Tweeters: Fly by Jess McGeachin

Welcome to ‘Tweeters’, a new series (I hope!) of monthly posts in which I write about books that feature birds in some way.

I’m starting off with a picture book Fly by Jess McGeachin, shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) 2020 New Illustrator award. Here’s the blurb from the publisher Penguin Books:

Fly is a beautiful story of determination no matter the odds, and love in the face of loss.
Lucy had always been good at fixing things, and Dad needed a bit of help. It was just the two of them after all.
So when Lucy finds a bird with a broken wing, she’s sure she can fix him too. But not everything that’s broken can be fixed.

Fly is a deceptively simple story. There’s a subtext about how children deal with loss, but the story’s magical quality means it is neither heavy nor didactic. And while there’s an injured sparrow at the centre of the story, birds are the heroes of the tale, too.

The illustrations support the narrative beautifully, Lucy’s world becoming more colourful and vibrant, the further she rises from the earth into the sky in her efforts to show her injured sparrow how to fly. I particularly liked the plates at the end showing different types of birds, many of them native Australian species.

I was introduced to this book when asked by Karen Fleischer’s to record a video for her Facebook page, Reading for Kids Gippsland. A link to the clip is below. My fabulous 15-year-old shot and edited the video (bless her!), which includes images of some of my ornithological #literarycritters. In a sign I should have done my homework, I incorrectly refer to author Jess McGeachin as ‘she’ instead of ‘he’. And I wish I’d recorded a day later after I had a haircut! But I hope you enjoy it all the same.

Can you recommend another kids’ book involving birds?

About Angela Savage

Angela Savage is a Melbourne writer, who has lived and travelled extensively in Asia. She won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript, and the Scarlet Stiletto Award short story award. Her latest novel is, Mother of Pearl, published by Transit Lounge. Angela holds a PhD in Creative Writing, is former CEO of Writers Victoria, and currently works as CEO of Public Libraries Victoria.
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3 Responses to Tweeters: Fly by Jess McGeachin

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    What a great series you’ve started here, Angela. I love the theme. And Fly is a fine one to start it off. I’m a big fan of quality children’s books. If you get children interested in books early in life, this does so much them on every level.


  2. Kathy D. says:

    Books are so important for children and can encourage them to be readers throughout their lives. My parents were readers. Books were everywhere. And my mother said at 3, I was the youngest person to get a library card at our local New York city branch. I was bereft when our branch closed for several months during the pandemic, but Overdrive reading was in place. And now it’s open for “drop and grab,” so I can get books on reserve.
    And I’m in shock that not-so-long-ago Miss Six is now 15! Have I missed 3 or 4 years somewhere/ I’m so glad she is of technological help. I’m amazed what younger people know, compared to low-tech Luddite me.

    Liked by 1 person

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