By Awnali Mills
Sami is a Syrian refuge who escapes his burning hometown with his family. Unfortunately he has to leave his beloved birds behind. Heartbroken, he refuses to move on—he doesn’t want to eat, or play, and his heart feels torn to pieces. Will he ever find hope and peace again?
Del Rizzo’s astonishing art drew me to read this book. Her “dimensional illustrations use Plasticine, polymer clay and other mixed media” to create stunning vistas and realistic looking people and birds. The story is beautifully told, and very timely. I can see this book being the basis of great conversations about the war in Syria, the refuge situation, and discussions about how kids would feel if they had to suddenly leave their homes and what they would miss the most.
It’s an easy picture book, but the subject matter may be difficult for younger children. I would definitely use it in an elementary school classroom.