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This month I seem to have an unintentional “bird book-theme” going on! But, I really like it.
Birds are both beautiful and mysterious and are often rooted in many legends and children’s fables. But some, like Moonbird, is just fascinating in their normal state.
Recently I review Jacqueline Jules’ new book Feathers for Peacock; an enchanting look at why peacocks have the glorious feathers they do thanks to the kindness of others. This week, I’d like to share The Conference of the Birds book review and a look at Sufi Poetry
A few years back, Alexis did a delight book review during our Family Book Festival and her familiy’s favorite book Amos & Boris by William Steig.
Today we get to look further into her world by reviewing her book The Conference of the Birds.
The Conference of the Birds re-tales the 800 year old sufi Persian poem written by Farid ud-Din Attar. In the poem the birds of the world gather to decide who is to be their new king, as they don’t have one at the moment.
The hoopoe, the wisest bird of them all, suggests that they should find the legendary Simorgh, a mythical bird which resembles the Phoenix.
The hoopoe leads this flock of 30 birds in the original story and 6 in this one, to the dwelling place of the Simorgh. Along the way each bird casts off the negative attribute it carries clearing the way to enlightenment. I will not spoil the ending for you. All I can say is that it is soul revealing.
I know this poem well but I have to be honest when I say that when this book crossed my desk (in picture book form no less) I had my doubts how this gem of a story could be condensed into a children’s version. From the first page my doubts and concerns were quickly put at ease since this story is brilliantly and simply told using rhyme.
Collaborating in perfect unison with the story are the phenomenal artistry and illustrations of Demi. Demi is on my top 10 list of favorite illustrators and she doesn’t disappoint in The Conference of the Birds. She uses vibrant deep colors, gold, and action to portray the journey of this fretting flock.
Inside this inspiring tale, virtues such as humility, patience, detachment from our worldly goods, and courage are taught and shared through beauty, kindness and encouragement. This book is a fantastic teaching tool regardless of one’s race or religion in developing a moral compass of integrity and compassion.
Something To Do:
As with all sufi tales, they are multi-layered and tend to “meet you where you are” on your own journey in life. With each re-telling the listener discovers something new about themselves and their life perspectives. The Conference of the Birds gives us the opportunity to delve deeper into the pages of this gorgeous tale.
The activities we have designed are for a variety of ages and listeners. From the very young to the very old, I hope you find many enriched reading moments together.
Author Alexis York Lumbard and Demi have created this fun coloring page of the Hoopoe bird. It’s a fun way to kick our book jump off.
Let’s look into the world of Sufism. What is it and Who are they ?
Sufism or Tasawuf, as it is known in the Muslim world, is Islamic Mysticism. Sufism isn’t a sect of Islam but an aspect or dimension of Islam. Sufism is a way of life in which the person becomes closer to God by living in harmony with all that exists and through reflecting the love of God.
Someone who practices Sufism is called a Sufi. The term Sufi comes from three Arabic letters sa, wa, and fa. The word Suf means wool and Sufis used to wear simple cloaks made of wool. Oftentimes in Sufi poetry writing the letters in words express hidden meanings. The word Sufi could also mean enlightenment coming from the Arabic word Safa which means purity. It has also been linked with the word Sufiya which is linked with the Greek word Sophia meaning wisdom.
Throughout history Sufism has created the most noted and celebrated poetry, music, and literature in the world. Famous authors and philosopher’s included Rumi, Al-Ghazali, Ib Khaldun, Attar , Ibn-Arabi, and Hafiz just to name a few.
Examples of Sufi Poetry:
Something To Do: Poetry Magnets
It’s time to have a little poetry fun of our very own.
It’s fun to spend a wonderful afternoon creating fun poetry.
- Print the words onto a magnet sheets which can be found at any office supply store or HERE on Amazon.
- Cut and arrange them on your refrigerator or any surface which will hold magnets, such as a metal tray.
- If you can’t find magnet paper go ahead and print them onto card stock.
- Arrange your poetry onto a beautiful piece of paper and glue into place.
Something To Do: Learn about Whirling Dervish:
The Whirling Dervish come from Turkey and I recently saw a different variety of Dervish in Egypt. The Dervish of Turkey spin in a dance form while songs of remembrance are sung, connecting them to the earth, the heavens, and ultimately god.
Something To Do: Bird Stick Puppets
- Printed Birds
- 7 Barbecue skewers
- Print out a copy of the 7 birds in the story. This includes the 6 birds plus the guide and mentor the Hoopoe.
- Cut out the birds. We just cut around the birds and didn’t cut in high detail just some detail. Remember you need enough paper to tape the stick on the back.
- Using a barbecue skewer, place the pointed side up on the back side of the bird. Tape into place.
Recipient of the 2017 IBPA Ben Franklin Awards-Children’s/YA-New Voices GOLD Award!
Ascension by Hannah Rials
Enter this world of vampires, set in the south, and realize you are being pulled in more—and deeper—with each page.
Steeped in the mystery, intrigue and rich history of New Orleans and the secretive world of the Deuxsang, teen vampire, Cheyenne, and her forbidden love, Eli, embark on a very different, and vastly more dangerous, journey as the net of betrayal tightens around them. This intense and fresh novel is enchanting, engrossing and impossible to put down right up to the cliffhanger ending. Remember, the end is not the end.
What an extraordinary debut novel with new and intriguing twists on vampires—a strong female protagonist as one. I already can’t wait for book two.-Jill Murphy Long, author of The Conduit
This book is by the far the BEST YA/Adult fiction that I’ve read in a very long while. So exciting!-Rebecca F
The wait is over-Ascension is here! Thrilling and entertaining, like the experience on a crazy roller coaster. Hannah has grown into the most amazing writer. Watching her journey has been as much fun as holding the book in my hands. A “must read” for YA and thriller fans!-Valarie B