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The Conference of the Birds

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  122 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Late one moonless night in a far corner of the world there gathered a large flock of birds. They gathered in sorrow, since they had been, for so very long, deprived of a king.

Thus begins the magical adventure of these wayfaring birds. With encouragement from their wise guide, the hoopoe bird, they overcome fears, physical handicaps, and their own inner weakness in order to
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 16th 2012 by Wisdom Tales
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Average rating 4.29  · 
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Aug 13, 2012 added it
This is a beautifully illustrated and unsophisticated version of the philosophical religious poem based on a thirteenth century Sufi parable by Attar and re- written for young people. I could not get through the stuffy translation I've had for years, and always wondered just what this book is about. Ms Lumbard extracts the essence of the book and creates a poetic tale of beauty and truth. What a lovely way to get across to youngsters (and, in fact, anyone) to look inside to find their true selve ...more
Sherry Schwabacher
This beautiful adaptation of an 800-year-old Sufi poem is an inspiring story of the adventures of a flock of wayfaring birds in search of their king. It has tales of overcoming fear, physical hardship, and inner limitations. I've read this aloud to both children and adults with great response. ...more
Dec 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Conference of the Birds Retold by Alexis York Lumbard Illustrated by Demi

This is a beautiful children’s book of faith and belief. A work of Persian Sufi poetry that is said to be "the most outstanding of these works is the Mantiq al-Tayr (translated usually as The Conference of the Birds) by Farid al-Din Attar, the 12th century Persian Poet who is one of the greatest figures in the history of Sufi poetry..."
My son was engrossed in the story and asked questions about a lot of the lessons. He
Aug 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this book with my dad, and we both really felt moved by it. In an age of media saturation, there is very little that takes deep spiritual lessons and conveys them through beauty in a way that resonates regardless of one's age or creed. I hope that the author produces more books like this and that others will be inspired by them and inspired to follow her lead in their own creative and spiritual pursuits. ...more
Mas'ud Khan
Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderfully abridged and illustrated edition of this classic text of Islamic spirituality. This book can be enjoyed by both children and adults and an ideal book to read together with your children. It is one of those books that your can read and re-read without it ever getting boring or tired.

A must for every Muslim household and bibliophiles everywhere!
Paul  Hankins
Some philosophical and religious themes within this gorgeous adaptation. The borders of each illustration are the birds depicted within this tale that serves as a path to deeper understanding and enlightenment.
Vidya Tiru
Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Retold by Alexis York Lumbard, illustrated by Demi,
Wisdom Tales,
44 pages
Bright, colorful, detailed illustrations of the birds provide a vibrant setting for this retelling of Mantiq al-Tayr (translated as ‘The Conference of the Birds’), a Persian book of poems by Farid ud-Din Attar.
The birds have all gathered in despair – they do not have a leader to guide them. The wise hoopoe informs them of a king and inspires them to join her on a quest to meet the king. Through their journey, they discover a
The minute I realized this book was illustrated by Demi, I knew it would be beautiful. And it is, very much so. I loved looking at the beautiful drawings/paintings, the rich colors with the intricate borders are typical Demi. What amazed me about this was the detail. On the borders of drawing Demi shows the movements of a particular kind of bird. The time and effort this must have taken in learning how birds move and fly. Her illustrations are always so delicate looking, yet stunning, I almost w ...more
When a flock of birds gathers together, they are distressed because they have no ruler, and they're worried about possible turmoil. But one special bird, the hoopoe, reassures the others, telling them about King Simorgh the Wise, and convincing them to make the hard journey to meet this king. Most of the birds are excited to go, but the duck is hesitant at first, and once they are traveling, the parrot is loaded down with too much jewelry, the owl belittles the finch, the partridge grows impatie ...more
Aug 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was planning to read Farid Attar's The Conference of the Birds, but looking at the various edition saw this one and couldn't resist getting it for my bird-loving six-year-old. It turned out to be a very timely and poignant read as our family is about to embark on a long journey, which I suspect will be very challenging emotionally and will change all of us. Hopefully the lessons raised in this parable will help as to recognize our own limitations, to face obstacles and to be kind and helpful t ...more
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Beautifully illustrated and a joy to read. My fpur year old son loved it too and asked questions at nearly every page. At times the language was a bit too majestic for a child so I had to put it in more simpler terms for my son but this book is much better than most of the Islamic children's books that are available. ...more
Sep 14, 2012 rated it liked it
This book was not at all what I expected. It was very sweet, and I loved the message. I know a lot of people at our library that would enjoy this book. (I won this books as a giveaway on Goodreads.)
Cheriee Weichel
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
OMG, this book is absolutely stunning.
I recently read Peter Sis' adaptation of this poem and didn't think anything else could possibly compare. I was wrong. Demi's birds are elegantly splendid. The golden borders on each page are lavishly spectacular. The prose is much more accessible and straight forward than Peter Sis' version, although both are beautiful to read.
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Absolutely gorgeous, and a well-told adaptation for children of this famous tale. Helpful introduction and bit of context for adults. I turned to this for a brief refresher when reading G. Willow Wilson's wonderful new novel The Bird King. Highly recommend that book too for adults fans of this story! ...more
Safoora Nazeer
Oct 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such a beautiful and inspiring children’s book. I can say that it’s such a treat to look at and get some inspiration from for the adults as well, with the beautiful illustration and simple yet succinct poetic translation by the very talented Rabiah Lumbard and illustrated by Demi.
Highly recommended for any Muslim children’s library/ home book shelf.
Lydia Mills
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Cute and memorable Allegory about some of the unhelpful Attitudes that might halt us in our personal life.

Certainly upon reflection we might remember or realise a state we were in similar predicaments to each of the representative birds, and how a little Hope and Humility goes a long way.
Feb 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Demi's illustrations are magical, but I was disappointed by the text--the poetry has been silenced. ...more
Jun 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful book
Dec 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
My family and I read this book together as soon as our copy arrived. Between the four of us- ages 52, 48, 22 and 17- we were all deeply moved and left with wonder by the end. The illustrations and the text complemented each other perfectly, with majesty, profundity and simplicity. Alexis York Lumbard has not only truly grasped the essence of Attar's timeless poem, she has provided parents and teachers a fantastic way of teaching its universal spiritual values to children. Coupled with Demi's bre ...more
Dec 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm ambivalent, for this should be rated 5 stars as a parable for young children, read to by parents or teachers, with excellent appealing colored illustrations by Demi. Yet it almost totally lacks the moral, ethical, inner feeling that must be in the 13th century original by Attar, and thus should be rated as 3 stars. Consequently the compromise is 4 stars. Reading the forty pages is easy and charming, the setting is fine, yet this "retelling" seems to lack the message to have faith and courage ...more
Nov 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is indeed a beautiful work of art; expertly crafted with concise wording, a deeper meaning, gorgeous illustration, and a great poem to build off of.

This book is easily enjoyed by children and the adults reading it to them, or just as a quick read for adults. There is some beautiful meanings to be extracted from it.
In order to complete a difficult journey, the duck must not procrastinate, the parrot must give up his heavy jewels, the finch must be courageous despite its small size, the partridge must not be impatient, and the hawk must let go of his need to finish first.
Dec 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
A very different telling of this epic poem. Demi's luscious drawings and Seyyed's delicate poetry tell the story of the birds journey to find the great king.

Peter Sis' version is worth comparing.
Sep 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Illustrations are simply stunning. The retelling is thoughtful and moving. Inspirational offering that would make a wonderful gift for people of all faiths and ages.
Laura Phelps
Sep 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: possiblemsba2012
Gorgeously illustrated by Demi, this is a modern, shortened and simplified translation of a 12th century Sufi parable. Beautiful in both text and illustration!
Oct 02, 2012 rated it liked it
The illustrations were spectacular.
Nov 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
A simple, beautiful retelling of an ancient story. The illustrations are lovely as well, though this comes as no surprise when Demi is the illustrator.
Borrowed this not realizing that it was a religious lesson. Meh.
Apr 24, 2013 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2013-new
Davoud Taghavi
Jun 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Not sure what I was more enchanted by: the art or the spiritual journey it narrates
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Alexis York Lumbard aka Rabiah York Lumbard is an American Muslim children’s book writer whose debut picture book, The Conference of the Birds with illustrations by renowned artist Demi (Wisdom Tales Press, Sept. 2012), is a contemporary retelling of the classic Islamic work by the 13th century poet Farid ad-Din Attar. Her most recent picture book, The Gift of Ramadan, is a heart-centered approach ...more

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“Soar on to the King, the crown jewel,
And then you'll truly see
That nothing is as beautiful
As His grand Majesty.”
“He's the King of all the heavens
And all found here below.
To Him, your hearts are like this lake
Reflecting in His glow.”
More quotes…