A DREAM OF BIRDS
By: Shenaz Patel
Illustrated by: Emmanuelle Tchoukriel
Translated by: Edwige-Renée Dro
Published: August 16, 2022
Publisher: Amazon Crossing Kids
On her walk to school one day, Sara notices a peculiar tiny house in an old man’s yard. The next day, she knew what it was for, birds! The house was full of colorful birds, but when she got closer to investigate, the old man scared her away.
These birds remind Sara of her grandfather and sitting with him in his yard while he threw rice to the birds. The birds were so colorful and full of joy as they flew around them. This daily ritual was special to her and her grandfather and made them happy to see the birds flying around them.
The next day as she walks by the birds in the old man’s yard, she notices the door is unlocked. She feels drawn to the birds and has a special plan for them, even if it might get her into trouble. With poetic prose and vivid illustrations, a sweet girl does what she thinks is right, in honor of her grandfather and the beautiful birds. As a lover of birds and someone who gets excited to see a goldfinch on her feeder or an indigo bunting on a recent park visit, I can relate to Sara’s longing to care for the birds.
Shenaz Patel shares in her author’s note that this story takes place on an actual African island nation that includes a nature preserve known for its birds, many of them now extinct. She hopes that this story will remind all of us to care for our winged friends and continue to keep dreaming of a better world for all of us.
Shenaz Patel was born and lives on Mauritius Island. She has several jobs: journalist, playwright, novelist, and translator, and she is also a comics and children’s book author. She has written nine books for children, including A Dream of Birds, which was first published in French and English in Mauritius and France. She was named Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in 2013, a high honor given by the French minister of culture.
Emmanuelle Tchoukriel was born and lives in France. Passionate about nature, she studied visual communication before entering the Estienne School in Paris. She specialized in scientific drawing, and she excels in illustrating flora and fauna.
Edwige-Renée Dro is a writer, translator, and literary activist from the Ivory Coast, in Africa. Her writings have been published in anthologies such as New Daughters of Africa and Africa39, among others. She has judged many literary prizes, including the PEN International New Voices Award and the Etisalat Prize for Literature. She was awarded the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship in 2018 and is a 2021 resident of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. Learn more at her website, HERE.