Title: A Feather on a Wing
Author and Illustrator: Maria Speyer
Publisher: University of Queensland Press – UQP
Publication date: 31 May 2022
Themes: Belonging, comfort, adventure, lullabies, bedtime stories
Additional notable information:
Teachers’ Notes can be downloaded from the UQP website here.
A Feather on a Wing choral arrangement can be found here.
You can listen to A Feather on a Wing lullaby here.
A Feather on a Wing by Maria Speyer, Danish-born artist, author and illustrator and published by University of Queensland Press (UQP) is a beautiful affirming story where a young girl uses an array of metaphors of connection and interdependence, many of which relate to children’s play and adventure, to share with her younger sister relatable and evocative examples which highlight that you are never alone. The cover captures the essence of this exquisite lyrical story as it deftly illustrates the freedom and comfort that comes from knowing you are part of something bigger.
This tender story, told in rhyme transports me back to bedtime during my childhood when I shared a room with my sister. Even though we had each other in the room, often one of us would ask the other, “are you still awake”? This one question that only required a one word answer was always the catalyst for so much more. It led to stories, giggles and most treasured of all, solace and the comfort to blissfully drift off to sleep. In this book, a young girl reaches out to her sister about the fact that she feels lonely in the dark. Her older, caring sister assures her that she is not alone and with the power of imagination takes her sister on a journey through places and times that demonstrate she is a part of something that makes up a whole. She paints such beautiful imagery of belonging and the strength, beauty and power in this.
The stunning nuanced illustrations are full of exquisite details as well as emotion that illuminate and enrich the text. They provide more clues about the strong, loving, loyal and tender bond the sisters share. A muted pastel colour palette has been used and this amplifies the dreamy and soothing quality of this story. These colours have a sense of lightness and frivolity in them. The astute young reader will detect that different colours have been employed throughout to represent each of the girls (turquoise for the older sister and coral for the younger sister).
This is a calming story to read aloud as well as a comforting lullaby which can be listened to here. There is also a music score included at the back of the book.
This book strikes me as being perfect for this year’s CBCA theme of “Dreaming with eyes open…”as the older sister inspires her younger sister to use her imagination as she shares such vivid metaphorical turns of phrase. These empower her sister to practise mindfulness by building strong images in her mind where she is not alone and part of something bigger. Together they are dreaming and visualising a world through a different perspective, a lens of connectedness and belonging rather than loneliness.