How to Heal a Broken Wing written and illustrated by Bob Graham is the second picture book we have read on our theme of kindness.
This book is not wordless, but words do the least work. It is the illustrations – multiple panels on some pages, a full page illustration on another that tell this lovely story of kindness, hope and compassion.
A pigeon hits a tall skyscraper and falls into the busy streets. Nobody notices until Will happens by with his Mom. Maybe he is more observant? Smaller and more focussed on the ground perhaps? But he is the only one to notice the hurt pigeon. We noticed right away how Graham paints Will in bright colours while the rest of the people walking the streets are in dull greens, browns and greys, nothing that stands out. We came back to the page where Will first notices the pigeon and decided that Will made an important decision here – to pick up the bird or to walk away.
“It’s a decision to be kind or not.”
“If you don’t want to be kind, it’s okay, but you should . . .”
Amongst a busy street scene, crowded with people, Graham shines a light on little Will picking up the bird with the broken wing.
“The light on him makes us look much more closely and think about what is important about what he is doing.”
Will takes the injured bird home and despite his parents initial reservations, they help him to begin to care for the bird. Absolute silence as students studied the panels showing Will and his parents bandaging the wing, setting up a box for the bird and settling him in for the night. We follow the picture panels that show us the bird gaining mobility, eating and drinking and looking longingly out the window at the sky.
What has Will’s family given to the bird? We listed off what we had noticed: food, water, rest, a cage to protect him, shelter, care, hope and kindness. In time, the pigeon healed and Will’s parents take Will back to the city streets to let the pigeon fly free.
Two important things we learned about kindness from this book:
- We need to notice when kindness is needed
- It is a choice to be kind.
So – how aware are you? What choices do you make every day? This book is a story that reminds us to look at ourselves and think about what we do and what we don’t do everyday.