Friday, April 24, 2009

How To Heal A Broken Wing

For the first time in a long time I found myself missing working with small children. Yesterday I came across a new picture book by one of my favorite authors, Bob Graham. If you are not familiar with him I suggest you check out some of his books. All of his books are about modern young families that combine compassion and appreciation of the small things in life in an urban setting. In Jethro Byrd, Fairy Child a child finds a small family of fairies living in the empty lot next to his apartment building. I am one of those people who can see broken glass as fairie dust sparkling on the asphalt and I love that this book teaches children there is magic everywhere even amongst cement and weeds. In Let's Get A Pup Said Kate the family cat dies and the family decides to go and get a dog to fill the cold spot on Kate's bed. The family gets the perfect Pup but how can they leave Rosie, the older sweet dog at the pound? The family is unconventional and realistic. The parents have tattoos and piercings and the house is a bit of a mess. In Oscar's Half Birthday a biracial family set out from the city on a long trek to a grassy spot to celebrate Max's Half Birthday. The story is full of love and is sure to melt your heart.
I was quite pleased to come across How To Heal A Broken Wing as it is a classic example of how wonderful Bob Graham's books are. This is a story about taking some time out of your busy urban life to focus on nature and how hope and compassion can heal. Being a city parent and having a child who has a very big heart when it comes to animals this book touched me deeply. The story begins with a busy urban scene, people in greys hustling on the street talking on cell phones and looking straight ahead. One of the great things about Graham's books are his representation of all people. In the crowd you can find elderly people, woman in burkas and people of all colors. No one noticed the bird that flew into a building and fell to the ground... except for Max. Max is in bright colors standing out from the rest of the dingy city scene. He and his mother take the bird home where Dad helps to make a safe place for the bird to heal. Another great thing about Graham's books are the details he puts in to add depth for the parents reading it to their children. The book doesn't have a lot of words and in the graphic novel like pictures we see Dad lining a box with a newspaper depicting pictures of war. This is subtle but represents how even in times of great difficulty hope can heal. They help the bird to heal with time (we see the calendar squares marked off and the moon change phases) and they return to the street to set him free.
Bob Graham's books are a sweet reminder about the simple things and I suggest reading them with someone, old or young, that you love.