtedly find this account of science, nature, and compassion fascinating." - Booklist

January 1, 2019

Horn Book - Danielle J. Ford

"Nargi’s lighthearted and informative account shows how zoo staff engineered a solution for Karl: a 3-D printed beak. Each step in the process...demonstrates how engineering and science can be combined to solve problems in animal conservation. . . .This volume’s sturdy binding and series nonfiction “look” make it approachable for a variety of readers." - Horn Book

May 1, 2019


Imagination Soup - Melissa Taylor

"Engineering and technology align with science in this true story about a hornbill named Karl. . . .a fantastic story of trial and error, persistence, and real-life problem-solving!" - Imagination Soup

June 4, 2019

The Columbian (Vancouver, WA) - Jan Johnston, Collection Dev. Coordinator, Fort Vancouver Regional Libraries

"If and your little ones love to read true stories with a happy ending, Karl’s New Beak is a winner. . . .Instead of nature versus technology, Karl’s tale becomes technology partnering with nature to do an amazing thing: give Karl a normal beak. A fascinating and heart-warming read." - The Columbian (Vancouver, WA)

May 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews

"A number of recent titles for young readers describe the work of humans to make lives better for injured or abandoned animals. Unusually, here the special focus is on the process: the complicated and painstaking repair of Karl's lower beak, including the construction of its replacement part. Thoughtful design makes this very clear: Illustrations cleverly combine actual photographs with drawings and diagrams, printed in blue and white like blueprints. . . .Backmatter includes more facts about hornbills in the wild and about Karl in particular as well as a glossary with unusually helpful definitions. For fans of animal-rescue accounts and 21st-century technology." - Kirkus Reviews

January 1, 2019


The Children's Book Review - Luisa LaFleur

"Readers will root for Karl and the scientists as they work on the beak and try to make it fit. The author has included many interesting facts about hornbills, the Smithsonian and 3-D printing." - The Children's Book Review

December 10, 2019

Lela Nargi

Lela Nargi

Lela Nargi is an author, editor, and veteran journalist living in a leafy corner of Brooklyn, NY, with her daughter, her husband, and an enormous rabbit. After years spent covering news, celebrities, lifestyle, and photography for large national magazines like People, Life, and Entertainment Weekly, she now writes about food, science, the environment, travel, business, and parenting for a wide variety of outlets. She also writes books—lately, mostly for children.

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