Sibert Award Winner – Parrots Over Puerto Rico

When I reviewed Parrots Over Puerto Rico earlier this month, I knew it was a great book.  Now everyone knows it!  Parrots Over Puerto Rico was chosen as the winner of this year’s Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children.

Roth, Susan L. and Cindy Trumbore. 2013. Parrots Over Puerto Rico. New York: Lee & Low.

Using highly detailed collage art, and employing many textured and brightly colored materials, Susan L. Roth has created a book that accurately portrays the colors of the island and evokes the stunning beauty of the endangered parrots of Puerto Rico. Designed to be read “portrait style,” the collages cover about 2/3 of each double-spread layout.  Cindy Trumbore’s narrative appears in a simple black font in the bottom third of the collage against a plain, complementary-colored background.

As stunning as it is, the artwork is not the only thing to love about Parrots over Puerto Rico. An astute teacher’s dream, Parrots takes a holistic view of the parrots’ rapid decline and slow slog back to viability in the wild.  As the story of the American Bison is forever entwined with the story of American Westward expansion, the Puerto Rican’s parrot story is entwined with that of the Tainos, the Spaniards, and the Americans, as well as that of invasive species, and natural disasters like Hurricane Hugo.

Existing for millions of years on the island of Puerto Rico, they once numbered in the hundreds of thousands, and by 1975, had dwindled to only 13.

Above the treetops of Puerto Rico flies a flock or parrots as green as their island home.  If you look up from the forest, and you are very lucky, you might catch the bright blue flashes of their flight feathers and hear their harsh call.

These are Puerto Rican parrots.  They lived on this island for millions of years, and then they nearly vanished from the earth forever.  This is their story.

Read my complete review and see a video of these beautiful parrots at Shelf-employed.