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Lila and the Crow

Lila and the Crow

3.5 2
by Gabrielle Grimard (Illustrator)

Lila has just moved to a new town and can't wait to make friends at school. But on the first day, a boy points at her and shouts: “A crow! A crow! The new girl's hair is black like a crow!” The others whisper and laugh, and Lila's heart grows as heavy as a stone.

The next day, Lila covers her hair. But this time, the boy points at her dark skin.


Lila has just moved to a new town and can't wait to make friends at school. But on the first day, a boy points at her and shouts: “A crow! A crow! The new girl's hair is black like a crow!” The others whisper and laugh, and Lila's heart grows as heavy as a stone.

The next day, Lila covers her hair. But this time, the boy points at her dark skin. When she covers her face, he mocks her dark eyes. Now every day at school, Lila hides under her turtleneck, dark glasses, and hat. And every day when she goes home, she sees a crow who seems to want to tell her something. Lila ignores the bird and even throws rocks at it, but it won't go away.

Meanwhile, the great autumn festival is approaching. While the other kids prepare their costumes, Lila is sadder and lonelier than ever. At her lowest point of despair, a magical encounter with the crow opens Lila's eyes to the beauty of being different, and gives her the courage to proudly embrace her true self.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
New in town, Lila hopes to make friends at school but is instead taunted by her classmates. Led by a redheaded boy named Nathan, the children point and laugh at Lila, describing her hair, skin, and eyes as being “black like a crow” (in reality, her skin is light brown). In her first outing as an author, illustrator Grimard (Not My Girl) delivers a painful story of exclusion and bullying, tinged with magic. As the days pass, Lila covers her features with a scarf, sweater, and glasses while rejecting an actual crow that seems to be reaching out to her. Grimard’s windswept paintings emphasize Lila’s isolation as the story builds to a triumphant conclusion brought about when she sees a crow up close: “She’s surprised to see how beautiful its black feathers are, highlighted with purple.” After “hundreds of crows” descend and encircle the girl, she gathers their feathers to create a crow costume for an upcoming school festival, reclaiming her nickname and winning over her classmates. Though this turnaround comes a bit easily, Grimard’s story never sugarcoats the depths of Lila’s hurt. Ages 5–8. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Newcomer Lila can't wait to start school and make new friends. However, during the first recess, her dreams are crushed when the ringleader taunts her: "A crow! A crow! The new girl's hair is black like a crow!" She tries to hide her hair, but the next day she is mocked for her black skin and, subsequently, her black eyes. After weeks of misery, she falls down on her way home, and as she sobs, a crow lands near her. She sees how beautiful the bird actually is, and she follows it to a tree filled with crows. She is full of wonder, and when the flock of birds fly off, they leave Lila with piles of glossy feathers, with which she constructs a fantastic crow costume. She wears her costume to school in triumph, happy to be called a crow, and wins the friendship of her class. The mixed-media paintings are emotive and appealing, but on most spreads Lila's skin is hardly discernible as darker than that of her pale classmates, making it rather baffling when the bully yells, "The new girl's skin is black like a crow!!" Aside from that, there seem to be a variety of ethnicities represented in the classroom. Lila will surely garner sympathy and may inspire children to be kinder to others. VERDICT Possibly useful as a discussion starter, this title offers little in the way of practical solutions for those being bullied. An additional purchase for most libraries.-Anna Haase Krueger, Ramsey County Library, MN
Kirkus Reviews
A lonely, bullied child comes to proudly claim the label her tormentors give her, refusing to let their hateful judgment determine her self-worth. Lila, a brown-skinned, black-haired girl of ambiguous ethnicity, is initially filled with joy at the prospect of making friends at her new school. Unfortunately, one boy in the classroom of fair-skinned children taunts her, jeering that her hair, skin, and eyes are “dark like a crow!!” This may confuse some young readers, as her skin is clearly a light brown. As the bullying escalates, Lila becomes isolated, the other children moving from passive bystanders to active participants in her persecution. A kindly and persistent crow who waits for Lila as she heads home from school each day helps her shift from trying to hide her appearance to appreciating and celebrating it. This newfound confidence inspires Lila to make a dramatic gesture that changes the dynamics in the classroom for the better. Translated from the French, this is the first book written by Québecoise illustrator Grimard and has obvious uses for starting conversations about embracing differences, being an upstander rather than a bystander, and the reclamation of words used as insults. The element of magical realism and luminous watercolor illustrations give this story a fairy-tale–like appeal, quite different from that of purely message-driven anti-bullying books. Though hardly a bullying silver bullet, this is an artful take on resilience. (Picture book. 5-8)

Product Details

Annick Press, Limited
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.20(d)
AD610L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Gabrielle Grimard has illustrated over 30 picture books, including When I Was Eight and Not My Girl for Annick Press. This is her first book as both author and illustrator. She lives in Quebec, Canada.

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Lila and the Crow 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
hermitlibrarian 8 months ago
This book is, on the surface, a rather nice one about learning to accept the things about yourself that make you different regardless of what anyone else says. It's when I began to think about it a little further that I got a bit sad for Lila. Lila is a new student at school. She's fairly young, but not so young that she doesn't run into bullies. One in particular makes her so ashamed of the way that she looks that she comes to school each day hiding another facet of herself: her hair, her eyes, her skin. To be taken down that harshly so quickly is sad. She does eventually learn to love herself in spite of this bully's cruel words with the help of a crow that lives nearby and refuses to leave her alone, even when she's at her lowest. What made me sad thinking back on this story was that while yes, it is a good story about learning to love yourself, no human helps Lila. No teacher or adult notices what she goes through. The bully probably won't change in the end, though at the school's festival he doesn't say anything about her fantastic crow costume. It's a reflective story of what often happens to children that get bullied. A lot of adults don't notice and while some, like Lila, might be able to find their way, a lot won't. It's important to keep an eye out and notice things. You just don't know what will happen if you don't.
KateUnger 11 months ago
This book is kind of sad. A young girl is being teased, pretty badly, about her dark hair, dark skin, and dark eyes. The other kids in the class say she looks like a crow. Lila, who is new in town, is lonely and desperate for a friend when she first starts school. But because of the relentless teasing, she tries to hide herself under a cap, a sweater, and dark glasses. On her walk home from school everyday, a crow caws at her and makes her mad. Until there is a festival and Lila is in need of a costume, she thinks being called a crow is horrible (which it is!). But then she notices how beautiful crows are and decides to dress as one. This book reveals he harsh reality of being different, of being the new person, and of not fitting in. There is some resolution at the end, but it's more a message of acceptance than of sticking up for yourself or asking for help. That didn't sit well with me. I wanted to see Lila conquer her bullies. I was hoping a new friend would step in. Or that a teacher might notice. I could see this book helping kids develop empathy perhaps. It's geared towards an older audience - ages 6 to 8 - because of the content and the volume of words. The illustrations were wonderful, but the story was just a bit too grim for my taste. http://www.momsradius.com/2016/10/kid-lit-lila-and-crow.html