Cover image for Courage to fly
Courage to fly
Harrison, Troon, 1958-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Calgary : Red Deer Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
32 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 29 cm.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.6 0.5 64704.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Alberta Children's Book of the Year
Alberta Book Illustration of the Year

Can she find courage in her new big city home?

Meg is new to the city with its tall buildings and long shadows. It's nothing like her Caribbean home. Here, the city closes in on her and she feels safe in her bedroom. But gradually she begins to discover that there's more to the city than she thought. For instance, there's the Chinese man who exercises in the courtyard near her apartment. His exercises are intricate and graceful, and they have interesting names.

One day on her way home from school, Meg finds a tiny swallow brought down by a sudden early snowstorm, and she takes it home to nurse it. Once it is better, she is reluctant to let the bird go, but her mother and the Chinese man both gently suggest that the bird needs to be free if it is going to live. Meg and her new friend, Jenny, both release the bird.

Courage to Fly captures the anxiety of a child who is alone in a new and strange world but whose imagination and courage are nourished by unexpected friendships.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

K^-Gr. 2. When Meg's family moves from the Caribbean to a big city (it could be New York), everything seems to intimidate Meg. One day she stops to watch an old Asian man glide through his martial arts exercises. Later, she rescues and nurses a swallow, which she wants to keep in a box until spring. The man, whom she meets again in the park, tells her that the bird needs to be free. With the help of another girl, Jenny, Meg lets the bird go, finding courage and making a friend of Jenny in the process. Attractive, realistic watercolors, reminiscent of E. B. Lewis' work, enliven the story, which carries an encouraging message for children who feel lost and afraid. Two minor problems: the text refers to the box being closed when the picture shows it open, and it's questionable whether a fearful little girl would speak to a strange man. Those points aside, there's gentleness in both the text and in the rendering of the multicultural cast and setting, lending strength and emotional content to this contemporary immigrant story. --Julie Cummins

Publisher's Weekly Review

Contrivances and a protracted narrative hamper this Canadian offering about a Caribbean girl struggling to adjust to a northern city. Meg is first met "huddled small inside herself like a frightened bird. Apartment towers were dark fingers blocking the sun." She spends most of her time in her apartment, the only place she feels safe. When she rescues a frozen swallow after a snowstorm, she is later reluctant to set it free from its protective box. Harrison's (Goodbye to Atlantis) lengthy, image-heavy chunks of text-especially sequences about a wise old Chinese man who practices martial arts in Meg's courtyard and whose "gentle eyes seemed to look right into her heart"-might lose the attention of younger readers. Huang (Buddha in the Garden) creates a meaningful contrast between outside scenes, rendered in cool grays and blues, and the warmer, comforting hues found inside Meg's home. While his soft lines, fuzzy edges and muted palette impart a peaceful tone, they don't quicken the drawn-out narrative. Nor are they enough to shake the work from its reliance on clichd analogy and stereotype. Ages 4-7. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 2-Meg and her family have left a serene Caribbean island to live in the big city. Everything frightens her and she feels safe only inside her own apartment. One day, during an early snowfall, she rescues a swallow from freezing. When she enlists her mother and the elderly Asian man who exercises in the courtyard to help her with it, they gently advise that she give the bird a chance to be courageous and try to fly south. The girl realizes they are right and releases the bird, as she herself takes her first willing steps outside and makes a friend. This oversized book is beautifully illustrated in lovely pastel watercolors, depicting Meg's gradual blossoming independence with soft realism. It's a good choice to read to a timid child, and should have a place in most collections.-Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.