Aʙᴏᴜᴛ ᴛʜᴇ Bᴏᴏᴋ
Book Title: MIA AND THE HUMMINGBIRD by Nancy Carlisle
Category: Children's Fiction (Ages 3-7), 34 pages
Genre: Juvenile fiction/social themes or animals/birds
Publisher: Sage Green Press
Release date: March, 2021
Content Rating: G. There is nothing that even comes close to PG.
Mia and the Hummingbird is the story of a young girl who immigrates to a new country and learns to accept a new life.She sees the hummingbird building her nest for her babies and thinks that she and the bird are similar as they learn to adapt to their new homes. Mia and the Hummingbird includes information about environmental and social reasons for immigration, the struggle to adapt to a new home and information about hummingbirds. Included is a glossary about these issues, a bibliography, and references.
Mia and the Hummingbird is three stories in one. One is of a young Mia, a climate refugee from the Caribbean, who is adapting to a new language, school, and lifestyle. Another aspect of the story contains the ins and outs of the life of a hummingbird and the similarities with Mia. And thirdly is an educational look at the similarities and differences of refugees and migrants, the importance of social justice, and more.
I like all three facets of this book, and the colorful line drawing illustrations are unique and engaging. I would prefer having each slice of the story more separated rather than enmeshed together, but that’s just my personal preference.
I especially enjoyed the informative hummingbird facts. I find these tiny hardworking birds fascinating, and loved learning how they build their nests, raise their young, and adapt to their surroundings.
This makes a three-part storybook cohesive and displays noteworthy parallels.
Little by little the bird makes its nest.
Dɪsᴄʟᴏsᴜʀᴇ: I ʀᴇᴄᴇɪᴠᴇᴅ ᴀ ᴄᴏᴍᴘʟɪᴍᴇɴᴛᴀʀʏ ᴄᴏᴘʏ ᴏғ ᴛʜɪs ʙᴏᴏᴋ. Mʏ ʀᴇᴠɪᴇᴡ ᴡᴀs ɴᴏᴛ ɪɴғʟᴜᴇɴᴄᴇᴅ.
The cover shows a picture of Mia and the Hummingbird, what is the connection?
There is a French proverb in the Foreword, “Little by little, the bird builds it’s nest”. I first heard this on the last day of a multi-week intensive French course that I took in France. The proverb was the Professor’s way of telling us that learning French is a slow process, and yes, we made good progress in the course, but we still had more to learn, and must persist to succeed. In my mind, this conjured up an image of a resilient little bird and a resilient younger version of myself determined to succeed and voila! My inspiration for the cover and the story.
Did you see a bit of yourself in Mia because you and she are both learning a second language?
Yes, some of Mia’s struggles were my struggles. For example, the part of the story where Mia rode her bike through the neighborhood, and nothing looked familiar was based on my experience walking in France one day when I got lost and didn’t know a lot of French. I too approach a nearby women and with a shaky voice and tears in my eyes, asked for help. At the time I was about 50 years older than Mia. The woman was very kind and got me home.
What children’s book authors inspire you?
Lynne Cherry, maybe best known for “The Great Kapok Tree”, inspires me because she has a solid understanding of ecology and the environment and is also an excellent artist. Her stories, especially “The Sea, the Storm, and the Mangrove Tangle”, are excellent because they are fun, well-illustrated but also convey such an important message about the interconnectedness of environmental systems. I think this helps kids understand their environment and how ecological systems work. Eric Carle also inspired me because I loved reading his books and looking at his illustrations with my kids. When I first thought about writing kids’ books, I found a wealth of information on Eric Carle’s website. This got me started.
What makes your book unique?
My book is unique because I’ve tried to do more than write a story by adding the text boxes, glossary, and references. My hope is that these extra materials provide more context for the story in terms of environmental issues that people all over the world are facing. I’ve also tried to write the book in a way to encourage kids to want to be part of the solution to make the world a better place. I’m hopeful that the fact boxes and glossary can be used as conversation starters with parents and older siblings while reading the book to help children become more aware of environmental and social issues.
What is your favorite part about writing and illustrating?
Because people are hard for me to draw, I’m always excited when the character has the right expression and the right clothes. I am also pleased when the colors in the drawing are bold. Drawing the trees and plants and sky is relaxing for me. I also enjoy making the text and the drawing work together. Probably the best part is seeing your book come alive after the editor improves the language and a graphic designer integrates the pictures.
Aʙᴏᴜᴛ ᴛʜᴇ Aᴜᴛʜᴏʀ
During her 38 year career, as an architect and researcher, her focus was on the environment. She led work nationally and internationally on sustainable and energy efficient buildings and communities and won awards for collaboratively designing award-winning sustainable buildings, a laboratory campus, and as part of a team to develop a program to improve the energy efficiency of laboratories in the U.S.
connect with the author: website
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