The King of the Birds
The King of the Birds
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Acree Graham Macam, illus. by Natalie Nelson
ISBN 9781554988518
Groundwood Books, 2016.
5 stars
Keywords: 4-7 acree-graham-macam ages king-birds

The King of the Birds
by Acree Graham Macam, illus. by Natalie Nelson

One of the most groundbreaking female writers from the South, Flannery O’Connor wrote numerous short stories, essays, and novels that dealt with faith and being a Southerner. In her real life, and as a child, she had an affinity for birds. In addition to teaching a chicken how to walk backwards, she had a special place in her heart for peacocks, which she had for most of her life. A new picture book by Acree Macam and Natalie Nelson, entitled The King of the Birds, tells the story of how young Mary Flannery O’Connor mail-ordered peacocks.


“The peafowl arrived by Railway Express from Eustis, Florida, on a mild day in October. When my mother and I arrived at the station, the crate was on the platform and from one end of it protruded a long, royal-blue neck and crested head.”


This account is taken from Flannery’s own essay titled “King of the Birds,” which is one among many essays that were published after her death in 1964 in a collection called Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose. Nelson’s bright, collaged illustrations of birds upon birds bring Macam’s words to life in The King of the Birds. Featuring a chicken that can walk backwards, a peacock, a peahen, and many peafowl, this book is a great read aloud, and kids will find it fun to make the peacock squawking noises!

Read the interview with both author and illustrator on the blog

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