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Groundwood Books

Helen’s Birds

Written by Sara Cassidy • Illustrated by Sophie Casson

For students in grades 1 - 4 | Published September 01, 2019 | ISBN 9781773060392
JUVENILE FICTION / Comics & Graphic Novels / General

Cover of Helen’s Birds

Regular price $16.95 CAD

44 pages
Digital Format

About this book

Helen’s Birds

Sara Cassidy • Sophie Casson

From Sara Cassidy, acclaimed author of A Boy Named Queen, comes a stunning wordless graphic novel about friendship, loss and hope.

For as long as Saanvi can remember, she has been friends with her elderly neighbor Helen. They play cards and garden together and, especially, care for the wild birds that visit Helen’s yard. When Helen dies suddenly, a “For Sale” sign goes up, and movers arrive, emptying the house of its furniture and stripping the yard of its birdfeeders. The sparrows and hummingbirds disappear.

Soon a bulldozer tears down Helen’s house. All winter, Saanvi walks numbly past the property as developers begin to build condos. Then one spring day, amid the dust and turmoil of construction, she finds a weathered playing card wedged between two rocks. She holds it to her chest, and finally sobs.

After a tearful night, Saanvi wakes inspired. She slathers peanut butter on pinecones to hang from tree branches, hammers together a birdhouse from scrap wood and drags a kitchen stool outside to hold a bowl of water. Finally, she retrieves a nest that has been unraveling on Helen’s old property and places it in a tree in her own yard. Saanvi’s yard soon fills with Helen’s birds. They have a home again.

This beautifully illustrated, wordless graphic novel shows Saanvi’s journey through close friendship, then hollowing loss and change, until she finally finds hope.

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

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.1
Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.2
Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.

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).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.1
Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

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