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the bird's last song

The Bird's Last Song

A word from the Author/Illustrator
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I wrote the story that later became my book THE BIRD'S LAST SONG while taking a course on autobiographical writing. The assignment given by the teacher one week was to write a fable based on the student's life. As I was thinking about my father, Dr.. Abraham Weinshall, and the great contribution he had made not only to those who knew him but to society at large, the story of a dying bird whose song seems to freeze in the winter but comes to life in the spring, after the bird dies, occurred to me, and I wrote it down.

The following week, each student was asked to read his or her fable in class. After I finished reading my fable, an elderly member of the group suggested that my story would make a worthwhile children's book.

The idea of writing and illustrating a children's book had never occurred to me, but since I have never been able to resist a creative challenge, I decided to illustrate my story. I chose the medium of black-and-white woodcuts as my medium because I felt that the graphic nature of the medium would best convey a story dealing with life and death.

It took me about six months of intensive work to create the illustrations for THE BIRD'S LAST SONG. Since I was eager to get the book published in the Boston area, where I lived, I contacted a local publisher and was told that I should send the manuscript and illustrations in and that I would hear in about 6 weeks. The six weeks turned into 6 months, and when I finally called the children's book department to inquire about the fate of my book, I was told that it had been rejected because, "What child would be interested in a book about an old bird?"

Undeterred, I sent my manuscript and illustrations to another local publisher, Addison-Wesley, and this time I received a call within a few days. This publisher enthusastically accepted my book for publication.

I was very pleased with the way the book turned out. THE BIRD'S LAST SONG was published by Addison-Wesley in1976. The book won a citation as one of the "fabulous books of the year."