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 marks my fiftieth year in AAUW (American Association of University Women). The Alvin chapter was begun in 1947, and as a new, green teacher to Alvin Independent School District, I joined in 1968. In the 80's we began a book group to share our love of reading, books,and fellowship with other women and girls who loved the same. We resurrected the group on-line in September of 2015. Eventually Powerful Women Readers folded as an on-line book club, but I kept the title and turned it into a blog. (See "Introduction,"first blog). This is my first experience at blogging or publishing anything and is becomes more fun with each blog posted. I am currently teaching as an adjunct at The University of Houston Clear Lake. This makes my 28th year there after three years at Alvin Community College and an almost-twenty year career as a classroom teacher with Alvin Independent School District. Reading and writing are "in my blood" just like teaching is. I hope you enjoy the blog.

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