FICTION

My Beautiful Birds

illus. by Suzanne Del Rizzo. 32p. Pajama. Mar. 2017. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781772780109.
COPY ISBN
Gr 1–3—Sami is a Syrian boy whose family are forced to leave all they hold dear as they flee their home for the safety of a refugee camp. While "days blur together in a gritty haze" at the camp and uncertainty about their future looms, Sami worries about the fate of the pet pigeons he left behind. These concerns overshadow anything good to come from the camp, from the garden his father grows to the flat bread his mother cooks to the painting Sami makes at the new camp school. While walking one day, Sami realizes that the sky he sees from camp is the same sky as in Syria and that if his pigeons were strong enough to fly, they might be strong enough to survive. Will this insight allow Sami to open up and accept the new friends that might come his way? Or will the refugee camp be nothing more than a segue between two pieces of his life? Exquisite dimensional illustrations using Plasticine, polymer clay, and other media bring a unique, lifelike quality to the page, enriching Sami's story to its fullest potential when paired with the often lyrical prose.
VERDICT A stunning offering for libraries wishing to add to their collection of hopeful yet realistic refugee tales.

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