My Beautiful Birds by Suzanne Del Rizzo

Published by Pajama Press

Summary:  Sami knows he is safe in the refugee camp with his family, but he can’t help missing his home in Syria and the pigeons he cared for there.  His memories of his village being destroyed by bombs scare him, and he has trouble joining the groups of children playing and going to school.  Slowly, he learns ways to manage his fears, and he is helped by the arrival of four birds that he adopts as pets.  Taking care of them helps him to focus on the positive things around him, and soon he is happier in his new home.  When he spots a new girl with tears in her eyes, he is able to reach out to her and offer his friendship.  An author’s note tells more about refugee camps where millions of Syrians have been forced to settle.  32 pages; grades K-4.

Pros:  A personal story about a contemporary crisis that gives readers a child narrator they can relate to.  The illustrations, created from polymer clay, are unique and eye-catching.  This would make a great introduction to a discussion of Syria and refugees.

Cons:  Life in the refugee camp appears to be more pleasant than it most likely is.

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