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Saturday, October 28, 2023

If You See a Bluebird, written by Bahram Rahman and illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard. Pajama Press, 2023. $22.95 ages 4 and up


"Ali remembers the tall mulberry tree in their 
backyard in Kabul, Afghanistan, its branches
full of sweet and silky purple fruit. He could 
see the whole neighborhood from his favorite

He suddenly feels an ache in his stomach. He 
misses home.

Despite the early morning, Nana lets Ali know it is time to rise and shine. They are going berrypicking together. He dresses quietly and goes to the kitchen where Nana is packing breakfast for the two of them. Ali gets the bikes, wipes the seats, and attaches their baskets. Off they go. 

It isn't long until they arrive at the blackberry patch. Ali likes the mulberries from home better than blackberries. He remembers his home in Kabul and the mulberry tree he loved to sit in while admiring his neighborhood. When war came to their home, Ali and his family were forced to leave. It was a very sad time for the family, and scary. Their journey was long; so many people trying to get out of their own country. Nana and Ali comforted each other as they left. 

Now, they are settled in a new home. When they sit to share the breakfast Nana has prepared, Nana sees a bluebird and offers a reminder. 

""Did you make a wish?" Nana asks. "If you see 
a bluebird and make a wish before it flies away, 
your wish will come true." 

Ali shakes his head. "I didn't know.""

Nana explains that all her wishes have come true. The family is safe and happy now. Ali wants the fighting to stop so they can return to Kabul. Nana reminds his that home is not really a place; it is the love the family shares. Ali understands what Nana tells him and happily returns home with her to his family.

The vivid illustrations help young readers see the difference between Ali's old and new homes.  The love that is truly home is evident in both places. An absorbing story of leaving one home and finding another, so long as family is in both places.                                                                            

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