Coverart for item
The Resource Bird, by Zetta Elliott ; illustrated by Shadra Strickland

Bird, by Zetta Elliott ; illustrated by Shadra Strickland

Label
Bird
Title
Bird
Statement of responsibility
by Zetta Elliott ; illustrated by Shadra Strickland
Creator
Contributor
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
Bird, an artistic young African American boy, expresses himself through drawing as he struggles to understand his older brother's drug addiction and death, while a family friend, Uncle Son, provides guidance and understanding
Award
  • Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award, 2009.
  • John Steptoe Award for New Talent, Illustrator Category, 2009.
  • West Virginia Children's Choice Book Award, 2011.
  • ALA Notable Children's Book, 2009
Review
  • Gr. 2-5 In this beautiful picture book for older readers, Elliott and Strickland tell a moving story in spare free verse and clear mixed-media pictures of an African American boy who loves to draw. At first Bird's mentor is his older brother, Marcus, a graffiti artist. Then Marcus becomes a junkie who is eventually kicked out of their home. Drug use among family members is a reality for some young people, but it is rare to find books for the age group that reflect that experience. Marcus' need for "a fix" and his eventual death are both handled with subtlety: "Marcus never got better. After the funeral, Granddad went to bed." Bird's elderly friend, Uncle Son, keeps the young artist strong and tells him a story from slavery times of the people in chains who could fly when their spirits broke free. The spacious scenes of the boy beneath birds soaring high above the city streets echoes what Bird discovers: that art can inspire, comfort, and elevate. Pair this with Virginia Hamilton's The People Could Fly (1985). -- Rochman, Hazel (Reviewed 11-01-2008) (Booklist, vol 105, number 5, p54)
  • Gr 1–5— An urban African-American boy transcends the loss of loved ones with help from a caring elderly mentor and from the sustaining ability to create art. Bird looks back and remembers his once-admired older brother Marcus's slow descent into drug addiction, expulsion from the family home, and ultimate death—a death that ostensibly led to the decline and death of his beloved grandfather as well. Wise Uncle Son picks up where Granddad leaves off and becomes the steadying and inspiring influence in Bird's life as he learns not only the hard lesson that, "You can't fix a broken soul," but also to look to the future with confidence. Despite the plainspoken, accessible language, the author's flashback structure may not be as successful with this audience as a more linear story arc. The illustrations, rendered with a delicate touch in watercolor, gouache, charcoal, and pen, emphasize the textual theme of resilience in adversity, even while Marcus's appearances are often shrouded in a palette of grays. Bird's own pencil drawings of city life and the repetition of Marcus's symbolic bright cap add interest and meaning to the visual narrative. From a first-time author and illustrator comes a sad truth of contemporary life successfully leavened with hopeful optimism.—Kate McClelland, Perrot Memorial Library, Old Greenwich, CT --Kate McClelland (Reviewed October 1, 2008) (School Library Journal, vol 54, issue 10, p108)
  • In a promising debut for both Elliott and Strickland, this picture book tells a poignant story about a boy whose loving family, friends and a gift for drawing help him navigate difficult emotions surrounding the deaths of his grandfather and drug-addicted brother. A complicated weaving of impressive watercolor, gouache, charcoal and ink drawings amplifies the metaphors and action of the poetic text as it combines black-and-white with color. Never straying from believable language in casting Mehkai, the child, as narrator, Elliott skillfully unfolds the sequence of events. Both art and text nimbly play with Mehkai's nickname, Bird, beginning with the image of a shivering bird that, like his brother, seems to be blown away by a gust of wind, and continuing with Uncle Son's attempt to explain the brother's death: “ 'You can fix a broken wing with a splint,/ and a bird can fly again,' he said./ 'But you can't fix a broken soul.' ” The simplicity of the narrative belies the complexity of the themes; it would be a shame if the picture book format discouraged the proper audience from examining the book. Ages 8–12. (Oct.) --Staff (Reviewed October 20, 2008) (Publishers Weekly, vol 255, issue 42, p50)
  • /* Starred Review */ Nicknamed Bird at birth, Mehkai idolizes his older brother Marcus. As they mature, both brothers excel in art. However, Marcus's drug experimentation spirals into an all-consuming addiction. While Bird's drawings are intricate and controlled, Marcus's colorful graffiti sprawls, depicting a bird in flight. Bird's conflicting emotions about Marcus authentically reflect his African-American family's turmoil when his brother dies. His late Granddad's friend responds to Bird's despair with quiet strength: "You can fix a broken wing with a splint / and a bird can fly again / But you can't fix a broken soul." Elliott's sensitivity for her subjects resonates with Strickland's distinctive mixed-media art. Shifting perspectives and colors reflect Marcus's deepening addiction; his signature cap alters accordingly. Off-kilter lines exude the random energy and volatility of an addict. In two powerful double-page spreads, a doorway separates the brothers; Bird, flooded in light, reaches for Marcus, but his brother remains in the darkness. With unusual depth and raw conviction, Elliott's child-centered narrative excels in this debut. (Picture book. 8-12) (Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2008)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
290106
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Elliott, Zetta
Illustrations
illustrations
Index
no index present
Intended audience
AD 720
Intended audience source
Lexile
Interest level
LG
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/minGradeLevel
  • 1
  • 5
Reading level
3.8
http://library.link/vocab/relatedWorkOrContributorName
Strickland, Shadra
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
Study program name
Accelerated Reader AR
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Novels in verse
  • Death
  • Drug abuse
  • Drawing
  • Families
  • African Americans
Target audience
pre adolescent
Label
Bird, by Zetta Elliott ; illustrated by Shadra Strickland
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
1 volume (unpaged)
Isbn
9781600602412
Lccn
2007049039
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations (mostly color)
Stock number
BRO-copy20090311-039
System control number
  • ocn191023770
  • (OCoLC)191023770
  • 200790
Label
Bird, by Zetta Elliott ; illustrated by Shadra Strickland
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
1 volume (unpaged)
Isbn
9781600602412
Lccn
2007049039
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations (mostly color)
Stock number
BRO-copy20090311-039
System control number
  • ocn191023770
  • (OCoLC)191023770
  • 200790

Library Locations

    • Columbus Public LibraryBorrow it
      3000 Macon Road, Columbus, GA, 31906, US
      32.4769285 -84.9441
    • North Columbus Public LibraryBorrow it
      5689 Armour Road, Columbus, GA, 31909, US
      32.528633 -84.953102
Processing Feedback ...