I have a new favorite book about moving (sorry, Sesame Street!).
It was one of those lucky finds. The cover is nice, but not the sort of cover that grabs you by the throat and says “READ ME.” But I was browsing the author R’s and I hadn’t seen this book before so I picked it up.
This book is a master class for the writer’s rule to say everything you need to say with as few words as possible. I’m not moving. I don’t have a cat. Still, the words gripped me and pulled me in.
Title: Windows With Birds
Author/Illustrator: Karen Ritz
Publisher: Boyds Mills Press, 2010
Themes: Moving, Family, Home, Cats
Opening: This was the house (page turn)
that had windows with birds (turn)
twenty-six stairs, twenty-nine hiding places (turn)
and one foolish mouse in the basement. ( turn)
Synopsis: You experience a move from a sprawling single family home to a smaller, high-rise apartment from a cat’s point of view. Without schmatz, the author conveys the feelings of disorientation and difficulty that accompanies a move. As a writer, I especially enjoyed Ms. Ritz’s switch from past to present tense and the judicious use of the words house and home to let the reader know that what is truly important to a family travels with them wherever they are together.
Resources/Activities:Apart from the message about moving, this book brings up an interesting question about how our surroundings make a place feel like home. Without going to look, ask kids to draw a picture of what they could see outside their favorite window. Make a list of what makes the place you live feel like home. The Librarians' Choices blog suggests that older readers can "create their own stories about “change” moments and imagine it from the perspective of an animal." If you are moving and you have animals, read this book then go to these posts by the San Francisco SPCA and the Humane Society of the United States.
Is this book new to you? Let me know. If not, I'd love to hear what you thought of it!