Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bird by Zetta Elliott

I loved this one. Bird surprised me by its instant catch of unique and powerful storyline, fabulous illustrations (by Shadra Strickland), and sweetly told text swept me along. The cover is an intriguing one for me, and it makes me wonder what this young man is thinking. Mentored by wonderful and present elders, Bird finds his own way to hold the loss of his brother due to drugs.

At one point in the story, Bird sits with Uncle Son, his deceased-grandfather's friend, talking about what had happened to his brother. Bird tells Uncle Son that he wished he could have fixed his brother. The next words offer a brilliant glimmer into some of the wisdom setting in this book:

"You can fix a broken wing with a splint, and a bird can fly again, he said. "But you can't fix a broken soul."

Boom. Maybe this doesn't speak so loudly out of the context of the book, but within it, the words and message lit inside of me. When I finished reading the book, I actually felt inspired to write, as if some truth was waiting to emerge from me. Seriously. 

I found myself nodding as I read Bird, like somewhere in me a part of me was confirming that yes, I should have read this and that more people should too. At our local library, staff can write a little blurb about their interpretations of the book to entice you. Someone wrote this: I just read this book and I think everyone else should too. The drawings are heartwarming, and emotional. You can really feel what he is thinking." I am guessing by the handwriting that this staff member is younger than me by a good few decades, and still they are spot on: this is a rich read. It won a number of awards, including the new Voices Award. You owe it to yourself to read this. Really. It is that good.


  1. Thank you, Shadrieka, for your connection as well. Fantastic works...those moments when we read that confirm and extend, invite and remind.