If You See a Bluebird cover

By Bahram Rahman & Gabrielle Grimard

If You See a Bluebird

For young Ali, a former refugee from Afghanistan, “home” is where his family is together.

Although his family is safe in their new country, Ali finds himself wishing he could go back to Afghanistan. A day spent picking blackberries with Nana reminds him of their old house with the mulberry tree he loved, and the day the soldiers came. He recalls their nighttime flight and the crowded buses and airplane that took him to this beautiful but unfamiliar place. When Ali and Nana spot a bluebird, she tells him to make a wish. Ali wishes to go home, but, as he comes to learn, home is not a place. Home is the love his family has for each other.

In If You See a Bluebird, Bahram Rahman, author of ALA Schneider Family Book Award Honor Book A Sky-Blue Bench, reflects on the experience of former refugees as they learn to adapt and embrace a new country and a new home. Award-winning illustrator Gabrielle Grimard incorporates rich and varied colour palettes to capture Ali’s two worlds.

A story of family togetherness that redefines the meaning of home.

Available In


Ages 5-8
ISBN: 978-1-77278-284-4
List Price: $22.95 CAD / $18.95 USD
Hardback with picture book & reinforced binding & with printed dust jacket
Trim Size: 9.00 x 10.00 inches / 22.86 x 25.4cm
Pages: 32

Publication date: October 17, 2023

Distributed in Canada by University of Toronto Press

Distributed in the U.S. by Ingram Publisher Services

Carton Quantity: 34

About this book


Praise for If You See a Bluebird

49th Shelf Fall 2023 “Most Anticipated Books for Young Readers” Selection

CBC Books “Best Canadian books for Kids & Teens 2023” Selection

CBC Books “45 Picture Books to Check Out This Fall 2023” Selection

FOLD Kids: 2023 Winter Reading List Selection

“Sensitive readers deserve this thoughtful, nuanced tale of loss of safety….Recommended for picture book collections, especially those endeavoring to affirm the challenges faced by children who experience immigration and cultivate empathy among those who have not.”—School Library Journal

“The story thrums with the sadness of places left behind and the danger that forces people to leave….The vivid illustrations demarcate the past and present by contrasting the bright blue skies and rolling green plains of Ali’s new home with the rustic terracotta hues of his homeland. A sweetly sentimental story that places people at the heart of a home.”Kirkus

“After being forced to flee his home in Afghanistan with his family, a boy makes a wish for the fighting to stop so they can return; his grandmother helps him understand that home is not a place but the people you hold in your heart….Urging compassion, this picture book will open up conversations.”—Foreword Reviews

“This lovely, gentle book about refugees from Afghanistan should resonate with anyone who has had to leave their home for a safer place. In short, it’s an effective mirror and a door for understanding war and displacement. The watercolor and digital art provides a soft look to everything, accentuating the current safety of Ali and his family.”Youth Services Book Review ★ Starred Review

“This book comes with a bit of a pedigree…Bahram is, himself, from Afghanistan and his books take their inspiration from that land.”School Library Journal, Fuse 8

If You See a Bluebird is a book that uncovers the meaning of the word home….a story of the refugee experience.”TIME for Kids

“Thoroughly kid friendly…storybook portrayal on the experience of former refugees as they learn to adapt and embrace a new country and a new home….This very special and unique picture book is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections.”—Midwest Book Review-Children’s Bookwatch

If You See a Bluebird is more than a book. It’s an experience. A journey. I would recommend it to anyone who has ever wondered about the true meaning of home. It’s a story that transcends age. It teaches us about love, home, and the strength of the human spirit. For educators, this book could serve as a valuable tool. It introduces children to the experiences of refugees. It fosters empathy and understanding.”—CM Magazine

“Drawing from his own life experience, author Bahram Rahman, once again provides his readers with a heartfelt, genuine, and moving story. Paired with the charming illustrations of Gabrielle Grimard, and told in a simple and heartfelt manner, If You See a Bluebird is a story that will resonate with children and the adults who love them.”CLCD – Children’s Literature

“A good story to share and to discuss what makes you feel safe and at home.”—The International Educator

“Vivid illustrations….An absorbing story of leaving one home and finding another.”Sal’s Fiction Addiction Blog

“Rahman, who is also the author of The Library Bus and A Sky-Blue Bench, has created another beautiful book and shares another important story.”BookTime

“This is another great title…by award winning author of The Library Bus and A Sky-Blue Bench. Inspiring!”—Dr. Larry Recommends

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