It’s always astonished me that tiny birds spend so much of their life making perilous and seemingly unbelievable journeys of migration from north to south and back again, following their age-old instincts to move with the seasons in search of warmth and food. The birds acknowledge no countries, no boundaries and no politics – they make their way to safety and to places they can thrive because that’s what life demands.
For human beings however, migration is a whole other issue. The journey to safety for people is often much more contested and resented and the freedom to find sanctuary is hedged around with barriers of all kinds – practical and political.
In this book Addison and Adreani bring together the story of Bird and of Leila who, in their different ways, have to make the journey of migration just to survive and thrive. As autumn rolls around, Bird heads from the shores of the UK, flying south to the shoreline of North Africa, across the Sahara desert where the young girl, Leila offers Bird the life-giving water it needs to continue its journey to the more verdant grasslands of South Africa.
But soon the African summer is ending and Bird must make his way back north – once again crossing the ever dangerous desert. But this time Bird discovers that his friend Leila is no longer there to help him because she too has been forced to make the perilous journey across the angry sea looking for safety and sanctuary.
Exhausted, Bird eventually finds his way back to Britain and to his amazement he finds himself reunited with his friend Leila!
This is a delicate and touching little tale that packs its powerful message inside a velvet glove. There have been several books of late designed for younger readers that tries to explain the whole migration issue in ways that can be understood at both an intellectual and emotion level. It’s quite hard to find new and different ways to tell the story but this offering manages to do that in a way that avoids preaching or emotional cliché.
The quality of the illustration plays a huge part in the success of the book and the publisher Lantana has done author and illustrator proud with the quality of the production.
Do yourselves a favour – go to their website and order a copy now.
(Click on any image below to view them in a slide show format)