Lila and the Crow by Gabrielle Grimard
Published on October 11, 2016.
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.
This book is kind of sad. A young girl is being teased, pretty badly, about her dark hair, dark skin, and dark eyes. The other kids in the class say she looks like a crow. Lila, who is new in town, is lonely and desperate for a friend when she first starts school. But because of the relentless teasing, she tries to hide herself under a cap, a sweater, and dark glasses.
On her walk home from school everyday, a crow caws at her and makes her mad. Until there is a festival and Lila is in need of a costume, she thinks being called a crow is horrible (which it is!). But then she notices how beautiful crows are and decides to dress as one.
This book reveals he harsh reality of being different, of being the new person, and of not fitting in. There is some resolution at the end, but it's more a message of acceptance than of sticking up for yourself or asking for help. That didn't sit well with me. I wanted to see Lila conquer her bullies. I was hoping a new friend would step in. Or that a teacher might notice.
I could see this book helping kids develop empathy perhaps. It's geared towards an older audience - ages 6 to 8 - because of the content and the volume of words. The illustrations were wonderful, but the story was just a bit too grim for my taste.
My Rating: 3 Stars
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