Friday, 10 February 2017

Book Review: Lila and the Crow

Today I'm back to reviewing books and excited to share with you a touching story.  I got an e-copy of this book from Netgalley. The picture book below tackles bullying and racism among children. Can one girl overcome this obstacle and show her classmates that she deserves to be treated equally despite looking different?

Source: Netgalley

Publisher: Annick Press

Publication date: October 11, 2016

Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository



Summary: Lila has just moved to a new town and can't wait to make friends at school. But on the first day, a boy points at her and shouts: “A crow! A crow! The new girl's hair is black like a crow!” The others whisper and laugh, and Lila's heart grows as heavy as a stone.

The next day, Lila covers her hair. But this time, the boy points at her dark skin. When she covers her face, he mocks her dark eyes. Now every day at school, Lila hides under her turtleneck, dark glasses, and hat. And every day when she goes home, she sees a crow who seems to want to tell her something. Lila ignores the bird and even throws rocks at it, but it won't go away.

Meanwhile, the great autumn festival is approaching. While the other kids prepare their costumes, Lila is sadder and lonelier than ever. At her lowest point of despair, a magical encounter with the crow opens Lila's eyes to the beauty of being different, and gives her the courage to proudly embrace her true self.
Book Review

Lila got put through what no parent wants their kid to go through, racism. Yes it was shown and more like schoolyard bullying in the book. But when you are teased about your hair, then your skin and even your eyes being dark....that's racism. The author clearly wanted to write a book that touched on bullying in multiple respects and I agree with that wholeheartedly. This book had writing and illustrations that allow readers to slip into Lila's skin for a while and feel the pain of being a new girl who just wanted a friend but instead received prejudice and mockery. Her road from hiding who she was to accepting and showing her classmates the beauty in being different was very touching. I enjoyed reading this book and felt it was a great addition to the much needed books representing POC characters.

However there was criticism I must put forward. While I agree that this book showed the negatives prejudice. Not calling out the racism and accepting being called a crow can be misconstrued as having a little girl accept racism from her classmates and not really confronting the issue. While I don't believe that was the author's intent, a stronger stance could have prevented this. Also calling the crow that comforted Lila 'magical' can bring about annoyance with people of color getting stereotyped of being involved in witchcraft. Would a white girl's involvement with an animal be called 'magical' or instead 'touching'? Hopefully writers will look at these things more closely.

Still at the end of the day this story is a wonderful lesson on the human spirit and that love, not prejudice is what we should be aiming for. Highly recommend. Plus it is still available at Netgalley with no set archive date. Feel free to download or better yet go and buy a copy of your own.

Rating: 4 Stars

What do you think of this book? Thanks for stopping by and God bless.

3 comments:

  1. Very good point. I'm sure the author didn't mean to link it to witchcraft as much as add whimsy.

    Children (and adults) can be so mean. When my kids were little, I warned them that some people will pick on people just for entertainment and they'll pick on anything they can easily see because bullies are rarely insightful, intelligent groups who look for the deeper insult. They will always go for the easy punch. Skin color, hair color, weight, clothes...you name it, mean people will attack it.

    Personally, I think mean people suck and I don't know why people think it's fun to hurt other people.

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  2. I think in general the book community needs more books on diversity, and when it comes to children's books, things like this is needed in the classrooms to help teach children about this subject.

    When I was a teacher, I would have loved to have books about racism to read to the children, to help them better understand what it is and that it isn't acceptable. Of course, this is something that is still going on around the world and will probably continue to do so, but at least the children will get a better grasp on the subject and learn that it isn't right.

    In regards to this book, it seems like it would be an interesting read for preschoolers up to the second grade, perhaps.

    Interesting review!

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