Review: Each Little Bird That Sings

Deborah Wiles’ 200+ page children’s book that also speaks to adults was a National Book Award finalist when it came out in 2005.  Scholastic published it, and as the author tells us in the Acknowledgements, it was written at a time when the author “experienced many deaths in the family” and was “suffocating in grief.”  Her successful catharsis provides the reader with the same and demonstrates “the power of story.” She describes her warm, sometimes humorous, always uplifting novel as a “hymn to family; to kin well-known and kin yet to come.”

And what a family stars in this delightful tale.  Comfort, the protagonist, with her mom and dad, older brother, and baby sister are all engaged in running a family-owned and operated funeral home in the deep South whose motto is, “We live to serve.” Every family member is expected to “serve” and to put the town’s families’ needs ahead of their own needs, especially in times of grief. Comfort’s process of growing up, experiencing first-time feelings of intense anger, compassion, love of family and loss is thoroughly covered. Her relationships with her best friend, Declaration, her “weird” cousin, Peach, and her faithful dog, Dismay, are explored as the story unfolds.  It is a sweet story, full of Southern Grace and family love, a story the reader might find comfort in as well.


Author: Rae Longest

This year (2019) finds me with 50 plus years of teaching "under my belt." I have taught all levels from pre-K "(library lady" or "book lady"--volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the "difficult years." I had some of the "funnest" experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the "young, fun teacher," I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a "dream-fit" for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is "in my blood," so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to "come out and play."

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