Lali's Feather

by Farhana Zia (Author) Stephanie Fizer Coleman (Illustrator)

Lali's Feather
Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

A Vivacious and endearing #OwnVoices story of identification, values, and the rewards in looking closely and thinking imaginatively.

"This circular story has the ring of an Indian folk tale. Its art strikingly contrasts the warm bright colors of silks and spices with the lush turquoise of peacock feathers." --The New York Times

What would you do with a feather?

Lali finds a little feather in the field. Who might it belong to? Lali sets out to find the feather a home, but one bird after another rejects it. The feather is too small for Rooster, too slow for Crow, and too plain for Peacock. That is until Lali decides to keep the little feather and discovers all the things she can do with it, and the other birds begin to recognize its value.

Farhana Zia (The Garden of My Imaan) offers a charming tale with an inventive circular structure that reveals the importance of looking beyond first impressions. Illustrator Stephanie Fizer Coleman (Bird Count) brings this delightful story of imagination and inspiration to life.

Teacher's Guide available!

Parents' Choice Silver Honor / Parents' Choice Foundation

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Kirkus Reviews

Three cheers for this feisty girl of color and her big imagination. (Picture book. 3-6)

Copyright 2020 Kirkus Reviews, LLC Used with Permission

Publishers Weekly

Zia (Child of Spring) dives right into this buoyant tale, which draws its energy from folktale-like storytelling and lots of chatter. Lali, an Indian girl with a long black braid, finds a feather and asks the neighborhood birds one by one if it's theirs. They answer scornfully: "Na, Lali, na!" the rooster responds, "My feather is a big feather. It makes me a lordly bird." All right, Lali thinks--if it doesn't belong to any of the birds, she'll play with it herself. The feather can write, she finds, and fan and sweep. "Oo ma," Duck cries, "I didn't know pokey feather could do that!" Exclamations make the exchanges even funnier. "Wah! It's a clever feather!" the birds agree, showing a new appreciation for it. A third sequence begins when wind sweeps the feather away and the good-hearted birds offer Lali substitutes, then help her search. Stylized spreads by Coleman (the Who Made My Lunch? series) portray the birds and the mango and tamarind trees of Lali's world energetically but without detracting from the story's forward momentum. It's all dialogue all the time--a prime candidate for reading aloud. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Jennifer Unter, the Unter Agency. Illustrator's agent: Anne Moore Armstrong, the Bright Agency. (Apr.)

Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2--Lali is a little girl who finds a feather on a field, and goes off in search of its home. The story is set in a village in India which has many kinds of birds. Lali asks some of the birds if the feather belongs to them, but they all deny it and instead list the distinguishing features of their own feathers. Unable to find the owner, Lali decides to keep the feather and impresses the birds with her many possible uses for it. When a strong gust of wind blows Lali's feather away, the birds offer her their own feathers as a replacement, but she refuses. Soon, a crow finds her feather and they all play with it together for the rest of the day. The story highlights the significance of creativity, imaginative play, friendship, and empathy. Coleman's colorful illustrations are lively and detailed. Hindi words are mixed into the simple text. VERDICT This joyful book depicting empathy, friendship, and how to embrace rejection will attract kids from all backgrounds.--Noureen Qadir-Jafar, Syosset Library, NY

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"Zia expertly code-switches between Indian language-inspired slang and standard English, rendering the narratorial voice pleasantly distinct.... The author's use of the rule of threes...strikes a beautifully balanced storyline that is predictable yet surprising. The pictures accompanying the text are full of color and motion, depicting a lush, rural landscape and perfectly supporting the quick-moving protagonist. Three cheers for this feisty girl of color and her big imagination." —Kirkus Reviews
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
April 20, 2020
Parents' Choice
Silver Honor

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