How do you recover — especially as a child — from a traumatic event that changes the way you relate to the world? Sometimes nature intervenes to help, as in this sensitively told tale of a girl who finds her inspiration by observing the courage of birds.
Having experienced an undisclosed-to-us illness or injury, Amelia spends her time with books and her adorable stuffed dinosaur. She is lonely yet hesitant to meet the new children who recently moved in next door. Her mother encourages her to try to reach out to them, but Amelia doesn't feel ready. So she lives in her imagination through stories, while in parallel fashion the boy and girl next door play their own imaginative games with each other.
When a little bird lands on Amelia's windowsill, plucks a ribbon from her treasure box, and flies away from it, though, everything starts to change, organically. Amelia becomes fascinated by the bird, its nest building, and its burgeoning family:
It was building a nest with strips of bark and bits of moss,
with grass and spider webs, soft feathers and fur ...
... and Amelia's ribbon!
Now Amelia's attention is equally drawn to her inner worlds and what's outside her window. How the birds create the momentum that allows Amelia to climb into her wheelchair and go to meet the neighbors is for readers to discover, but we can give away that Amelia's hesitancy transforms into joyful sharing.
Caroline Nastro has built a gentle, lyrical story for five-to-eight year olds that is well supported by Anca Sandu Budisan's exquisite pencil-and-watercolor illustrations. This is the second of three collaborations between the two, and we look forward to their work in progress, a companion book inspired by the fascinating lives of birds explored here.