By Zetta Elliott
Illustrated by Shadra Strickland

Hardcover: out of stock

Paperback: $12.95


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.

Introduce philosophy to children with this book module featuring Bird from Teaching Children Philosophy, a web resource created by Dr. Thomas Wartenberg and his Philosolphy for Children course at Mount Holyoke College to support philosophical discussions with young children.

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

Thumb_thumb Zetta Elliott - Author

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 or at her blog, Fledgling.

Thumb_thumb Shadra Strickland

is the illustrator of several children's books including Lee & Low's Bird, winner of the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award and the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent in Illustration. Along with illustrating and writing stories, Strickland loves to make drawings during her travels around the country and the world. She lives in Baltimore, where she also teaches illustration at Maryland Institute College of Art. Her website is