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Birdsong

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  1,006 ratings  ·  209 reviews
When a young girl moves to her new home far away from the sea, she feels lonely and out of place. But soon she meets an elderly woman next door, who shares her love of nature and art.

As the seasons change, can the girl navigate the failing health of her new friend?
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published September 24th 2019 by Greystone Kids
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Average rating 4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,006 ratings  ·  209 reviews


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Calista
Oct 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: quiet children
To me, this is an Ode to Nature. I also love and adore the artwork. I think it's lovely. The writing is so plainly told that I guess the author did that on purpose.

One line that rung my bell was "Its like a poem for my heart" I love that line.

The story is about a Cree mother and daughter who move from the seaside inward to the grassy hilled plains somewhere and there are few people around. The story takes place over a year and we see peeks into Summer, Fall, Winter and then Spring come again.
...more
Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
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 a
...more
Afoma (Reading Middle Grade)
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 publ
...more
Rod Brown
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was ok
Too heavy for what I want in a picture book. Over three seasons, a little girl gets an appreciation of art and nature from the lady next door who is slowly dying of old age. It's nice, though, that the characters and author are of Cree heritage. ...more
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
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
...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.
Amanda Nicholls
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Birdsong by Julie Flett is a recommended book from the American Indians in Children's Literature blog. Is is A Best Book of the Year in Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, and Horn Book, an American Indian Youth Literature Honor title, and a 2020 Boston Globe—Horn Book Award Honor title!
I listened/watched the story being read on Youtube. The quality was not great. The text was difficult to read, but the reader read with expression and fluency. It was obvious she was famili
...more
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
...more
Amy Layton
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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.

Revi
...more
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.
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. ...more
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.
...more
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. 😍
Lata
The whole tone of this book is quiet, and meditative, and a little sad. The illustrations nicely supported the story.
Hope
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Read this at the perfect time. The illustrations are my current aesthetic. Loved it.
Juli Anna
Apr 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Sparse and lyrical, with an enigmatic ending and just the right dose of melancholy. A poignant story of inter-generational friendship. Flett's illustrations are soft, sad, and just a touch abstract. ...more
Christie Angleton
I literally GASPED at the art in this book.
Richie Partington
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picturebooks
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 re
...more
Lindsey
A gorgeous children's picture book by Cree-Metis author and illustrator Julie Flett. It is about a mother and daughter who have moved from their home by the sea to a home in the country and the beautiful relationship the daughter forms with her neighbor, an elderly woman named Agnes who is a gardener and a potter. The daughter is also an artist. The story is so simple I wondered if it would be boring, but my daughter and I were enchanted by the simplicity and sweetness of the story. ...more
Petra Fuentes
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Birdsong By Julie Flett is a historical fiction picture book. I found this title in the suggested digital resources, Debbie Reese's Blog: American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL). Julie Flett is a Cree-Metis author, illustrator, and artist. Throughout the story you will find Cree words which gives the story authenticity to American Indian culture.

This story is about a young girl named Katherena and her mom who move to a new home in the country. Katherena feels very lonely in a strange p
...more
Julian
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I think it's safe to say that this book is as heartwarming for adults as much as it is for children. This #ownvoices book, written and illustrated by Cree-Metis author Julie Flett, is a sad yet comforting read about moving, making a new friend, and eventually losing that friend. I enjoyed that this story showcased a friendship between a little girl and an elderly woman; I think that many younger kids befriend the elder adults in their life and we don't see a ton of that depicted in children's li ...more
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. ...more
Amie
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Stunning. The artistry is just gorgeous. The story itself would probably be better suited for grade 2 and up, however the beautiful relationship between the young girl and her elderly neighbour is very touching.
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.
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.
Michelle
Mar 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very sweet!
Adele
Mar 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Be aware - this book is sad. Melancholy even. I liked the pictures though.
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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 C ...more

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