The Triumphant Tale of the House Sparrow

Thornhill, Jan. The Triumphant Tale of the House Sparrow. Toronto: Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press, 2018.
For over 100 years, little brown house sparrows have been at home here in British Columbia. They enjoy living near people, near a steady supply of food. So it is not surprising that over 10,000 years ago, when people started settling down and growing grain in the Middle East, sparrows started settling down, too, making their homes inside human dwellings. As human settlements spread, the house sparrow travelled along until now it can be found almost all around the world.
Jan Thornhill, acclaimed Canadian author and illustrator, tells the story of this lowly bird in a fascinating and exquisite picture book accompanied by a world map, a life cycle chart, a glossary, a list of other wild animals that live near people, and a list of related websites. Too detailed to be a read-aloud but highly recommended for curious readers – 11 years old and up – as a book to not only borrow but buy!

More sophisticated picture books for older readers

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A fable…

“Pride and foolishness often roost on the same branch.”

Moniz, Michael. The Cardinal and the Crow. Vancouver, B.C.: Simply Read Books, 2014.
Lonely old Crow is constantly mocked for his appearance, especially by young Cardinal. When Cardinal is caught by a cat, though, it is Crow who rescues him through trickery. Inspired by an Aesop’s fable, this picture book with gently evocative illustrations will appeal to readers 5 to 14 years old. 

More fables

“Persuasion is often more effectual than force.”

“Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.”

“It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds.”

Birdwatching

Yolen, Jane. On Duck Pond. Apex, N.C.: The Cornell Lab Publishing Group, 2017.
Herons. Egrets. Blackbirds. And seven species of ducks. Rabbits and squirrels. Raccoons and deer. Bullfrogs and turtles. And dragonflies. All are waiting to be discovered in the delicate illustrations by Bob Marstall. Young readers will enjoy the rhyming text by Jane Yolen, author of over 350 books. Older readers will appreciate the additional information at the end of the book by the Cornell Lab. Recommended for ages 4 to 14. [Ponds; Sound; Stories in rhyme] 

More stories in rhyme

Valerio, Geraldo. My Book of Birds. Toronto: Groundwood/House of Anansi Press, 2016.
Over thirty different species of North American birds are cleverly illustrated with collages and briefly described in this beautiful nonfiction book. A glossary, bibliography, and index are included, and an egg and a feather for each bird are depicted on the endpapers. Recommended for artistic readers of all ages. [Birds]

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A story of kindness

Spirin, Gennady. Martha. New York: Philomel Books, 2005.
This is the story of an injured bird who was rescued by a young boy on a cold snowy day. She could have died but instead she was given a home. And one day she was ready to fly again. The beautiful flow of the sentences in this story and the exquisite watercolour illustrations create a sense of timelessness. A sense that the story happened in the past but is still living on in the memories of the people who rescued the bird that could not fly.
This true story set in Moscow tells how Martha the crow became part of the author’s family for a brief time long ago. Highly recommended as a book to buy for animal lovers of all ages. 

“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain

More picture book memoirs HERE

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.” – Emily Dickinson