Yellow Bird and Me

by Joyce Hansen

Published: October 2005
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Pages: 168
Paperback
ISBN: 9780618611164

       

Overview of Yellow Bird and Me

In a sequel to The Gift-Giver, Doris reluctantly starts helping Yellow Bird, the class clown, with his reading problem. To her surprise, Doris finds that in caring for and helping Bird, she develops a new friend. "Smoothly written and easy to read; the language with touches of colloquial black English, has strength and vitality . . . the story is particularly valuable for its emphasis on friendship, generosity of spirit, and seeing what's below the surface." -- Kirkus Reviews

Doris becomes friends with Yellow Bird as she helps him with his studies and his part in the school play and discovers that he has a problem known as dyslexia.

Synopsis of Yellow Bird and Me

In a sequel to THE GIFT-GIVER, Doris reluctantly starts helping Yellow Bird, the class clown, with his reading problem. To her surprise, Doris finds that in caring for and helping Bird, she develops a new friend.

Publishers Weekly

In this sentimental sequel to The Gift-Giver, Doris begins her narration only a few weeks after her friend Amir has left the Bronx for his new home in Syracuse. Doris is moody and depressed, missing Amir so much that all she can think about is earning enough money to go visit him. Nothing is working out for her, though, as her friends tease her, her new teacher Mrs. Barker is mean, her parents won't let her keep her job at the beauty parlor, and crazy Yellow Bird keeps pestering her to help him with his reading problem. When Amir writes back, he tells Doris not to come yet and to take care of Bird. Reluctantly, Doris discovers that despite his problem, Bird is smart and a good friend. Bird's difficulties are too big for Doris to handle by herself, and with the help of the new drama club teacher, Bird gets the lead in the play. There are surprises for both Bird and Doris at the end of the story, and a final letter to Amir shows that Doris has learned how to become her own ``Amir.'' The vibrant inner-city setting and Bird's charm make this a pleasant read. (8-12)

About the Author, Joyce Hansen

Joyce Hansen, a former New York City schoolteacher, is a well-known author of both fiction and nonfiction and a four-time Coretta Scott King Honor recipient. Born and raised in the Bronx, Ms. Hansen now lives in West Columbia, South Carolina.

Reviews of Yellow Bird and Me

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Editorials

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly

In this sentimental sequel to The Gift-Giver, Doris begins her narration only a few weeks after her friend Amir has left the Bronx for his new home in Syracuse. Doris is moody and depressed, missing Amir so much that all she can think about is earning enough money to go visit him. Nothing is working out for her, though, as her friends tease her, her new teacher Mrs. Barker is mean, her parents won't let her keep her job at the beauty parlor, and crazy Yellow Bird keeps pestering her to help him with his reading problem. When Amir writes back, he tells Doris not to come yet and to take care of Bird. Reluctantly, Doris discovers that despite his problem, Bird is smart and a good friend. Bird's difficulties are too big for Doris to handle by herself, and with the help of the new drama club teacher, Bird gets the lead in the play. There are surprises for both Bird and Doris at the end of the story, and a final letter to Amir shows that Doris has learned how to become her own ``Amir.'' The vibrant inner-city setting and Bird's charm make this a pleasant read. (8-12)

School Library Journal

Gr 5-8 Hansen's familiarity with reading problems and young people is evident in her credible characters and lively dialogue that rings true. Doris, a black sixth grader, loses her best friend, Amir, when his foster parents place him in a group home. Missing her friend, Doris is absorbed in writing letters and a poem to Amir and in plotting ways to earn money to pay him a visit. However, Yellow Bird, whose silly antics make him the class clown, insists on claiming her attention, pleading with Doris to help him with his school work. Bird's reading problemdyslexiagoes unrecognized by teachers and administrators, and he is labeled as slow and disruptive. When tryouts for the new drama club reveal Yellow Bird's gift for acting and improvisation, Doris becomes determined to make others recognize Bird's real intelligence and talent. This perceptive sequel to The Gift-Giver (Clarion, 1980) stands successfully on its own. Deborah M. Locke, Westbrook High School, Maine

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