Bird Boy

Matthew Burgess, illus. by Shahrzad Maydani. Knopf, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-984893-77-2
In this gentle narrative by Burgess, Nico, a smiling, dot-eyed Black child, does not quite fit in with his new classmates. Nico prefers “watching the insects/ crossing a crack in the blacktop/ like climbers over a mountain pass” to engaging in sports or “standing in huddles, whispering”; when his quiet nature attracts birds, his classmates quickly brand him “Bird Boy” as an insult. Nico initially feels the sting of the moniker before rising above, imagining himself as a variety of avian creatures in different environments: a penguin, a hummingbird, a pelican. And eventually, two classmates warm to Nico’s free-spirited ways. Colored pencil, graphite, and watercolor art mingle in sweet illustrations by Maydani, featuring mostly children of color and a softly colored, layered world. Any reader who has ever felt left out will cheer for Nico as he shows he can be “both a bird and completely, delightfully himself.” Ages 4–8. (July)
Reviewed on : 06/10/2021
Release date: 07/20/2021
Genre: Children's
Book - 978-1-9848-9379-6
Library Binding - 32 pages - 978-1-9848-9378-9
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