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Azizi and the Blue Bird

Region: North Africa

Author: Laïla Koubba

Original Language: Flemish

Translator: David Colmer

Illustrator: Matias De Leeuw

Genre: Fairytales

Descriptors: bluebirds; boys; corruption; dictators; heroes; revolutions.

Age: 9+ years old


Azizi and the Little Blue Bird, written by Laïla Koubba, an Algerian-born writer, and illustrated by Matias De Leeuw, is the story of a young boy named Azizi who becomes an unlikely hero to his people. At the start of the story Azizi notices some changes in his home, most notably the portraits of Crescent Moon’s rulers, Tih and Reni, being hung in his house, and less food to eat. Soon the cruel rulers command that all the blue birds be captured and stored in the glass cages above their palace. As time progresses, the people become more depraved and they grow smaller—as small as a pine nut. The rulers, on the other hand, grow like hot air balloons. One evening, a blue bird escapes Tih and Reni and enlists Azizi’s help in taking down the rulers. They gather a sewing needle, which is as big as a sword because of their new size, and use it as their weapon. Attached to the needle is threaded Jasmine flowers. The two fly to the rulers’ palace leaving jasmine flowers in their wake. Will they succeed in defeating the evil rulers? Azizi and the Blue Bird is a picture book that is larger than a typically sized book and filled with colorful illustrations that will draw readers of all ages in. However, due to the vocabulary, sentence structure, and content of the story, this book is recommended to children 9-years-old and up. The content deals with depravity, political revolutions, the overthrow of government, which could be unsettling to younger readers. That said, based on research, the book may have a deeper meaning connected to the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia and the role that social media, like Twitter (whose logo is a bluebird) played in overthrowing a corrupt president. Overall, this picture book would be an interesting introduction to the global political sphere for younger readers.

More About This Book

Reviewed: print book by Book Island (2015). ISBN 9780994109866. 24 p.

Reviewed by Raquel Martinez

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