The Bird in Me Flies

The Bird in Me Flies

Written by: Lundberg, Sara
Illustrated by: Lundberg, Sara
Translated by: Epstein, B.J.
ages 9 to 12 / grades 4 to 7

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A prize-winning, illustrated novel in verse about a young girl who dreams of being an artist, inspired by the life of Swedish artist Berta Hansson.

What do you do when it feels impossible to live up to everything expected of you? When the only person who understands you disappears? When you are young and long for something that seems out of reach?

Berta dreams of being an artist, but as a girl growing up in a small Swedish farming village in the 1920s, she has little hope. She finds solace in nature, and in drawing and shaping birds from clay for her mother, the only person who seems to truly understand her. When her mother succumbs to tuberculosis, Berta feels alone, in despair and even more burdened by all the work on the farm. Can she find the courage to defy her father and the social conventions of her time, and fly free?

This beautifully illustrated novel in verse, inspired by the paintings, letters and diaries of Swedish artist Berta Hansson (1910-1994), is a universal story of grief, longing and following your dreams.

Includes an afterword by journalist Alexandra Sundqvist.

Key Text Features
captions
photographs
biographical information

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.7
Analyze how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text (e.g., graphic novel, multimedia presentation of fiction, folktale, myth, poem).

A prize-winning, illustrated novel in verse about a young girl who dreams of being an artist, inspired by the life of Swedish artist Berta Hansson.

What do you do when it feels impossible to live up to everything expected of you? When the only person who understands you disappears? When you are young and long for something that seems out of reach?

Berta dreams of being an artist, but as a girl growing up in a small Swedish farming village in the 1920s, she has little hope. She finds solace in nature, and in drawing and shaping birds from clay for her mother, the only person who seems to truly understand her. When her mother succumbs to tuberculosis, Berta feels alone, in despair and even more burdened by all the work on the farm. Can she find the courage to defy her father and the social conventions of her time, and fly free?

This beautifully illustrated novel in verse, inspired by the paintings, letters and diaries of Swedish artist Berta Hansson (1910-1994), is a universal story of grief, longing and following your dreams.

Includes an afterword by journalist Alexandra Sundqvist.

Key Text Features
captions
photographs
biographical information

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.7
Analyze how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text (e.g., graphic novel, multimedia presentation of fiction, folktale, myth, poem).

Published By Groundwood Books Ltd — May 1, 2020
Specifications 120 pages | 6.75 in x 8.25 in
Written By

SARA LUNDBERG studied at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland, and at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm. She was a painter before she began to focus on picture books. She won the August Prize, Sweden’s highest literary honor, for the original edition of this book, among other awards. In addition to authoring several titles, she has illustrated more than thirty children’s books, including Skriv om och om igen, another August Prize winner. Sara lives in Stockholm, Sweden.

Illustrated by

SARA LUNDBERG studied at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland, and at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm. She was a painter before she began to focus on picture books. She won the August Prize, Sweden’s highest literary honor, for the original edition of this book, among other awards. In addition to authoring several titles, she has illustrated more than thirty children’s books, including Skriv om och om igen, another August Prize winner. Sara lives in Stockholm, Sweden.

Written By

SARA LUNDBERG studied at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland, and at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm. She was a painter before she began to focus on picture books. She won the August Prize, Sweden’s highest literary honor, for the original edition of this book, among other awards. In addition to authoring several titles, she has illustrated more than thirty children’s books, including Skriv om och om igen, another August Prize winner. Sara lives in Stockholm, Sweden.

Illustrated by

SARA LUNDBERG studied at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland, and at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm. She was a painter before she began to focus on picture books. She won the August Prize, Sweden’s highest literary honor, for the original edition of this book, among other awards. In addition to authoring several titles, she has illustrated more than thirty children’s books, including Skriv om och om igen, another August Prize winner. Sara lives in Stockholm, Sweden.

Audience ages 9 to 12 / grades 4 to 7
Reading Levels Fountas & Pinnel Text Level W
Guided Reading W
Key Text Features captions; photographs; biographical information
Common Core CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.7

Short-listed, CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal, 2021

Commended, Mighty Village Spring Book Picks, 2020

Commended, Evanston Public Library, 101 Great Books for Kids List, 2020

Commended, A Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book of the Year, 2021

The text itself is often spare and melancholy, translated beautifully from the original Swedish by Epstein, but it’s also infused with intimacy and familial warmth. The striking illustrations—of gouache, aquarelle, and collage—reflect the emotional journey. STARRED REVIEW

” —Booklist

Melancholy and moving.

” —Kirkus Reviews

Lundberg’s handsome biography of self-discovery remembers an artist who came to know without a doubt who she was meant to be.

” —Publishers Weekly

[I]mpressive. Certainly worthy of discovery.

” —A Fuse #8 Production Blog

A pensive, thoughtful and thought-provoking read.

” —