By: Ingrid Laguna
Genre: YFB - General fiction (Children's / Teenage)
Published by: Text Publishing
Published: 7 May 2019
ISBN: 9781925773538


Pf Book Of The Month

Jamila has left her friends, her school and her home in Iraq, and now she has a new home. It's safe in Australia, but Jamila is finding it hard to settle in. She misses her best friend and worries for her dad's safety back in Iraq. It's hard to speak and write in English all day. And Jamila has a secret she wants to keep hidden.

When she joins the choir, Jamila begins to feel happy. Singing helps take her worries away. And singing will help her find her place in her new life, a place where she can shine.

Songbird is a tender story about belonging, about the importance of friendship and asking for help, and about the parts of our lives we keep concealed.


This is a lovely story about the plight of an underdog who is filled with goodness.

Jamila is a refugee from Iraq, having escaped with her mother and younger brother. She wants to adapt and succeed in this new world and dreams of her father joining them in Australia.

She is bullied horribly at school, and keeps getting taken out of class to help her mother with everyday chores because her mother cannot communicate in English. This frustrates Jamila as she really wants to fit in.

She makes one true friend and through their love of singing they join the choir and form a strong bond. So when Jamila’s mother insists on Jamila coming to the airport to welcome their Uncle to Australia, instead of performing her dream of a solo at the school concert, Jamila cracks.

The ending is delightful and uplifting and I shed more than one tear of joy (it reminded me of the powerful ending to the incredible novel Wonder).

This is a terrific middle-grade novel that is suitable to all readers aged 9 and older.

With themes of belonging, friendship, family and resilience, I highly recommend this beautiful story.

Reviewed by Rob