Archive | June 7, 2017

How to Heal a Broken Wing


Written and Illustrated by Bob Graham

Candlewick Press, 2008

High above the city, no one heard the soft thud of feathers against glass.

The pigeon that hits the window falls to the ground with a broken wing and is ignored by everyone passing by until a little boy named Will finds it. Seeing that one of the bird’s wings is broken, he takes it home and his mother bandages the wing. They give the bird water and birdseed and give it a place to rest. Then they wait until time heals the break and they hope that the bird will be able to fly again. When the day comes, they take the bird out into the city and release him. The bird soars into the air and flies away.


“Hey, I know those guys!”

This story, from author/illustrator Bob Graham, is a wonderful and gentle lesson on the power of compassion and how caring for someone else can make an impact on those around you. When Will shows the bird to his mother, her initial reaction seems to be alarm and you get the idea that she wants him to come away from the bird. But she becomes invested in helping the bird because she sees Will caring for it and that’s a really lovely takeaway from this story for kids and parents alike. The artwork, in pen, watercolor and chalk, sets brightly colored Will apart from the muted color crowd, emphasizing his uniqueness as the only person interested in the injured bird. There are minimal words in the story, so the pictures carry most of the plot. There’s a real sense of satisfaction when the bird flies away at the end, leading to the conclusion that we’ve now been infected by this sense of compassion as well.

And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that some damage can be repaired. All it takes is someone kind enough to help.