My Beautiful Birds, written and illustrated by Suzanne Del Rizzo, sheds a light on the ongoing Syrian Refugee crisis and its effects on its children. The narrative follows a boy named Sami who is uprooted from home, leaving behind all of the birds he'd grown to love and care for. My Beautiful Birds shows the reality of refugee camps and ultimately provides hope for people in search of a new place in life.
When Sami's village is bombed, he is forced to leave home with very few belongings. And the worst part of al, is that he has to leave behind all of his pet birds. When Sami and his family arrive at the refugee camp, everyone begins to settle in except for Sami -- who is he now that he doesn't have his birds anymore? But one day a canary, a dove, and a rose finch fly into the camp and change Sami's perspective on his situation, helping him begin the process of healing and rebuilding himself.
As beautiful as the story is, the illustrations are even more so. Del Rizzo creates her illustrations from acrylic paint and polymer clay, so the texture is out of this world. With each page flip it feels like we can reach out and touch the illustrations. We can even see Del Rizzo's fingerprints! But of course she doesn't stop there: each illustration also features rich colors, thoughtful composition, and a keen sense of light. I would love to talk about each and every spread (and I would love to show you more of them!) but this is a book worth seeing for yourself. Trust me, it will stick with you for a very long time.
My Beautiful Birds publishes next Wednesday, March 1 from Pajama Press.