About this book
The Bird in Me Flies
Sara Lundberg • B.J. Epstein
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.
About the Creators
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.
B.J. Epstein is a writer, editor and translator. She is also a Senior Lecturer in the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. A native of Chicago, she now makes her home in Norwich, UK.
Awards and Praise
Praise from Sweden:
“A beautiful, vital children’s book about art and life, which inspires its readers to dare to follow their own bird wherever they want.”— August Prize Jury
“The Bird in Me Flies is a perfect refrain for a young rebel. (...) The greater story is about following one’s heart.”— Gunilla Brodej, Expressen
“… a piece of (women’s) history for the youngest, but executed in a fashion of high artistic originality — never preachy or stilted. The illustrations are incredibly beautiful … The language is poetic and lovely, and full of implicit sorrow and longing … This is children’s literature at its finest.”— Ida Therén, writer and cultural critic, ETC
“This book shouldn’t be missed, by neither children nor adults …” Västerbottens-Kuriren