Review: Beautiful Blackbird by Ashley Bryan

Review by Eileen Graves51niVfyhBHL

Blackbird said, “Color on the outside is not what’s on the inside. You don’t act like me. You don’t eat like me. You don’t get down in the groove and move your feet like me.” Such is the message of this wonderful, picture book, winner of the Laura Ingalls Wilder and Coretta Scott King Awards. With colorful paper cut-outs, the book includes elements of different cultures (such as with the dancing, showing the diversity of the backgrounds), while emphasizing the unique beauty in each of them.

Based on a Zambian tale and a truly inspirational book, “Beautiful Blackbird” is an inspirational book for younger children. It helps explain, in evocative terms, why looking at the surface is not the way to judge people. The important thing, Blackbird shows, is to be beautiful on the inside; that the covering is not what is important. “Just remember, whatever I do, I’ll still be me and you’ll be you.”


Showing that we can all come together and appreciate one another, no matter what our color or other visible differences, this book is a must for any young person’s library and one that parents, teachers, and other influencers everywhere should read to and with children.


Beautiful Blackbird
by Ashley Bryan
Atheneum, 2003
32 pages

Eileen is The Writing Nana, Extraordinaire

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