The Bird Within Me Flies Wherever it Wants

The Bird Within Me Flies Wherever it Wants

Sara Lundberg

Original Title
Fågeln i mig flyger vart den vill
Mirando Books, 2017
Graphic novels
Picture Book
Rights Sold
English World
Simplified Chinese
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The Bird Within Me Flies Wherever it Wants

Sara Lundberg

What do you do when it feels impossible to live up to everything that is expected of you? What do you do when the only person who understands you disappear? When you are young and carry a longing for something that you can hardly put words on?

Berta was born in 1910 on a farm in a small village in northern Sweden. During her childhood, she lost both her sister and her beloved mother in tuberculosis, the severe lung disease that affected so many people in the early 1900s.

She knew early on that she wanted to be an artist and took a stand against the many conventions that existed when it came to work, family and dreams.

The Bird Within Me Flies Wherever It Wants is based on the life of artist Berta Hansson but it is also a universal story of grief, longing, intransigence and the power of imagination to change.

Press voices

The August Prize jury’s motivation:
“What does it mean to “follow you dreams”? What kind of sacrifice, work and pain does it imply? In <i>The Bird Within Flies Wherever It Wants, Sara Lundberg has interpreted and reflected on the artist Berta Hansson’s (1910-1994) striking and unique life story. The result is a beautiful, vital children’s book about art and life, which inspires readers to dare to follow their own bird wherever they want.”

The CILIP jury’s motivation:
The book provides an intense visual experiences and provides readers with shifting perspectives on Berta, her life and her often conflicting sense of priorities concerning her mother’s deteriorating health and her own burgeoning interest in art. The way the story draws upon different artistic styles and media is effective and adds to the wide-reaching nature of the story. The emotion captured within the pictures is stunning and there’s a sense of unfulfilled longing which captures some of the sadness and grief. The format of the book almost feels like an artist’s sketchbook itself adding to the intimacy of the story. A feast for the eyes.

The Bird Within Flies Wherever It Wants is a perfect refrain for a young rebel. (…) The greater story is about following one’s heart. To follow when the bird within oneself wants to fly wild.” Gunilla Brodej, Expressen

The Bird Within Flies Wherever It Wants</i> is a piece of (women’s) history for the youngest, but executed in a fashion of high artistic originality – never preachy or stilted. The illustrations are incredibly beautiful, I would like to frame every one of them and hang on the wall. The language is poetic and lovely, and full of implicit sorrow and longing. […] This is children’s literature at its finest.” Ida Therén, ETC (23/8 2017).

Sara Lundberg’s illustrations: there are no words […] an extraordinary beautiful book in every way: cover, title, binding and content.” Prickiga Paula (27/8 2017)

(…) This book shouldn’t be missed, by neither children nor adults (…) A double art experience is offered here – in addition to the finest class illustrations, the beautiful edition is no less than an artist’s biography of the most congenial kind.” Västerbottens-Kuriren

It’s not merely a book to be read, it’s a story to live and breathe and to hold on to. I think it’s a stunning book. Absolutely beautiful!”  Alison King, Five Books

Books by Sara Lundberg

Winner of the August Prize 2017

Winner of the Snowboll Prize for Best Swedish Children Book 2018

100 Outstanding Picture Books Selection (dPictus)

Nominated for the Nordic Council Literary Prize

Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2021

White Ravens selection

Winner of le Prix Sorcières 2023, category Carrément Sorcière Fiction