flying eagle illustration

You can follow
Wisdom Tales Press on:

Facebook LogoPinterest Logo
buffalo illustration

Wisdom Tales Newsletter

Our periodic e-newsletters keep you up to date with our new books, special offers, etc. It is free, and easy to subscribe (or to unsubscribe):  just click on the secure button below.

Recent Videos on YouTube:

We have a playlist on the World Wisdom YouTube channel, featuring Crow tribe Sun Dance Chief and Medicine Man Thomas Yellowtail.

Click here to view and play any or all of the videos with Thomas Yellowtail, on the YouTube site.

Recent Honors

NYC Big Book Awards:

• Two Winner awards for:

The Clever Wife: A Kyrgyz Folktale

• Two Distinguished Favorite Awards for:

Little Bear: An Inuit Folktale

• Two Winner Awards for:

Zen and the Ten Oxherding Pictures

Wisdom Tales
is a member of:


Sharing the wisdom and beauty of cultures from around the world
Home > Children's Books > Pine and the Winter Sparrow

cover of Pine and the Winter Sparrow

Available Now

at your local bookseller or your favorite online book retailer.

View Sample Pages
Click on one of the
pdf icons below to see
sample pages in pdf
format in a new tab
or window
pdf iconpages 12-13
pdf iconpages 24-25
Pine and the Winter Sparrow
retold by: Alexis York Lumbard
illustrated by: Beatriz Vidal
foreword by: Robert Lewis
Subject(s): Age(s) / Grade level / Lexile:

Juvenile non-fiction

5+ / 1–2 / Lexile measure: 530L

Format: Size / page count:


8" × 10" / 28 pages

ISBN: Date available:


Available now




Have you ever wondered why pine trees stay green all winter long and don’t lose their leaves like other trees? According to an ancient legend attributed to the Cherokee Indians, it was a simple act of kindness towards an injured little bird that earned pine trees this very honor. Retold by award-winning author Alexis York Lumbard, this story invites readers to experience a world where trees and birds speak and interact with each other, and which shows us that no act of kindness and sharing goes unrewarded. Featuring beautiful paintings by multiple award-winning illustrator Beatriz Vidal, you will never look at pine trees in the same way again!

Alexis York Lumbard is the author of the award-winning book The Conference of the Birds (illustrated by Demi). Her most recent titles, Angels (illustrated by Flavia Weedn) and Everyone Prays (illustrated by Alireza Sadeghian), have been lauded by the critics since their release. A busy mother of three, she was motivated to write by her children, and the desire to create high quality stories to inspire young readers. She lives with her husband and three daughters in Natick, MA.

Beatriz Vidal is an award-winning Argentinean painter, illustrator, and teacher. Her work has appeared in well-known magazines such as The New York Times, Woman’s Day, and The New Yorker. Vidal won the prestigious Tomas Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award for her title A Library for Juana (written by Pat Mora), while her books Rainbow Crow (written by Nancy Van Laan) and Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain (written by Verna Aardema) were Reading Rainbow selections. Her artwork has featured in numerous exhibitions around the world, including The International Exhibition of Illustration for Children in Sarmede, Italy, and The Society of Illustrators in New York. Beatriz Vidal divides her time between Cordoba in Argentina and New York City.

Videos Related to the Book (hide/show)

The Book Trailer Video for
Pine and the Winter Sparrow

Watch the video below to get an idea of the story, and the look of the book.

Awards & Honors
  • Gold Medal in the “Illustration – Graphic” category of the 2015 Midwest Book Awards


  • Parents can download a 333KB file of a coloring page from this book. The full letter-size page features a large uncolored image of the Sparrow, ready for coloring. Click here for this file in jpg format in a new tab or window, which you can print out for your child's enjoyment, or right-click on the link for other options.

Reviews (hide/show)

“Lumbard (Everyone Prays) retells a Cherokee tale about why trees lose their leaves in winter  . . . The pacing of Lumbard’s telling builds suspense (‘Oak huffed and puffed. Then he huffed and puffed some more. Finally he grumbled, “Go away, little fellow” ’). The spreads by Vidal (A Library for Juana), with their fine detail and muted colors, vividly depict trees that vary vastly in color, shape, and leaf. The message about kindness is obvious, and the one about nature’s beauty and changes is subtle and visually persuasive. A foreword from Native American storyteller Robert Lewis connects Lumbard’s story, which has several variants among native peoples, to indigenous ideas about the sacredness of nature. Ages 4–up.”
Publishers Weekly
“The evergreen-ness of the pine tree is explained in a tale that's possibly Cherokee but definitely Native American. Sparrow has an injured wing but nevertheless thanks the Creator each day with his song. He cannot fly south with his family, though, as winter approaches. He seeks shelter first with Oak, then Maple, Elm and Aspen, but each tree rejects him, quite rudely. Pine, however, welcomes Sparrow, with an apology for his sticky branches and needlelike foliage, and tucks the little bird into a high, sheltered branch. When his family returns in the spring, Sparrow's wing has healed. The Creator calls a council, admonishing the trees that had so much but would not share, proclaiming that only Pine will be green all year: ‘Pine, your gift to Sparrow was a gift to Me.’ The language is simple, with an unornamented oral quality. Vidal has made effective patterns of birds and leaves that fill the pages as Sparrow goes from tree to tree looking for a way to survive the winter. The leaves of each tree are bright and recognizable in their autumn dress. A foreword by storyteller Robert Lewis, of Cherokee, Navajo and Apache lineage, and an author's note add background. A pleasing pourquoi tale.”
Kirkus Reviews
Pine and the Winter Sparrow is old native folklore retold by Alexis York Lumbard (with a foreword by Robert Lewis), and illustrated by Beatriz Vidal. In this delightful tale of a sparrow that must overwinter due to a hurt wing, children are taught the value of kindness and friendship, as well as a legend about the trees that has been passed down from the old storytellers. . . .

“In this simple tale, ‘the Creator’ is mentioned twice; however, it is not overtly religious and focuses mainly on the universal lessons of love and kindness. The writing and story are perfectly in sync with tone and thought, and the full-color illustrations are at once detailed and simple, pleasing to look at, and attention grabbing. When Pine says to Sparrow, ‘If you don’t mind my sticky branches and my needle-sharp leaves, then all that I am and all that I have is yours,’ the theme of gentleness and humility are fully revealed.

“With the beautiful pictures, easy reading style, and the fun of folklore, children ages four to seven, and their parents, will enjoy reading this sturdy hardcover book time and time again.”
ForeWord Reviews
“A foreword by Native American storyteller Robert Lewis and a lengthy author’s note regarding her source lend authenticity to this charming retelling of the Native American fable ‘Why the Trees Lose Their Leaves.’ . . . Vidal’s watercolor and pencil spreads progress from the bright colors of autumn to the stark purple-hued skies of winter and finally, after Creator’s decree, to a spread of evergreens scattered among the other trees, their branches bare against the snow-filled landscape. A fine discussion-starter about the importance of kindness.”
School Library Journal
Pine and the Winter Sparrow is the picturebook retelling of an ancient legend attributed to the Cherokee Indians, about how pine trees stay green throughout the winter because of the kindness they once showed towards an injured little sparrow. Award-winning author/illustrator team Alexis York Lumbard and Beatriz Vidal bring this powerful fable about the virtue of charity to life. Pine and the Winter Sparrow will reach ages 4 and up  . . . and parents will find this story lends to a lovely read-aloud experience and early discussion of giving. The gentle drawings are lovely embellishments to the story. Highly recommended, especially for public and school library children's picturebook collections.”
Children's Bookwatch
“While there are many legends explaining why pine trees retain their greenery during the winter months, this one, attributed to the Cherokees, is satisfying since it also teaches compassion. Grounded with an injured wing, Sparrow cannot migrate as the air turns colder, and his family starts their long journey to warmer climes. Looking for compassion, he seeks shelter from several different trees. Despite their abundant leaves, they all turn him down. Finally, when Sparrow is almost too cold and exhausted to continue, Pine offers a place to stay. The Creator rewards the tree for its generosity to the bird, and proclaims that the pine will remain evergreen. Filled with soft, lovely illustrations, the book strongly exemplifies kindness to others in need, making it an especially appealing read aloud.”
Literacy Daily (from the International Literacy Association,
Pages 20-11 from the book “Pine and the Winter Sparrow”, written by Alexis York Lumbard and illustrated by Beatriz Vidal

A sample of Beatriz Vidal’s illustrations from the book Pine and the Winter Sparrow,
an American Indian story retold by Alexis York Lumbard.

Home About Us Contact Us Press Page Privacy Notice FAQs
Copyright © 2012 World Wisdom, Inc.

flying eagle illustration

horses illustration
illustration of a woman in a sari