by Luis Spulveda, published in English 2003
“It’s very easy to accept and love those who are like us, but to love someone different is very hard, and you have helped us do that. You are a seagull, and you must follow your destiny as a seagull. You must fly.”
What a beautiful piece of children’s literature this book is. Hopefully no one else in the gym noticed me while I stood on the treadmill with tears in my eyes from the poignant and beautiful ending. The intention and the outcome of the story are uplifting and bold. The messages completely overshadow any possible writing flaws.
There are so many ways to read this story. One is that it is a heartfelt plea to the adults of the world to look at what we are doing to the oceans. That message comes across loud and clear, and is painfully true. So for anyone hoping to impart an environmental sensitivity to children, this is a perfect book.
The book’s concurrent message is about honoring and celebrating differences. From the opening pages, I kept thinking about parents who adopt children from a different culture. The children’s book makes a strong, direct statement of loving other because of and for their differences.
This book could easily be read aloud to younger children age 7 and up, though the beginning is quite sad as the seagull dies. Independent readers of 8 and over can certainly read and love this book on their own. The book exists in paperback and hardback.