The educational children’s picture book, You Nest Here With Me is written by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple and illustrated by Melissa Sweet. The book centers around a mother telling her child about where different birds nest with colorful paintings and language. Although this is a work of fiction, there are nonfiction allusions about the niches in which birds live. The back page includes an author’s note with a bird glossary, which could be used for younger students completing a book report or for further sparking interest in birds.
Lessons and themes present in this book include acceptance and diversity. While the mother is educating her daughter about different birds and how they live, the greater lesson is accepting others differences. The mother retorts to the line, “but you nest here with me” to emphasize the welcoming of different ways of life. As the child in the book is learning about different birds and how they live, the child the reading the book is doing the same. Both learn about how various species of birds survive in a myriad of settings, and that there is not one single way to live. Different species of birds nest in a variety of ways, including birds within the same species. This is a juxtaposition between different ways that humans can live and that there is not one correct lifestyle.
This book is a great introduction for children into nonfiction. Using facts about the environments in which birds live begins the conversation with children about other living species and how they live. Furthermore, You Nest Here With Me teaches young audiences about how other people might live differently than the reader. The theme of diversity is present throughout the book, because although the story revolves around birds, it focuses on their differences. It is important to incorporate a lesson into children’s books because they are the first opportunity for exposure to information and advice for the future.
Reviewed by Grace Rowan