Illustrated by: Enjin Kim Neilan
Published by: Boyds Mills Press 2009
Ages: 7 – 9 years
Theme: kindness, karma, paying it forward
Opening Lines: It was early morning, and the sun had just risen round and red as a parasol. The earth under Mai’s toes was cool, but the sun’s first rays cast a warm, golden glow on pagoda eaves. Mai looked for the familiar cage of sparrows for sale by the temple gates.
Synopsis: From Amazon – When you do a good deed, it will come back to you. Mai loves feeding the caged birds near the temple but dreams that one day she’ll see them fly free. Then she meets Thu and shares the joy of feeding the birds with her. This sets a chain of good deeds in motion that radiates throughout her village and beyond. Set in Vietnam, Roseanne Thong’s inspiring story, an Asian-Pacific American Librarians Association Honor Book, is elegantly illustrated with watercolor on wood by Eujin Kim Neilan.
Why I like it: This is a beautiful warm story of beginning a cycle of doing good deeds. Written to illustrate the Buddhist philosophy of karma, the lesson of this simple story, that helping others is helpful to you, is universal. A little girl wishes she could free some caged birds, invites another child to help feed them. The second girl gives her red slippers to another with an injured foot, and so the cycle goes until it comes back to the birds. The beautiful warm, gold, orange and reds of watercolour illlustrations on wood, yes wood, sets the story in Vietnam. Roseanne is known for her multicultural themed stories, and from the dramatic cover to the simple refrain she teaches us the value of kindness. As one reviewer on Amazon put it; Children and adults will do well to be reminded that it is important to practice “random acts of kindness” and that this behavior will be rewarded, eventually, in some way. Creating a culture of kindness has never been needed more than it is today.
Roseanne spent fifteen years teaching and writing in Asia and trips to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Burma have inspired most of her award winning stories such as Red is the Dragon, Round Is a Mooncake, One is a Drummer, Wish, Gai See; What You Can See in Chinatown, The Wishing Tree among others. Enjin is also the illustrator of Imagine a Dragon by Laurence Pringle and many others was born in Korea now lives in Natick, Massachusetts.
“Fly free, fly free, in the sky so blue. When you do a good deed, it will come back to you”
Findings/Resources” Here is Roseanne’s website… http://www.greenfield-thong.com/
Youtube Read aloud…. http://www.schooltube.com/video/ccc4b3bac51f4fd9ae2c/Fly%20Free!
Here are some random acts of kindness kids can do… http://www.eatsleepbe.com/2012/02/acts-of-kindness-for-kids/
Love the acts of kindness activities here… http://www.kidactivities.net/category/random-acts-of-kindness.aspx
I’m so pleased to be able to bring you some more special books that have come my way and be able to share them with you and join other great writers over at Susanna’s Blog, where there are literally hundreds of book reviews to view. So pop over and visit the lovely author, Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books. Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with books reviewed by many authors.