Tag Archives: bird picture book

feathers: not just for flying + handmade book craft from avery and augustine

FeathersFeathers: Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart, illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen (2014).

Birds are the only animals with those special plumes. But did you know that feathers have many other functions besides flying? I’d never thought about it before, but this book brings just that to light.


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Feathers keep warm. Feathers cushion like a pillow. They provide shade or float or clean or hide. Feathers are incredible, no?

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Along the way, kid readers will learn a lot about specific kinds of birds, perhaps one or two they’ve seen before in person!


Big thanks to Charlesbridge for images!



When I think of kids books and stylish, beautiful photos, I immediately think of Michelle at Avery and Augustine. And she’s joining me here to share a handmade book craft that has a learning bonus. Over to Michelle!

Feathers Blog 1

Hi, I’m Michelle of Avery and Augustine.  Thank you to Danielle for inviting me to collaborate on this post!  I’m excited to share a simple project to go along with this wonderful book.  My daughter Avery and I made our own little feather book to summarize what she learned from Feathers.  Summarizing is an important academic and life skill that helps children recall the salient information from what they read in their own words and in a way that’s meaningful for them.  This is a skill that they will use time and time again throughout their school years and especially when they hit high school and college.

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To make the book, cut one piece of card stock and several sheets of paper in half, lengthwise.  Fold them in half and punch holes along the fold of your pages (a group of pages is called a signature or section in bookbinding).  We used this Fiskars 1/8 inch circle hand punch tool.  You can also use a regular-sized hole punch to make it easier for young children to do the sewing on their own.

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Cut a piece of yarn and wrap one end of it with tape to make it easier to pull through the holes.  Sew the yarn through the holes of the book, using a simple stitch.  Tie a knot at the top hole of the book, stitch your way down, then stitch your way back up, filling in the blank gaps.  Tie a knot at the last hole to secure the yarn.  Cut out feathers from colored paper (I did it freehand, no template) and attach them to the front of the book.

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When we were done making our book, Avery paraphrased the important points from Feathers and drew pictures for each.  It’s good to practice summarizing books regularly and it gets easier the more you do it!  If you need another reference, a great DIY book tutorial can be found on this blog.

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You can see Michelle’s work and read about her two young children and their first forays in cooking, art, and everything in between at Avery and Augustine.


bird: picture book for the older set

4417990Bird by Zetta Elliott and Shadra Strickland.


This is a book where the illustrations and text go so perfectly together I assumed it was by an author/illustrator. But no, it’s a beautiful collaboration.



Bird is the title of the book, but not just because it’s the nickname of the main character who narrates it.




bird spread 1

(click image(s) to enlarge)

Bird draws a pigeon outside his window. He and his Uncle Son go the park and feed pigeons. His Uncle Son and Grandfather flew planes in the war, flew like birds. Uncle Son plays Charlie Parker, “the other bird,” in his apartment. The boy watches birds flying from his rooftop and, one important time, his older brother gives him a book of birds.



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“You just remember,

everybody got their somethin’.

And that includes you.”

But there’s also the idea of a bird. Of freedom, of flying.

And even flying away, as in death.

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They boy’s older brother, Marcus, is in trouble. With drugs. He only flies away like a bird after struggle and death.

Bird is a book about drug addiction and losing someone you love and who loved you. But it’s also a book about growing up and, thankfully, hope.

Strickland’s illustrations are apropos. Dark, then light. Layered. Imaginative, then realistic.  Line drawings like the one Bird makes. Watercolors of city scenes.


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“You can fix a broken wing with a splint,

and a bird can fly again,” he said.

“But you can’t fix a broken soul.”

And when you’re lucky enough to get your hands on this book, do take a long look at the spread on which Uncle Son and the narrator discuss their favorite birds. Look for the red specks in the trees, each a cardinal that “looks like a fiery spark blowing through the trees.” Just like a fiery spark of hope in the gloom.


Thanks to Lee and Low Books for images!