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Bird (hc)

By Zetta Elliott

Illustrated by Shadra Strickland


Young Mekhai, better known as Bird, loves to draw. With drawings, he can erase the things that don’t turn out right. In real life, problems aren’t so easily fixed.

As Bird struggles to understand the death of his beloved grandfather and his older brother’s drug addiction, he escapes into his art. Drawing is an outlet for Bird’s emotions and imagination, and provides a path to making sense of his world. In time, with the help of his grandfather’s friend, Bird finds his own special somethin’ and wings to fly.

Told with spare grace, Bird is a touching look at a young boy coping with real-life troubles. Readers will be heartened by Bird’s quiet resilience, and moved by the healing power of putting pencil to paper.

Bird, the recipient of Lee & Low's New Voices Award Honor, is the first picture book of both Zetta Elliot and Shadra Strickland.

Booktalk with author Zetta Elliott

Audio Podcast with Zetta Elliott

Video Podcast

Book Trailer

Teacher's Guide

Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent in Illustrations

Ezra Jack Keats Book Award

ALA Notable Children's Book
American Library Association (ALA)

Best Books of 2008
Kirkus Reviews

"Starred Review"
Kirkus Reviews

More awards...
Interest Level
Grades 3 - 8
Reading Level
Grade 3
Art, African/African American Interest, Coping with Death, Family Traditions, Grandparents, Mentors, Siblings, Middle Grade
About the Creators

Zetta Elliott is an accomplished poet, playwright, author, and African American studies scholar. As a young girl she loved to escape into a good book and began writing as a way to create “a world that was better than my own.” Elliott lives in Brooklyn, New York. To learn more about Zetta Elliot, visit her at ZettaElliott.com or at her blog, Fledgling.

Shadra Strickland earned her MFA at New York’s School of Visual Arts in the Illustration as Visual Essay program. She currently freelances as an illustrator and a graphic designer, and uses drawing as a way to interpret her world. Strickland lives in Brooklyn, New York, and can be found on the Web at shadrastrickland.com or at her blog, Living the Dream.

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