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.
Check out activities and discussion topics for Bird in the Coretta Scott King Book Awards 2009 Discussion Guide created by the 2009 CSK Book Awards Committee.
Inspire a philosophical exchange over Bird with these discussion questions created by the University of Washington Center for Philosophy for Children, which is dedicated to bringing philosophical inquiry into schools.
About the Creators
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.
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.
Reviews & CommentsThis Picture Book Life
Rhapsody in Books
The Crimson Review of Children's and YA Literature
A Day in the Life
North Carolina Best Books
Lindy Reads & Reviews
Christian Library Journal
School Library Journal
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Yana V. Rodgers, Rutgers Department of Women’s and Gender Studies
The Louisiana Advocate
Education Resource Center, University of Delaware
Kirkus Reviews Best of 2008
The Brown Bookshelf
Write for a Reader
Southwest Ohio Libraries
BayViews, Association of Children’s Librarians of Northern California
Lori Calabrese Writes!
Great Kid Books
Ginny Moore Kruse, Emerita Director, CCBC
Horn Book Guide
Books for Keeps
Bureau Country Republican
About This Title
Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent in Illustrations
Notable Children's Book
American Library Association (ALA)
Ezra Jack Keats Book Award
Interest Level:Grades 3 - 8
Reading Level:Grades 3 - 3
Middle Grade, Siblings, Mentors, Grandparents, Families, Coping with Death, African/African American Interest, Art, Empathy/Compassion