Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

How to Heal a Broken Wing

Graham, Bob (Author/Illustrator)
Candlewick Press 2008. 40 pages
First published: 2008
ISBN: 9780763639037 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, dialogue, point of view

Awards

Charlotte Zolotow Award – 2009
USBBY Outstanding International Books List – 2009

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

When a bird lies hurt on a busy city street, no one notices except a small boy named Will. With the help of his mother, he wraps the injured bird and takes it home, where the family bands together to nurse its broken wing and set it free again.

Nearly wordless, this graphic-novel-inspired book relies heavily on images for its emotional impact. On the other hand, the sheer power of its opening line will pique every child’s imagination: “High above the city, no one heard the soft thud of feathers against glass.”

Varied layouts of pen, watercolour and chalk illustrations capture the details that render the story memorable: the close-up of feet charging past the fallen bird, the delicate ministrations of first aid, the single loose feather Will saves as a good-luck charm to help the bird back to safety. Will and his parents are depicted in bright colours, while the hurried city folk and drab buildings are delivered in muted greys.

Written to express his faith in the upcoming generation of children, Graham’s spare, urban tale is an excellent read-aloud choice with its uplifting theme of hope and its important reminder about the value of helping others.

  •  

    Hide the title and closely examine the cover illustrations. Make predictions about the characters, setting and plot. Uncover the title and reconsider your predictions. 

  •  

    Notice the use of light and dark in the illustrations. What is the purpose of highlighting certain areas? How is colour used?

  •  

    Use the plot or moral of the story as inspiration for a poem.

  •  

    Choose one page and brainstorm speech/thought bubbles that would appear over the characters’ heads. Recreate the scene in a tableau. Bring it to life by having the characters speak aloud or voice their thoughts.

  •  

    The book description calls this an “urban fable”. Do you agree or disagree? Use your knowledge of fables and examples from the text to support your opinion.

  •  

    Do a picture walk. As the pictures unfold, tell the story of Will and his family taking care of the bird.

  •  

    Discuss how colour, light and the size of the pictures emphasize emotions and highlight specific moments of the story.

  •  

    In small groups, add narration and speech to the story. Make a short movie to retell your story and have a class screening. Observe and discuss how different groups focused on different elements.

  •  

    Produce a comic strip that tells about a situation in which people could be more attentive to people or animals. Share your story with a partner. Do your pictures convey the message?

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