|Year we learned to fly|
Author: Woodson, Jacqueline
By heeding their wise grandmother's advice, a brother and sister discover the ability to lift themselves up and imagine a better world.
Download a Teacher's Guide
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 3.90
Points: .5 Quiz: 514382
Kirkus Reviews (+) (02/15/22)
School Library Journal (+) (02/04/22)
Booklist (+) (12/01/21)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/01/22)
The Hornbook (00/01/22)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 12/01/2021 *Starred Review* A sister and brother live with their younger sister and grandmother. In the spring, the weather is stormy, and the children grow bored. Summer finds them bickering over chores. In the autumn, the rooms of the apartment feel “big and lonely.” Then, in winter, they move, leaving their familiar street and friends behind. From this basic premise comes a narrative rich with literary and visual symbolism, simultaneously simple and profound. What has happened to the parents? Why do they relocate? No details are provided, so the framework could be applied to many situations. Each season, their grandmother acknowledges the children’s feelings and encourages them to find strength within. She tells the children to lift their arms, close their eyes, and figure out a way to fly. When they do, they are able to see positive elements, like flowers in the spring, companionship in summer, freedom in the fall, and new friends in winter. Fantasy elements in the illustrations include the girl’s hair filling with butterflies, flowers, and then ships at sea that suggest the Middle Passage. Faces of ancestors appear in the leaves of plants. These images, as well as the children flying, are integrated into an otherwise recognizable world. With this book (simultaneously released in Spanish), Woodson and Lopez create a path that children may follow as they gain confidence and imagine a way forward no matter what challenges arise. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 02/04/2022 Gr 2–4—Woodson and López are thankfully, and marvelously, back together for another title featuring the siblings first introduced in The Day You Begin. Going through a year of challenges including experiencing boredom, fighting with a sibling, being shut in, and moving to a new neighborhood, the siblings are comforted and challenged by the wisdom of their grandmother and the elders who have come before to find their inner strength to soar above and beyond the difficulties they confront. Honoring echoes of the past (masterfully captured in both text and art) with an eye set on the possibilities of the future, this uplifting and honest reflection of the experiences of many children is a perfect example of the power of the picture book. It helps children, through words and art, to be seen and also challenges them to embrace their own power and agency. The many layers of both art and language will provide fodder for rich classroom discussions, and the author's note adds further depth honoring the work of Virginia Hamilton and Leo and Dianne Dillon. VERDICT A must for any collection, and an outstanding example of the picture book as an artistic and literary form.—John Scott - Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.