Skip to content

Boundless Sky


Amanda Addison, illus. Manuela Adreani   
Age 5-7 years

One Autumn day a small bird embarks on a long journey, over land and sea, crossing a desert where she rests in an oasis and meets a young girl called Leila who offers her a welcome drink. Bird’s journey continues to her summer home. On her return journey, Bird cannot find Leila, she is gone. We find out Leila has embarked on a long journey of her own. This is a story of a dual migration, of a swallow and a young girl, possibly a refugee. Their journeys mirror each other and weave together.

A beautifully illustrated story suggesting the wonder of bird migration which draws parallels with the movement of humans. It suggests the importance of offering help to those in need.

Watch the story read aloud by its author, Andrea Addison.


lovemybooksactivitiesorangecentreShare the story

Read aloud
Before beginning to read the story to your child look at the cover and end papers together, follow the flights of Bird with your fingers and talk about what the title might mean. Pause after the first page of text to think about how amazing it is that a bird might flying half way around the world.

Read the story aloud to your child to find out what happens and talk about it together. Read it again more slowly a second time so that you can really look closely at the detailed illustrations together.

Join in

If you make a bird puppet (see below) your child could hold it and let it fly from page to page as you read. Your child could take the part of Leila and Alfie saying their words as they welcome Bird or say goodbye.

Some pages read like a poem and you could choose a page or two to read together.

Talk about the story

  • The illustrations are beautiful, share your favourite pages, looking closely at the details

  • Talk about anything your child finds puzzling eg unfamiliar words such as ‘boundless’ and ‘oasis’, why birds fly south in the summer or why Leila may have left her home.

  • Do you know anyone who has left their home country and migrated to the UK? Talk about what it must feel like to arrive somewhere far from your home.

  • This might lead to a discussion about refugees, look for the illustration of the boat in the stormy sea full of people, is this what happened to Leila?

Things to make and do

Make shapes with your hands

Look back at the first double page spread and the way the hands cup the tiny bird reflecting the bird’s wings. Cup your hands imagining you are holding a tiny bird what might it feel like? (Be sure to tell your child that you should not really try to hold a wild bird). Make shapes with your hands like the wings of a bird. You could try creating shadows of a bird flying with your hands on the wall after dark.

Be a bird spotter

Look up high in the sky, looking at how vast it is, can you spot any birds in flight? Look out for flocks of birds. Talk about what you see together.

Be a map reader

After reading the book with your child, look at the picture of the map at the front and back of the book, and trace Bird’s travels. Using a large map of the world, a globe or a children’s atlas, look at the route Bird took and see if you can identify the countries she flew over or stopped at.

Make a bird puppet

Using the illustrations in the book as a guide your child could draw a bird, cut it out, and make it into a stick puppet  to tell the story.

Make a large-scale story map

On a large roll of paper (eg lining paper) draw the different terrains that Bird flew over. Use large crayons or large paint brushes and paints, you could collage bits and pieces, such as dried leaves for autumn, fabric scraps for kites, cotton wool for snow etc. When finished, retell Bird’s journey using your bird puppet or a toy bird.

Write a poem:

Choose a few lines from the story to make a poem eg

Autumn was coming

She swooped and soared and raced

Over the blue sea

Bird was home

Find out more

Listen to the author Amanda Addison talk about her book in this podcast: 

Find out why we have seasons

Find out more about bird migration
Find out in information books or the internet about birds that migrate in the winter, in particular swifts and swallows. 

Find out more about swifts and swallows
If your child is interested in finding out more about swifts and swallow this book may be useful RSPB Spotlight Swifts and Swallows by Mike Unwin

Find out more about human migration
Here are some links which might help when discussing  human migration and refugees with your child.

Your child may have seen on TV that desperate migrants, sometimes accompanied by children, have been trying seek to refuge and asylum in the UK by trying to cross the Channel in boats or on lorries.  This newsround broadcast explains the some of the issues. 

Find out more about refugees