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Children's Fiction Birds

Once, a Bird

by (author) Rina Singh

illustrated by Nathalie Dion

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Sep 2023
Birds, Seasons, City & Town Life
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2023
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2023
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 3 to 5
  • Grade: p to k
  • Reading age: 3 to 5


Once, as the winter ended, a little bird emerged to find the world had gone quiet.

The streets were empty and the playgrounds still. Puzzled but determined, the bird explores the town in search of a suitable place to nest. The residents of an apartment building notice her resting in a tree outside and take comfort in her song. Watching through their windows, they look beyond their lives and pause to appreciate the wonders of nature. The bird chooses to make this community her home and builds a nest, an act of resilience and hope that inspires the humans to emerge as well, reminding them that natural rhythms continue, seasons change and life goes on. Once again.

This wordless picture book is a hopeful contemplation of our interconnectedness with the natural world and the joy that nature brings us, even in unusual times.

About the authors

Rina Singh has published several critically acclaimed books for children inspired by her Indian Canadian heritage, including Diwali Lights, Holi Colors and Diwali: A Festival of Lights, which was nominated for the Red Cedar Award. Rina’s own grandmother never got the chance to go to school. Grandmother School is dedicated to her memory. Rina lives in Toronto with her family.

Rina Singh's profile page

NATHALIE DION is an illustrator living in Montreal who studied Design Arts at Concordia University. Her other children's books include I Found Hope in a Cherry Tree by Jean E. Pendziwol, The Biggest Puddle in the World by Mark Lee and What's in Your Purse? by Abigail Samoun. Nathalie has received a number of awards for her illustration and has exhibited her work in Montreal galleries.


Nathalie Dion's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“Great for encouraging conversation… The reciprocal relationship between the bird and the residents shows the comfort nature and connection can bring… A cute, simple, book with an inspiring message.”

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

★“A very wise book, speaking volumes…Share this at story hours, or hand it to the child struggling to read; this communicates essential truths without a word. Marvelous.”

School Library Journal, starred review

★“With cinematic fluidity, Dion’s marvellous watercolor, gouache, and digital illustrations evocatively convey Singh’s thoughtful wordless narrative…This multilayered wordless picture book has much to say about nature, renewal, and resiliency.”

Booklist, starred review

★“This sweet, understated story is wordless—a perfect way to tell it, as it requires youngsters to relate to the illustrations in a unique, profoundly personal way…Refreshing, beautiful, moving, and meaningful.”

Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Other titles by Rina Singh

Other titles by Nathalie Dion