Birdsong, by Julie Flett is a beautiful tale of multigenerational friendship and life changes told through the eyes of a child. The illustrations, also by Flett, enable the reader to feel the tenderness between the characters and to experience their journey of friendship and art, together, through the seasons.
Julie Flett is a Cree Métis award winning author and illustrator and the students love her work. We love her illustrations and we especially enjoy her work with Monique Gray Smith, one of our favorite authors. Birdsong is just one of the many books that we have been enjoying by indigineous Canadian authors. We appreciate Julie Flett and all of the “own voice” authors who teach us about their communities and selflessly share their life experiences, wisdom, culture and art with us. Our classroom libraries would not be complete without their books.
I read Birdsong to my class with some students present and some virtual. Here is what they had to say:
- This story is about the circle of life
- Even though this story was melancholy at times, I was glad for their friendship
- It is a great book to relate to if you have a friend who moves or grows weak
- I had a lot of empathy for the characters
- I loved seeing the Cree words
- It is a great book
- I loved the pictures
Like Julie Flett, I am always amazed at what students take away from a story, and Birdsong is no exception. I purposefully let the students experience the story without my perspectives and commentary; I truly wanted to see what they would glean from the text and the pictures. They had great insight into what made this story special to them and they made connections that were thoughtful and personal. It was wonderful just to let them enjoy a story without analyzing every picture or every word to find the many layers of meaning. The students proved that they could do that all on their own and THAT is the best way to enjoy this story, just let it be.