How to Heal a Broken Wing
Written and Illustrated by Bob Graham
Candlewick Press, 2008
A simply written story with a big heart, How to Heal a Broken Wing tells the story of young Will and a bird that he found with a broken wing.
As the bird fall to the ground after crashing into the glass window of a tall skyscraper, nobody noticed. Nobody, but Will. Pulling his mother to the wounded bird, Will stands vibrant in the crowd as he cradles the bird. Bob Graham's choice to have Will in a bright, red coat tells us that this special little protagonist has a compassion beyond the average. A little scattered, Will's mom finally nestles the injured bird in her scarf, places him in her purse, and departs for home with Will on the subway.
True to every great father in the world, Will's dad is quite startled when the family walks into their apartment with a new addition. Dad and Mom execute some first-aid, while Dad and Will assemble a home out of an old cardboard box and newspaper. Equipped with some food and water, the family keeps a close eye on the ailing bird.
The next day, Dad comes home with a new cage. Will and Mom struggle to help the bird fly again. But soon, with time, "and a little hope," it is time to return to the city square where Will rescued the bird. Dad, with the bird in the cage, Mom, and Will climbed out of the subway terminal. Will took the bird into his hands and then opened them. They all watched as, "with a beat of its wings, the bird was gone."
Although the narrative is heavily reliant upon Graham's illustrations and the words are few, the power that this book can impart is immeasurable. A small act of kindness can have a big impact. Our little protagonist, Will, shows that noticing the things that are happening in the world around us can profoundly influence the course of nature. Teaching students about random acts of kindness will make the world a more compassionate place to be. A symbolic book, How to Heal a Broken Wing will captivate students and adults who stop to ponder the little things in life.