“This book is all about managing to shine even in the most difficult situations —and finding strength where you least expect it. It will warm your heart.”
Each Little Bird That Sings by Deborah Wiles captured my attention from the very first line,
“I come from a long line of dead people.”
Ten-year-old Comfort Snowberger knows a lot about death. She’s been to 347 funerals. You see, Comfort’s family runs the local funeral home and makes their living dealing with death and grief in their community. But, this year is not like all the others. Death has come to the Snowberger’s own extended family, and Comfort, her brother Tidings, and her sister Merry must learn to deal with grief on a completely different level.
You might think that a book so focused on death and grief would be a complete downer, but Each Little Bird that Sings is not morbid at all. While I admit that I shed a tear or two while reading it, Each Little Bird that Sings is more about life than it is about death.
Comfort has become one of my favorite characters of all time (sitting just below Jeffrey “Maniac” Magee on my list and all the fifth and sixth grade students should know how much I love Maniac). Comfort’s clear voice paints such a vivid picture of her family, her friends, her home and her town that I felt as if I personally knew each and everyone. I could probably tell you exactly how to find Snowberger’s Funeral Home if you should need directions. From the time, I met her dog, Dismay, I wanted to have a dog just like him. I could so understand Comfort’s annoyance with her cousin Peach (he annoyed me, too), and I longed to knock her bratty best friend Declaration into the nearest mud puddle. (I managed to restrain myself, just barely, when I realized that she wasn’t standing next to me, but it was a very close thing.) Poignant and wise, Each Little Bird That Sings is a story of hope in the face of grief, of life in the face of death. I promise it will leave you smiling even through your tears. It is a thoroughly satisfying little story, and if you enjoy emotional reads, this is a book for you. (All of you who keep coming into the library and asking me for “emotional reads,” I’m talking to you.)
Title: Each Little Bird That Sings
Author: Deborah Wiles
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Setting: Modern Day Small Town Mississippi
Themes: Death, Grief, Family, Friendship, Lovable Dogs
AR BL: 4.5
AR Points: 6.0
Awards and Honors:
- National Book Award Nominee for Young People’s Literature (2005)
- E.B. White Read Aloud Award for Older Readers (2006)
- Rebecca Caudill Young Reader’s Book Award Nominee (2007)
Recommended: 3rd Grade and Up — Each Little Bird That Sings would make an excellent read aloud or read with novel.