Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Lila and the Crow - a bookwrap

Lila, please listen, you are beautiful!


Written and illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard

Ages 4-8

Unwrapping some gorgeous illustrations...

About the book...

Lila is the new kid in a brand new city and is feeling very lonely.  She cannot wait to get to school and make some friends to ease her sadness of always being alone. The first day of school Lila is   super excited. 

"...she gets up early, dresses, and leaves the house.  With the wind in her hair and a smile on her face, she seems to be flying on her way to school."

She envisions the excitement and happiness of being surrounded by brand new friends. She feels awkward and scared at first as any new kid would and can't wait until recess when she finally will get a chance to fulfill her dream.

Nathan, a loud-mouth leader of a pack of kids looks at Lila and shouts:

"A crow!
 A crow!
 The new girl's hair is dark like a crow!!"

The whole group of kids stare at her and then they all turn and walk away.  Lila's dream of having friends is crushed right before her eyes and she is left standing all alone in the playground holding her ball.  

Heartbroken, with a heart as heavy as a stone, she returns home.  A mysterious crow perched on an old oak tree branch watches her and caws and croaks as if he is aware of her plight and wants to tell her something.  Lila, lost in her sadness, ignores him.

The next day Lila returns to school with a hat on to cover her hair.  The boy continues to belittle her day after day, attacking her skin (she then wears a bulky sweater and scarf), her eyes, she dons a pair of dark glasses, trying totally to erase herself and disappear.  

Each day as she returns home with a heavier and heavier heart the crow watches from his perch above and wants to reach out to her. She tries to shoo him away by throwing stones at him, but he stays.

The great autumn festival is approaching and the kids in her class are planning and creating costumes to wear.  Poor Lila she has totally been isolated so her desire is to have an invisibility cloak to wear to the festivities.  

The day before the festival begins when Lila is returning home and running as fast as she can she trips and crashes to the ground.  The crow flies down and lands near her... his opportunity to connect has arrived. 

What happens in the next little while between she and the magnificent black bird is truly magical.  The crow and his entire flock manage to lift the veil from Lila's eyes and they enable her to   see herself for the first time as the stunning creature that she is created to be.  She has a total change of heart and she embraces her differences and celebrates her true self... a little girl who is beautifully and wonderfully made, unique in every way.

This is a lovely book which will open up dialogue about self-worth and being valued.  It will also ignites conversations about what to do if you are being bullied and put down by others around you.  The illustrations are very expressive and full of emotion dovetailing with the text perfectly.  I highly recommend this book.

About the author...

Gabrielle Grimard has been drawing since she was a very young child. Born in Montreal, she studied Fine Arts at Concordia University. She began her career as a muralist, painting numerous walls in commercial buildings in the Montreal area. Between 1998 and 2001, Gabrielle had many solo shows in the Plateau Mont Royal area of Montreal. In 2001, after giving birth to her first child, Gabrielle began her career as an illustrator. She has illustrated numerous pictures books in the US and Canada.

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