Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘syrian-refugee’

A “graceful, even uplifting book” says The New York Times of My Beautiful Birds

Posted on May 15th, 2017 by pajamapress

mybeautifulbirds_website“If you’ve been wondering how to present the refugee crisis to children without losing faith in humanity, take a look at this graceful, even uplifting book. Del Rizzo’s stunning dimensional art, made mostly of clay, can’t help feeling playful, and the story brims with hope.”

Click here to read the full review

My Beautiful Birds is a “beautifully illustrated book with such a heartwarming story” says @allbookedupnow

Posted on March 28th, 2017 by pajamapress

mybeautifulbirds_websiteMy Beautiful Birds written and illustrated by @suzannedelrizzo and published by @pajamapressbooks. This is a beautiful story about Sami and his family fleeing home and headed to a refugee camp….This is such a beautifully illustrated book with such a heartwarming story….Stories like these remind me how blessed I am that my children have food, clothing and shelter and don’t have to worry about adult responsibilities at such young ages. Suzanne was inspired to write this story after reading an article about a little boy who found peace with wild birds at a refugee camp in Syria….”

Read the full review on the @allbookedupnow Instagram account

My Beautiful Birds “is a stunning tool to teach children about what goes on in the world outside their own backyards” says Canadian Children’s BookNews

Posted on March 17th, 2017 by pajamapress

mybeautifulbirds_website“Every year, more and more families find themselves forced to flee their homes and relocate. Recently, this has become more relevant than ever with the war in Syria displacing hundreds of thousands of families to nearby countries and refugee camps. My Beautiful Birds tells the story of a family escaping Syria from the perspective of a little boy named Sami….

This is a wonderful story for all children, as learning about the growing-up experiences of others is always helpful. The book would be especially useful, however, for children who are going through major life changes themselves. It contains not only lessons on relocation and moving, but also on making new friends, acclimatizing to new environments, moving on from the past, and much more!

Suzanne Del Rizzo weaves the story together beautifully with the help of her own illustrations…The images are multi-dimensional and seem to almost jump off the page. They are extremely captivating and add even more depth to the already engaging story that accompanies them. In addition to all of its many amazing aspects, My Beautiful Birds is a stunning tool to teach children about what goes on in the world outside their own backyards.”

Read the full review on page 29 of the Spring 2017 issue of Canadian Children’s BookNews

My Beautiful Birds “provides a window into the life of a refugee while also being a pleasure to read” says Resource Links

Posted on March 6th, 2017 by pajamapress

mybeautifulbirds_website“…With its elegant prose and beautiful clay illustrations, this book tells a timely story through the voice of a Syrian refugee. It is important to provide readers with perspectives different than their own, and this book may be particularly relevant for Canadian readers due to the influx of Syrian refugees into Canada.

My Beautiful Birds is a very well-executed book that provides a window into the life of a refugee while also being a pleasure to read.

Thematic Links: Syrian Refugees; Birds
—Alice Albarda

Read the full review on page 5 of the February 2017 issue of Resource Links

A great review for My Beautiful Birds from Geo Librarian

Posted on February 24th, 2017 by pajamapress

mybeautifulbirds_website“[Sami] can’t bring himself to get involved in school or even playing games with the other children, until he discovers that beauty can be found in even the most discouraging circumstances.

I think my favorite thing about this book though are the gorgeous illustrations. Using…polymer clay, and other mixed media Del Rizzo has created illustrations that really pop out at you. The story itself really touched my heart…here we have a young boy who has lost his home, his pets, pretty much his whole world, and he grieves the loss, but when new birds fly into his life, he finds a reason to rejoice despite his humble circumstances.”

Click here to read the full review

My Beautiful Birds is “A stunning offering for libraries wishing to add to their collection of hopeful yet realistic refugee tales” says School Library Journal

Posted on February 24th, 2017 by pajamapress

mybeautifulbirds_website“…While walking one day, Sami realizes that the sky he sees from camp is the same sky as in Syria and that if his pigeons were strong enough to fly, they might be strong enough to survive. Will this insight allow Sami to open up and accept the new friends that might come his way? Or will the refugee camp be nothing more than a segue between two pieces of his life? Exquisite dimensional illustrations using Plasticine, polymer clay, and other media bring a unique, lifelike quality to the page, enriching Sami’s story to its fullest potential when paired with the often lyrical prose. VERDICT A stunning offering for libraries wishing to add to their collection of hopeful yet realistic refugee tales.”
—Brittany Drehobl, Eisenhower Public Library District, IL

Read the full review in the March 2017 issue of School Library Journal

CM Magazine admires the “outstanding artwork” in My Beautiful Birds

Posted on February 8th, 2017 by pajamapress

mybeautifulbirds_website“Suzanne Del Rizzo both wrote and illustrated My Beautiful Birds. The illustrations are mixed media, including plasticine, polymer clay, and acrylic. The plasticine and clay provide colourful yet dimensional illustrations to accompany the story. Two of my favourite illustrations are the powerful images of Sami’s painting of his beloved pigeon becoming covered in black smears, and, on the following page, the clouds in the purple and pink sky transforming into birds.

The topics of Syria and the refugee crisis are so timely and important that I’m very pleased Pajama Press has produced a picture book to address not only the topics but also the human emotions around them….written in simple words, My Beautiful Birds is very poetic with a significant amount of depth and symbolism….The outstanding artwork, along with the multi-faceted themes, would give older elementary readers much to discuss and explore.

Because of its timely content and poignant illustrations, My Beautiful Birds is a worthwhile purchase for home, school, and public libraries.”
Dr. Kristen Ferguson

Click here to read the full review

My Beautiful Birds is highly praised by Youth Services Book Review

Posted on February 8th, 2017 by pajamapress

mybeautifulbirds_websiteWhat did you like about the book? Sami, a recent Syrian refugee, explores his very powerful, personal perspective of the pain, healing and hope of his resettlement ordeal. Suzanne Del Rizzo’s incredible attention to each detail in the story line, dialogue and exceptionally detailed polymer clay and acrylic art work of the landscape and living conditions, beautifully combines to allow the reader to absorb the profound emotional loss that Sami has experienced and continues daily. The hopeful symbolism of reconnecting with his beloved birds begins his self-healing process that takes flight in the community and spreads as he welcomes his newest refugee friend. I appreciated that the book did not explain, blame or discuss any political themes, leaving these questions outside Sami’s innocent mind, allowing him to focus on reality, humanity and survival. I hope this book inspires others to realize the daily plight of refugees. I appreciated the “Author’s Note” on the last page that simply outlined facts about the refugee crisis, sadly noting that half of those displaced are innocent children like Sami.

Anything you didn’t like about it? NO, it was well thought out and executed beautifully.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Everyone that works in any small way for social justice and peace, parents that want to expose and inspire young children to social justice issues, ministers, religious education teachers., community organizers.”
Diane Neylon

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Pickle Me This says My Beautiful Birds helps us to “recognize the humanity common to all of us”

Posted on February 8th, 2017 by pajamapress

mybeautifulbirds_website“In Suzanne Del Rizzo’s picture book, My Beautiful Birds, a young Syrian boy is forced to leave his wartorn home and make the long journey to the relative safety of a refugee camp. The story is enlivened by Del Rizzo’s plasticine illustrations with their rich purple and golden hues. Of all the things that Sami has left behind, it’s his pigeons he misses the most, the birds he fed and kept and as pets….Where he finds solace, though, is in the sky, one thing that is familiar to him, ‘wait[ing] like a loyal friend for me to remember.’ In the clouds, he sees the shapes of his birds: ‘Spiralling. Soaring. Sharing the sky.’”

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Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast gives a positive review to My Beautiful Birds

Posted on February 8th, 2017 by pajamapress

mybeautifulbirds_website“Coming to shelves in March is Suzanne Del Rizzo’s My Beautiful Birds (Pajama Press), a new book specifically about Syrian refugees. Rendered in bright and textured polymer clay and acrylic, it’s the story of a boy named Sami, leaving his Syrian home (with a sky full of smoke) to escape war….

Del Rizzo writes in an arresting first-person, present-tense voice, the story coming straight from the boy’s point of view and giving us a glimpse into his inner turmoil….In a closing author’s note, she summarizes the plight of Syrian refugees, singling out the work of the United Nations Refugee Agency. In her bio, she notes what prompted this story — reading about a boy who “took solace in a connection with wild birds at the Za’atari refugee camp” in Jordan and being struck by “the universality of a child’s relationship to animals.”

Click here to read the full review