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Birdsong

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  312 ratings  ·  66 reviews
A tender, luminous portrait of art, nature, and connecting across generations.

When a young girl moves from the country to a small town, she feels lonely and out of place. But soon she meets an elderly woman next door, who shares her love of arts and crafts. Can the girl navigate the changing seasons and failing health of her new friend? Acclaimed author and artist Julie
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Hardcover, 48 pages
Published September 24th 2019 by Greystone Kids
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Average rating 4.28  · 
Rating details
 ·  312 ratings  ·  66 reviews


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Lisa Vegan
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lisa by: Bobby
This is a lovely book. I love that some Cree words and customs are seamlessly included. I enjoyed the contemplative and thoughtful narrative about the seasons and about aging and loss. I loved that the girl is an artist and I loved the dog. The illustrations are picturesque and they’re beautiful. Perfect book for young children who appreciate making art, gardening, nature, the seasons, and who might be experiencing a loss, whether a move or the decline or even death of a much older person whose ...more
La Coccinelle
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a lovely little picture book that spans the seasons and shows an intergenerational friendship between a little girl and her elderly neighbour.

I'm already a fan of Flett's artwork, having encountered it in My Heart Fills With Happiness, Little You, and We Sang You Home, all of which were written by others. As illustrator and author, Flett takes us on a little journey through the year, showing Katherena and Agnes's friendship develop through the simplest things. Agnes eventually gets ill
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Afoma Umesi
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Birdsong is a gem of a picture book. With minimalist, evocative illustrations of the Canadian countryside, this book is a joy read (or just look at). It highlights the warm friendship between a woman at the end of her life and a young girl. Birdsong is perfect for kids dealing with a move or struggling with the loss of a loved one. It’s also great to inspire anyone who’s ever been in a creative slump.

10/10, would recommend.

Read my full review on my blog.

I received an electronic ARC from the
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Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
A young girl moves to a new home, far from the sea, and is very sad until she meets her new neighbor, an elderly woman, who shares the girl's love for nature and art. The girl's friendship with the woman inspires the girl to do art again in her new home. This is a lovely story of caring for others and the power of friendship to inspire. The art and text are simple and quiet, and the story is told as much through the spaces as in the actual pictures and words. Beautiful.

I am delighted to welcome
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Abby Johnson
Ooh, this one tugs on my heartstrings. With moody, muted illustrations and straightforward text, this is the story of a girl moving to a new home and starting over where she doesn't know anyone. She begins to know her elderly neighbor Agnes who encourages her art and teaches her about gardening. As the seasons pass, Agnes grows weaker until she can't really leave her bed, so the girl takes her drawings and puts them up in her bedroom so Agnes can still see the birds. This is a moving tale about ...more
Amy Layton
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picturebooks
A sweet, calm book,Birdsong features the story of two friends--one old, one young--as the seasons turn and health changes. With Julie Flett's usual illustration style that makes you feel like you're watching the dawn, this book is a beautiful testament to non-traditional friendships and finding beauty even when times are hard. Flett offers a love and recognition of nature and its tranquil effects, suggesting that even as days come to pass, nature will always remain. Great for grades K-3.

Review
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Alissa
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Julie Flett’s illustrations are truly some of the best out there, and they’re only getting better. GORGEOUS. ...more
Angelina
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A real gem of a picture book! A gentle, quiet story about the importance of art, intergenerational friendship, nature and its beauty in all seasons, and ultimately belonging.
Beverly
Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pbf-friends
Lovely intergenerational friendship story. It includes 3 Cree words. Incidentally, one of the subject headings for this book in the catalog was "intergenerational relations." In addition to Horn Book Fanfare, it was also a Kirkus Best Children's Book, a Publisher's Weekly Best Children's Book, a School Library Journal Best Book, and a Nerdy Book Club Award selection.
Elizabeth
This story is a beautiful portrait of intergenerational friendship, community, art, nature, home, and grief. The illustrations are somehow, impossibly, more beautiful than the story. I'm a big fan of Julie Flett, but she has outdone herself here.

Highly recommended.
Kate
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is beautiful inside and out! Any book Julie Flett has her name on is going to be thoughtful, touching, and meaningful.

In Birdsong we meet Katharina a young girl who has a passion for art. She moves with her mother from a house by the ocean to a house in the country. Over the seasons she becomes close with their neighbor Agnes. She is an artist who is ailing, elderly, and reaching the end of her life. It focuses on their friendship, and their shared love of art and nature.

This book
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Andrew
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Birdsong is a soft and sweet story of a young girl, Katherena, moving to a new place with her mother, and the friendship she grows with her elderly neighbor, Agnes. As seasons go by, Katherena and Agnes share stories and bond over birds, gardening, and art. Gorgeous illustrations, and even the sparsest of pages speak volumes in emotion.
Richie Partington
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Richie’s Picks: BIRDSONG by Julie Flett, Greystone Kids, October 2019, 48p., ISBN: 978-1-77164-473-1

“All my life’s a circle
But I can’t tell you why.
Seasons spinning ‘round again;
The years keep rollin’ by.”
-- Harry Chapin (1972)

“When we’re done, Agnes says it’s like a poem for her heart.
Then I sit with Agnes and talk about making things:
mucky things and things with string and song
and paper and words. And then we sit quietly together,
on Agnes’s bed, until it’s time to say goodbye.”

Last week, I
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Darcy
Nov 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Beautiful, tender, slow moving book. Cree representation casually and authentically weaved into the story.
Would be best in one-on-one reading or reading with elementary aged children.
Sarah Nelson
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Here is another beautiful picture book from 2019. A young girl who loves to draw befriends an elderly neighbor who makes clay pots. They share a love of art and nature even as the neighbor's health declines, and it is time to say goodbye. Sad, but comforting, and the illustrations are so soft and warm. Readers will also learn a few Cree words. Lovely.
Peacegal
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Pensive, quiet, and kind meditation on seasons, the passing of time, and a friendship between a young girl and her elderly neighbor.

Veg*n families note: A very brief mention of salmon soup.
Roben
Simply beautiful.
Cheriee Weichel
This book is so wonderful. In the spring a young girl and her mother leave their home by the ocean and move to the country. Agnes, an elderly artist is their neighbour. Across the year the girl connects with Agnes.
This book made me shiver. As an aging old lady myself I’m coming more and more to understand the importance of cross generation friendships.
Tasha
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
In the spring, a girl moves with her mother from their seaside home to one in a field of snowdrops. They have a nearby neighbor who the girl gradually gets to know. When they first move, the girl doesn’t want to draw anymore. She does love to draw and her neighbor also loves to create things, pottery in her case. As the two start talking, the girl starts to think about creating things again. As autumn arrives, the neighbor shows her what she is working on, and the girl shares some Cree names for ...more
Jo Oehrlein
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
A young girl isn't sure about her new home so far away from where she's used to and all her family.

Although she loves to draw, she can't draw now.

As the seasons pass, she becomes friend with the elderly woman next door, Agnes. She helps Agnes garden, she looks at the things Agnes crafts out of clay, she is inspired by the things she sees (both in nature and made from clay) and can draw again.

Agnes gets ill. The girl and her mother take over soup.

In the next season, Agnes is bedridden. The girl
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Lisa
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A young girl and her mother move from the city to a small house out in the country, near an elderly woman named Agnes. Over the course of a year, the young girl helps her neighbor, shares some of her Cree traditions and learns about art and clay from Agnes.

Flett is a great storyteller using minimal text and beautiful pastel illustrations. I love her illustrations! She brings this simple story of an intergenerational friendship to life in such a sweet way.

FOr this and more of my reviews, visit
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Aolund
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Erin
One of my new favorite books about death. A young Katherena has just moved to a new and unfamiliar place. One of the first people she meets, a neighbor, is Agnes. Agnes is an elderly woman who shares her love of flowers and who listens while Katherena shares her own Cree stories and history. Agnes dies during a long winter, and Katherena remains her companion until the end.

Just lovely, with gentle illustrations to match the vibe of the story.
Brooklyn Cribdon (The Wild Library)
I love Julie Flett so much. With Birdsong, she brings her unique illustration style that combines beauty & minimalism and pairs it with a story divided by seasons (beginning and ending with Spring). The story she tells is a sharing of cultures and generations, friendship and goodbyes. Everything about Birdsong is austere in the most beautiful kind of way.
Laura Giessler
Dec 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
A gentle, beautiful, understated book about inter-generational friendship. After an unusually kind gesture of love and friendship, the text reads "And then we sit quietly together, on Agnes' bed, until it's time to say goodbye." Some Cree words are used throughout the story, but it is not the focus of the story. Wouldn't be best as a read aloud.
Brenda Kahn
Moving house is hard. There is so much to miss about the place you are leaving. Slowly, though, the new place becomes home, especially if there is a new friend. In this case, the new friend is an elderly neighbor who shares our mc's love of art. Lovely understated text matches to luscious understated art.
Kelly
A calm book about people getting along. I had one of these older neighbors as a child who was really important in my life, and I'm sure she has passed on by now and I didn't experience that part as we moved neighborhoods when I was young, but it's good to see how this little girl and her elder neighbor got along and found things in common.
Beverly
Read for the Mock Caldecott Awards. A young girl and her mother have to move to a new home far from the sea. At first the young girl,who loves to draw, no longer wants to draw. Things are different and she's sad. Then she meets an older woman who is their neighbor. Their friendship develops and she decides to draw once again.
Barbara
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This is a sweet read for families with children age 5 - 8. Snuggle up, revel in the illustrations, and talk about creating friendships between the old and the young. Author/illustrator Julie Flett is Cree-Metis and has received many awards for her work.
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Julie Flett is a Cree-Metis author, illustrator, and artist. She has received many awards including the 2017 Governor General's Award for Children's Literature for her work on When We Were Alone by David Robertson (High Water Press), the 2016 American Indian Library Association Award for Best Picture Book for Little You by Richard Van Camp (Orca Books), and she is the three-time recipient of the ...more
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