Bird Boy is marketed as an “Inclusive Children’s Book.” And while I am not sure what the criteria is for that, the results of Matthew Burgess and Shahrzad Maydani’s book is one that shows you how to be yourself and shows that we are all different but similar at the same time. We are rainbow colors, and maybe use wheelchairs or have glasses, but we can play, have fun, and enjoy nature, and be ourselves with our friends.
What happens when you are a shy kid, starting a new school, do not have friends and are feeling a bit more than a little lost? When you are Nico, you are left to your own devices and find ways to have fun. Like having the birds of the playground show you how to use your imagination. However, this brings teasing from his classmates and the nickname “Bird Boy.” Yet, this does not stop our hero! They embrace this idea, mimicking the movements and feelings the birds have and “give” to Nico. Of course, in the end, by just being himself, the Nico makes special friends. These are friends who are happy that he can be himself, and they can be themselves with him.
Nico is a fun character to watch and learn with. The dreamy attitude that surrounds him and the illustrations of Maydani sets the tone. The cover sets the tone of everything to come. It is light-hearted, but not at the expense of the message. The pages are filled, crowded to a level of comfort. And the modern ideal of self-acceptance is not pushy, but just the right amount.