In Maria Mockingbird and Her Gift by Glenn Schaefer and illustrated by Katie Nichols (published in 2011) a mockingbird learns to sing. As Maria Mockingbird explores the world around her, she believes that her singing can do amazing things like make the sun rise or turn off a streetlight. Maria brags to all her friends what special things she can do with her gift.

But, when Maria sings for them, her gift doesn’t seem to work. Maria becomes disappointed and thinks she doesn’t have a gift after all. The owl, who has been watching her, reminds Maria that she does have a gift. It isn’t the one she thinks. Maria’s true gift is her singing. The owl explains that as a songbird Maria knows the most songs and that she should not give up her gift. Maria is encouraged and sings with exuberance.

Maria Mockingbird and Her Gift is a picture book for ages 4-8. Children will enjoy reading this book as they imitate the sounds Maria makes. At the end of the book there is a fact sheet about mockingbirds. There is also a list of activities children can do with parents or teachers to learn more about the mockingbird and to help children discover their own gifts. The artwork is beautiful and realistic, giving the child a clear picture of what a mockingbird looks like.

J. D. Rempel is a graduate of Simpson College. She is endeavoring to pen a preteen science fiction novel and an adult fantasy series. She loves to read and started a library at her church. She enjoys working with her husband in youth ministry and has two dwarf hamsters, Lucy and Suzy.

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