I Am A Bird
Hope Lim, author
Hyewon Yum, illustrator
Candlewick Press, Fiction, Feb. 2, 2021
Suitable for ages: 3-7
Themes: Girl, Father, Bike ride, Stranger, First impressions, Judgement, Embracing similarities
Opening: “I am a bird. Every morning I fly like a bird on Daddy’s bike. “
I am a bird. Ca-caw! Ca-caw!
Each morning, a little girl and her dad ride their bike to school. As they twist and turn through the city streets, the little girl sings her bird song for all to hear. But when the girl sees the strange woman in blue carrying her mysterious bag, she goes quiet until the woman is out of sight.
One day, when the little girl and her dad are running late, the girl discovers what the woman in blue does with her bag each morning. The surprising revelation transforms the girl’s fear of the stranger into a kinship to be celebrated.
Why I like this book:
Hope Lim’s heartfelt story has a big message for young children about first impressions. From the booster seat of her dad’s bike, the little girl flaps her arms and pretends she is flying. She sings to the birds and waves to the neighbors. But when she passes a women in blue, the little girl feels uneasy about her. The woman doesn’t smile or wave like the other neighbors. The girl wonders what she’s up to. And remarks, “Daddy, I don’t like her.” The story encourages readers to look beyond their fear and differences and finds similarities.
Hyewon Yum’s colored pencil and gouache illustrations capture the beauty of a coastal town and the girls’ uneasiness. Yum’s depiction of the girl’s body language is priceless as she shows the little girl’s tight grip on her father’s shirt tales or hugging his back as they ride past the woman. There is worry is in the girl’s eyes. Yum also shows the joy on the girl’s face when she finally discovers what the woman does everyday. How quick we are to judge, make assumptions about people we see on the street.
Resources: Take a walk through a park with your child and talk about the people you pass along the way. Without judgement, try to imagine something positive about the people you pass. We are all so very different and it is our differences that make life interesting. Teachers may want to talk about differences and ask each child to say something about themselves that others don’t know.
Hope Lim is a debut children’s book author with a BA in English literature as well as an MA in conference interpretation. She got the idea for this book form her reactions to seeing a stranger in the park on her daily runs, then combined that idea with the joyful birdcalls her daughter made while biking to school with her father. Born and raised in South Korea, Hope Lim now lives with her family in San Francisco.
Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.
*Review copy provided by Candlewick Press in exchange for a review.