My Words Flew Away Like Birds

Debora Pearson
Shrija Jain

A poetically told immigration story that fosters understanding and beautifully articulates how the desire to belong and the need for human connection are universal.

A little girl learns some words in a new language to prepare for her move to a new country. But when she, her mother and her father arrive, “all her words fly away like birds.” The girl waits, and watches, and listens, trying to figure things out. Only, it's hard. Then one day the girl meets someone who needs her help. And as she makes a new friend, she finds that the new words start to come easier --- becoming her words, at last.

Beautifully written in engaging and accessible free verse, this poignant story offers a powerful lesson in empathy for children everywhere. The story is inspired by the many newcomer families Debora Pearson has met in her work as a children's librarian in a bustling urban center. Both timely and universal, it provides young children with an opportunity to expand their worldview and be inspired by how the heroine prevails and finds connection. Shrija Jain's simple, whimsical illustrations add playfulness and warmth to the narrative. A perfect read-aloud, this sweet and sensitive picture book encourages all children to celebrate inclusion and highlights the character education traits of resilience, kindness and empathy. There are links here to social studies lessons on community, global awareness and cultural awareness.

978-1-5253-0318-0 | Oct 5, 2021
List Price: USD $17.99, CAD $19.99
4-color 8 x 10 1/2 40 pages
Grades: Pre-K To 3 / Ages: 4 to 8
978-1-5253-0939-7 | Oct 5, 2021
List Price: USD $9.99, CAD $9.99

Awards & Reviews

“A frank and optimistic picture book about learning to live in a new language.”
— Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review, June 2021
“Jain contributes doodle-like pen and ink artwork ... in this approachable, empathic tale.”
— Publishers Weekly, November 2021
“... demonstrates the complexities and meanings found within language and how difficult that can be to understand.”
— School Library Connection, November 2021
“This picture book will also be a great resource for young children who have immigration experience as it allows them to see themselves and know that they are not alone.”
— CM Magazine, January 2022
2022 - Outstanding International Books List, USBBY, Joint winner

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