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Third-grade teacher Francine reads aloud to her class from a letter written by her young friend, Malika. Sent from Sarajevo, the letter tells of the disappearance of Malika's parents and of the bomb that destroyed her family home and took the life of her pet bird. Shocked by the story, the children are eager to know how Francine will respond. The teacher recounts the touching love story of Malika and Picolo, the orphaned baby nightingale that the girl adopted and cared for. In a gesture of peace and solidarity with Malika, the schoolchildren decide to make a large white bird for her out of paper and send it east to the land where she lives.
This moving novel by Rollande Boivin is a reminder of the terrible impact that war can have on families and particularly on children who suddenly find themselves alone in the world. Black and white illustrations by Anna Budzynska-Lonc are interspersed within the narrative and they help to bring the main characters to life.