Cover Image: Paper Boat, Paper Bird

Paper Boat, Paper Bird

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Member Reviews

Another beautiful book by David Almond about the power of connection. He manages to convey so much with so few words. Lovely illustrations too.

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The most beautiful short story that I have read in a while! David Almond has portrayed the beauty in simplicity and every day life in Mina’s adventure in Japan. Coupled with the beautiful illustrations, I am now ready to book a holiday to Japan and to spend my time learning origami! Having a love for Japan and its culture already, I was drawn to this story from the outset and it captured many elements of Japan wonderfully. It was a delightful read and is much the messages within are deeper than I originally imagined. It captures the power of a simple gesture of kindness, the power of friendship, how we should take the opportunity to appreciate life around us and how there can be magic in the world, we just need to take the time to find it.

After having read the ARC of this on my iPad, I will be purchasing the hardback copy of this story as I know that it will be one that I will go back to appreciate again and again. A moment has to be taken to appreciate the artwork that fills the book too; again it is simple, but beautiful. This is a book that should be on everyone’s bookshelves! Even if you haven’t read any of David’s other works, it would not detract from the enjoyment of this work.

Thank you NetGalley, David Almond and Hodder Children’s Books for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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This is a highly imaginative story about Mina's travels on a bus in Kyoto, where she meets a woman who introduces her to origami by making a boat and then a bird.

Mina is transported by the experience, and begins to view the world around her in a different way. The accompanying illustrations do a great job of conveying this.

The writer has packed a lot into this little tale, and some things are conveyed by implication - like Mina's effects to speak Japanese with the few words that she knows.

It is a sweet little story, and will ignite the middle grade reader's imagination as well as conveying the joy of travel.

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3.5/5 A beautifully illustrated middle grade novel inspired by the author's trip to Japan with his own daughter. The story is told from the perspective of Mina, a young girl who is visiting Japan with her mother. Nina experiences wonder and awe at the beautiful origami gifted to her by a stranger, and readers will be awed themselves by the wonderful pictures that accompany this short, heartwarming tale.
I would happily recommend this to children aged 8+ who enjoy stories with an air of magic/mystery, or who like to explore other cultures in their reading.
Thank you to and Hodder Children's books for the free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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This is another great book by David Almond. This time David Almond sets his story in Japan but still brings a very personal portrait of the place. You can feel the same strong connection with Mina from previous stories. Additionally, connections and friendships is what this book explore. I adore the writer and his work. Thank you again, David.

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Mina is an endlessly captivating character for children and adults alike.

Almond's writing has managed to harness the childhood whimsy we believe is tied solely to the young and marries it with the weighed thoughts and consequences we believe are tied solely to adults. It makes for a charming read that builds on the character of Mina established in his earlier novels.

I shared this with the children in my class who had read Almond's other works and they were compelled throughout. Although, a few commented that the book loses some of its 'magic' after the halfway mark.

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I originally requested this book on NetGalley last year when it was due out in hardback. I didn't get around to reading it as my TBR pile was so big. However, as the paperback is due on the 2nd February 2023 I've finally had the opportunity to read it and I am so grateful that I have.

The timing of reading it now seems to have stumbled upon me serendipitously as I am currently learning Japanese on Duolingo and I'm teaching an Origami workshop next week. Isn't it funny how the universe works.

There's a beauty in the simplicity of this book. Although Mina is a character from David Almond's previous books you don't need to have read the others to read this story. It's shorter than what I was expecting in length but a pure delight to read and meant I've read it more than once.

I love that at the end of the book David tells you the true background to the story and for children it's a wonderful way for them to understand how some authors shape their writing from their real life experiences. Taking the essence of their adventure and forming it into something new.

Mina and her Mother are visiting Japan. The description of their first encounter with Japan is one that truly resonates with my travels to Japan; it's such a magical place.

While in Kyoto on their way to visit Kinkaka-ji (Golden Temple) on a bus Mina observes a lady folding an Origami boat and a bird that she gifts to Mina. Mina replicates her own and puts out her simple token of friendship into the world.

This story brought back so many wonderful memories for me. I too travelled on buses and the shinkansen in Japan folding different animals on exquisite Japanese Origami paper. I too had been taught by a Japanese lady who we met. I made lots of cranes!

I received an electronic ARC of this book on my Kindle and so I got a hint of the beautiful artwork in the book by Kirsti Beautyman - I would love to see a physical copy to be able to admire Kirsti's work fully.

It's a story of hope, innocence and friendship. Of discovering the new through the simplicity of the everyday. New words, new foods, new places and new people. A book to fill your heart with warmth and have you re-reading over and over. It's a highly recommended read from me.

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I have purchased this book. I love David Almond and Mina is a character I carry with me. I recommend Mina stories to all girls I meet and will be prompting this and the previous Mina to all the Ks2 at my school.

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Paper Boat Paper Bird
By David Almond
Published by Hodder Children’s books

A beautiful new story from the bestselling, prize-winning author David Almond. He cleverly writes whilst exploring the magic of the everyday, we so often miss out on, unseen due to our busyness.

Mina, journeys to Kyoto in Japan and discovers the wonders of the world around her. 
Such beautiful writing sits parallel to the stunning illustrations by Kirsti Beautyman in black and orange throughout. 

The journey starts with Mina on a bus. Everything is strange but beautiful. She watches a woman fold a piece of paper into an origami boat, then floats it over to her. She takes it in her hands, a gift that takes her on an exploratory journey throughout Kyoto, with her eyes open to a real city with secret beauties nestled within. Mina knows nothing of the journey this boat will sail her to or around but by allowing herself to see she discovers so much more. 

Read the words and the pictures to discover the magic of the everyday just like Mina and take a little of her ethos in your everyday life. To look is to discover, to discover is to enjoy, to enjoy is to love and to live happily ever after.

Joanne Bardgett - Year 3 teacher of littlies, lover of books

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When picking up a David Almond book, you know that it will get under yourskin and hit your emotions. And this new book from the iconic author is no different! Beautiful from start to finish.

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A short yet charming story, exploring the impact friends can have on us.
Travelling in Japan and given a paper bird, which offers freedom and a chance to learn about those that made it. Beautiful illustrations, and the love for the place/subject shines through.

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This is David Almond so you know it’s going to be wonderful. Even better – it’s about Mina which I loved more than Skellig.
Mina is in Japan with her Mum and on a bus sees a woman absorbed in origami. When she notices Mina is fascinated, she demonstrates how to make a boat and a bird and gives Mina the paper to do it herself. Although Mina’s first attempts are not as polished, she still manages to make a boat that she floats away and adds her name to it before leaving it and exploring the city further which she obviously enjoys.
The following day Miyako discovers the boat floating in the water and retrieves it.
Simple cultural traditions can bring together the old and young and young and young too. A language divides them but the origami lady understands Mina, as does Miyako.
The narrative is accompanied by effective lines drawings from Kirsti Beautyman which perfectly match the Japanese cultural experience.
The afterword at the end of the book is slightly longer than usual but is a story in its own right as Almond explains what prompted him to write the story and this just adds to the enjoyment.

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I really enjoyed both the simpliciity and the evocative nature of this short and meaningful book - about friendship, about chance encounters. Wonderfully atmospheric. I especially enjoyed reading David Almond's inspiration for the tale at the end of the book too.

Magical, hopeful and delightful

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A short and beautifully simple story about exploring, adventures and the kindness of strangers. Mina is in a bus in Kyoto, a lady is doing origami and gives Mina a boat and a bird, these are the start of her adventure.

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I fell in love with Mina when I first became a school librarian and 'My Name is Mina' is one of my favourite stories, so I was very excited to see this book was available. David Almond is a such a magical, lyrical and thoughtful writer who gets to the heart or human being and this book did not disappoint. Short and beautifully formed, we follow Mina and her mum to Japan where the magic of the city unfolds through origami. This simple yet magical tale is enhanced further by the stunning illustrations of Kirsti Beautyman.

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A beautifully written and beautifully illustrated book. I loved the origami aspect to this story and the stunning journey it takes the protagonist on!

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This book held great appeal for me to cover a space in the market where there are some, but not many, books - picture books to link with topics for older children. Although I have enjoyed the content I feel a physical book would do the atmospheric pictures more justice and therefore the book would.have greater 'likability'.
Still, a beautiful book with a great storyline.

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This is such a beautiful, gentle story with a wonderful illustration style. The writing is light and interspersed between the imagery, creating an immersive reading experience. The use of a limited colour palette gives it a very recognisable style, and works really well with the subject of Japanese culture and life.

The characters are really sweet. I've not actually read the author's other work, but I'm aware they link in - this didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book though. Some areas did seem a bit vague so maybe there's where the pre-knowledge would have helped.

Overall it's well put together, and has a lovely message about culture, friendship and discovery, so I think this would be great for young children (and older readers of course!).

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Beautiful story, written in a simple but metaphorical , almost poetic way. I think it’s unnecessary for me to try explaining my understanding of this book as everyone can take the story of Mina’s origami boat and bird in a different way. Let me just say, “Paper boat, paper bird” is 100% worth reading by readers of all ages , even if just for the amazing art. Thank you NetGalley for giving me the pleasure of reading this book.

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Paper Boat, Paper Bird is a beautiful and poetic book from David Almond about friendship and connections. It’s a simple story and a quick read that would be enjoyed by many. It was a little too simplistic and abstract for my tastes but it’s undeniably beautiful.

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