Posted on May 15th, 2017 by pajamapress
“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.”
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Posted on April 24th, 2017 by pajamapress
“Suzanne Del Rizzo’s My Beautiful Birds articulately conveys the experiences of a child displaced by war in Syria….Intricately detailed and lifelike, the polymer clay and mixed-media illustrations combine with the understated first-person narrative to communicate Sami’s circumstances, heartbreak, and healing process. Through this emotionally accessible story…readers begin to understand Sami’s plight, and to gain awareness and insight into the lives of the many children facing calamity across the globe. An author’s note provides background and a link to resources about the Syrian conflict and the refugee crisis.”
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Posted on April 23rd, 2017 by pajamapress
“My Beautiful Birds, written and illustrated by Suzanne Del Rizzo, is a beautiful book that will help get your child reading….
This is a good book to read to your child as a bedtime story. The way language is used in the book is beautifully poetic, and even soothing….[The language use] will get your child hooked on reading, as they realize that a vivid image can be painted in their head from just a simple line or paragraph. The child won’t be able to wait until the next plot advancement or change in scenery.
…Also, this story tells a tale that could have taken hundreds of pages, and beautifully condenses it into 32 pages.
Which brings us to the stunning clay art pictures….The emotions conveyed in just the pictures alone will further strengthen the picture in your child’s mind that has been depicted by the strong descriptive vocabulary.”
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Posted on March 28th, 2017 by pajamapress
“My 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….”
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Posted on March 17th, 2017 by pajamapress
“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
Posted on February 8th, 2017 by pajamapress
“What 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.”
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Posted on December 27th, 2016 by pajamapress
“With the arrival of Syrian refugee families in many Canadian communities, parents and children alike are charged with trying to understand the harsh experiences these new classmates and neighbours have undergone. The compassionate and beautiful new picture book from Oakville, Ontario, illustrator Suzanne Del Rizzo – the first for which she has created both pictures and text – imagines a Syrian child and his family driven by war into a refugee camp.
While the others settle into the new realities of life in the camp, sensitive Sami is unable to recover, expressing his trauma through grief for the pet pigeons he had to leave behind. He tries to paint a picture of his pigeons, but covers their coloured feathers with smears of black, then tears the painting to pieces. When four wild birds fly into the camp and respond to Sami’s attention, they break through the little boy’s isolation and misery. By the end of the book, Sami has reconnected with life, and is even able to reach out to help a new child arriving at the camp.
Del Rizzo bases her story on an account from the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan of a child finding solace in some wild birds there. She wisely focuses on what Sami sees and feels without trying to explain too much of the context, relying instead on her visuals to provide this information. The first images of the sky over his former home, glowing with flames and explosions, give way to the beauty of the desert skyscapes in which Sami sees the colourful plumage of his beloved birds. These skillful and imaginative illustrations – created with Plasticine, polymer clay, and other media – give a sense of dimension, which is enhanced by striking and unusual perspectives. My Beautiful Birds is a lovely, timely book.”
Read the full review on page 43 of the January/February 2017 issue of Quill & Quire