My words flew away like birds

Debora Pearson

Book - 2021

"My Words Flew Away Like Birds is both a poignant and heartening story about the experience of a child who moves to a new country. Everything feels new and strange to her, and though she has learned some of the language, when she tries to speak, all her words fly away. In the end, our heroine finds she doesn't need a lot of words to make a new friend. It is a story of finding a sense of belonging in a new place, resilience, and human connection. An utterly charming and sensitive portra...yal of a child's immigrant experience."--

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jE/Pearson
1 / 2 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
Children's Room jE/Pearson Checked In
Children's Room jE/Pearson Due May 24, 2022
Subjects
Genres
Picture books for children
Children's stories Pictorial works
Fiction
Picture books
Published
Toronto, ON : Kids Can Press 2021.
Language
English
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 cm
ISBN
9781525303180
152530318X
Main Author
Debora Pearson (author)
Other Authors
Shrija Jain, 1993- (illustrator)
Review by Booklist Reviews

In preparation for their move to a place where they would need to know English, a little girl and her family learn some phrases for meeting and greeting people. Upon their arrival, however, they discover that their efforts were in vain and that their English phrases do not match the speed and colloquialisms of people around them. This is a nuanced, tender rendition of a child's isolation due to being in an unfamiliar place where everything is different. Eventually, a serendipitous moment results in a new friendship and an exchange that requires only a few words, along with lots of smiles and gestures that portend an optimistic future. Figures drawn in black ink bounce around backgrounds painted with wide strokes of pastel blues and pinks, suggesting an urban setting that could be anywhere, lending the book a universality and playfulness. Can be paired thematically with Robert Munsch's From Far Away (2017). Grades K-2. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

The paper white–skinned, black-pigtailed protagonist of this endearing picture book offers a close look at emigration and language acquisition. Pearson elucidates the child's struggles in poetic prose, carefully leaving their countries of origin and emigration unspecified to highlight the universality of the child's emotions: "Their words did not sound/ like the ones I had learned./ So I did not say anything." The child details a handful of experiences: homesickness; someone attempting to introduce the family to a person "from the same place," only to have their former homes be different; and finally, making a friend. Jain contributes doodle-like pen and ink artwork, with digitally airbrushed coloring in a light palette, in this approachable, empathic tale. Ages 4–8. (Oct.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A poetically told immigration story that fosters understanding and beautifully articulates how the desire to belong and the need for human connection are universal highlights the character education traits of resilience, kindness and empathy. Illustrations.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A poetically told immigration story that fosters understanding and beautifully articulates how the desire to belong and the need for human connection are universal highlights the character education traits of resilience, kindness, and empathy.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A powerful and poetic immigration story.A girl learns words in a new language to prepare for her move to a new country. But when her family arrives, everyone speaks so fast and “all her words fly away like birds.” The girl waits, and watches, and listens, trying to figure things out. Only, it's hard. Then one day the girl meets someone who needs her help. And as she makes a new friend, the new words start to come easier --- becoming her words, at last.A perfect read-aloud, this poignant story offers a powerful lesson in empathy for children everywhere.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

A poetically told immigration story that fosters understanding and beautifully articulates how the desire to belong and the need for human connection are universal.

A little girl learns some words in a new language to prepare for her move to a new country. But when she, her mother and her father arrive, “all her words fly away like birds.” The girl waits, and watches, and listens, trying to figure things out. Only, it's hard. Then one day the girl meets someone who needs her help. And as she makes a new friend, she finds that the new words start to come easier --- becoming her words, at last. Beautifully written in engaging and accessible free verse, this poignant story offers a powerful lesson in empathy for children everywhere.

The story is inspired by the many newcomer families Debora Pearson has met in her work as a children's librarian in a bustling urban center. Both timely and universal, it provides young children with an opportunity to expand their worldview and be inspired by how the heroine prevails and finds connection. Shrija Jain's simple, whimsical illustrations add playfulness and warmth to the narrative. A perfect read-aloud, this sweet and sensitive picture book encourages all children to celebrate inclusion and highlights the character education traits of resilience, kindness and empathy. There are links here to social studies lessons on community, global awareness and cultural awareness.