SHORTLISTED FOR THE CILIP KATE GREENAWAY MEDAL 2021
"The book provides an intense visual experiences and provides readers with shifting perspectives on Berta, her life and her often conflicting sense of priorities concerning her mother’s deteriorating health and her own burgeoning interest in art. The way the story draws upon different artistic styles and media is effective and adds to the wide-reaching nature of the story. The emotion captured within the pictures is stunning and there’s a sense of unfulfilled longing which captures some of the sadness and grief. The format of the book almost feels like an artist’s sketchbook itself adding to the intimacy of the story. A feast for the eyes!"
What do you do when it feels impossible to live the life that is expected of you? What do you do when you long for something that you can hardly name?
Berta is a twelve-year-old girl growing up on a farm in a small village in northern Sweden in the early twentieth century. She loves drawing and painting more than anything else, and secretly dreams of being an artist. But her mother is sick and Berta is needed on the farm. She knows that she needs art, that she has to express herself. But how can she make her dreams a reality?
Based on the paintings, letters and diaries of the Swedish artist Berta Hansson (1910–1994), The Bird Within Me is an exquisitely told story of family and obligation and following your dreams, which will appeal to all ages.