This Library Monday post is brought to you by the magic of scheduled posting. If all has gone according to plan, I am actually in Manhattan and this post is publishing itself for your reading pleasure in my absence. In honor of our trip to the big, big city, this week's Library Monday post is all about a sweet little book called How to Heal a Broken Wing. Written and illustrated by Australian author Bob Graham, How to Heal a Broken Wing takes place in New York City and is centered around an observant little boy who finds and rehabilitates an injured pigeon.
The hero of our story is Will, a small boy in a big city who is the only one who notices a bird with a broken wing lying on the sidewalk near the subway stop he is exiting with his mother. From this point in the story forward, most of the tale is told exclusively through Graham's wonderfully expressive illustrations with only small bits of text interwoven. Some pages are nearly wordless, yet you can almost hear the characters voices just by looking at their faces and the way that Graham has drawn their movements. Will insists on taking the bird home, where he and his family care for it as its wing slowly heals. When the bird is at last ready to fly again, Will and his family release it back into the city skies, happy to have done their part in noticing, taking care and giving a second chance.
One of the things about this book that is so endearing is the way that the sparse text is so carefully written to have a meaning beyond the basic plot of the story. Yes, this book is about a boy having the heart to care for a vulnerable creature, but it is also about the way that time, love and a little patience can "heal a broken wing" for any of us. This resiliency of spirit is such an important thing to remember and it is a vital thing to teach, even for very young children. We all need a little encouragement now and again, as well as the occasional reminder that whatever life sends our way, time and caring can help us to fly again.
Oh, and a special hello to my very dear friend Natalie with this one. She's now raising a little guy named Will herself and this book makes me think of her and smile.