Normally I'm not a huge reader of children's picture books but when this one came to the library where I worked a coworker and I fell in love with it. It had such a great message and a whole lot of heart. I'm betting that you can't help but fall in love with Nerdy Birdy too.
Illustrator: Matt Davies
Genre: Children's Picturebook
Source: Local Public Library
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
First Published: September 22, 2015
First Line: "This is Nerdy Birdy."
Book Description from GoodReads: Nerdy Birdy likes reading, video games, and reading about video games, which immediately disqualifies him for membership in the cool crowd.
One thing is clear: being a nerdy birdy is a lonely lifestyle.
When he's at his lowest point, Nerdy Birdy meets a flock just like him. He has friends and discovers that there are far more nerdy birdies than cool birdies in the sky.
My Review: This is a sweet book that takes a fairly complicated issue of belonging and cliques and breaks it down for kids. Right off the bat readers see how Nerdy Bird desperately wants to fit in with the popular bird crowd of eagles, cardinals and robins. This elite group of 'cool' birds prefer to stay focused on their attractive physique and prowess with worm catching. They don't want to hang out with Nerdy Birdy who spends his time reading and playing video games. Nerdy Bird feels left out.
"It was awful lonely being alone."
Finally Nerdy Bird finds a group of fellow nerdy birds who invite him to join them. They have similar interests and Nerdy Birdy fits right in! Readers may think that the story would end there but instead the book takes a bit of a twist and kids learn that having friends is a lot more than just fitting in and having the same interests. It's about being kind, including others and treating others how you'd like to be treated.
Along with a great life lesson this book has wonderfully vivid illustrations that truly bring the book to life and adults will appreciate the humor and the references to popular culture which include Star Wars, Doctor Who, 'world of wormcraft', Star Trek etc.
In the end this is a great book to broach the topic of cliques, sympathy/empathy, belonging and inclusion with young kids. The story is told with heart and humour and shows that it's important to do the right thing. Being cool or ultra nerdy isn't all that it's cracked up to be and trying to be a 'cool' bird shouldn't be the goal. Finding friends who accept you for who you are, who are kind and inclusive is the way to go.
My Rating: 5/5 stars