Publication: October 2013 from New Internationalist
Rating: 4 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I liked it
Imagine. You’re a bird, only fifteen inches long. You spend half the year on one side of the planet and then you fly to the other side for the rest. Round trip: eighteen thousand miles. On the way there you touch down in many different countries; you’re just a passing visitor. And on the way back…there is nowhere to stop. Just ocean for seven thousand miles.
A story about two true fantastical flights; that of the godwits around and across the Pacific and a woman’s emigration from Croatia to New Zealand.
A young girl and her grandmother, Baba Didi, are on a beach watching the godwits preparing to migrate. Talking about the birds’s courageous journey across the Pacific resonates with generations of human migration, from the Maori reaching New Zealand to Baba Didi’s journey from Croatia.
Baba Didi and the Godwits Fly by Nicola Muir is at it’s base, a beautifully illustrated story of the godwits, a bird found in New Zealand that travels a large journey around the world – at one part, seven thousand miles across nothing but ocean.
But it is much more than that. Told by Isabella’s grandmother, Baba Didi relates the travel of the godwits to her immigration from Croatia to New Zealand. Baba Didi teaches how watching and understanding the godwits can help Isabella learn that there is more to life than just beauty and talent. That to grow, learn and persevere takes courage, stamina and faith and to enjoy the journey. That you will know when it is time to change and if what you want does not work with where you end up, change what you’re looking for, and to not spend all your time on what ifs, but rather the hows of what you are doing now.
Baba Didi and the Godwits Fly by Nicola Muir is a wonderfully written picture book. The illustrations by Annie Hayward draw the reader and listener into the visuals of the godwits journey and into Isabella and her grandmother’s story. I can see this book working very well in a classroom for units on culture, health and wellness and even habitats. And of course just as an engaging read aloud that I foresee leading to interesting discussions.
Hardcover copy provided by JKSCommunications in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!