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Ingrid Laguna

  • awardCommended, CBCA Notable Books: Younger Readers, 2020
  • awardShortlisted, Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards, 2021
  • Jamila has left her friends, her school and her home in Iraq, and now she has a new home. It’s safe in Australia, but Jamila is finding it hard to settle in. She misses her best friend and worries for her dad’s safety back in Iraq. It’s hard to speak and write in English all day. And Jamila has a secret she wants to keep hidden.

    When she joins the choir, Jamila begins to feel happy. Singing helps take her worries away. And singing will help her find her place in her new life, a place where she can shine.

    Songbird is a tender story about belonging, about the importance of friendship and asking for help, and about the parts of our lives we keep concealed.


    3RRR: The Grapevine (1:15:00)
    Age: ‘Catch me’: The power of student voices (opinion piece) 
    Australian ($) 
    Better Reading 
    Centre for Stories 
    Fiona Hardy 

    Ingrid Laguna
    About the Author

    Ingrid Laguna is an award-winning novelist and educator. She has written a memoir and numerous books for children, including Songbird, Sunflower, Bailey Finch Takes a Stand and Kit and Arlo Find a Way. Her writing has featured in various publications, including the Monthly, Age and AEU Magazine. She regularly presents to teachers and students at...

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    Text publication date:
    7 May 2019
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    Praise for Ingrid Laguna

    ‘Laguna has put much of the experience and understanding she has gained as both a musician and as a teacher of English to new arrivals into this engaging first novel.’

    ‘I loved the story of Jamila and the resilience and bravery of her family. Jamila is a wonderful character, full of courage and heart, who children will relate to and learn from.’

    ‘A beautiful story full of hope, heartache and love.’

    ‘An inspiring story…reading Songbird together is a great way to start conversations with your children about topical issues, refugees, and to help create understanding around differences in culture and family.’

    ‘A fun, tender and uplifting portrait of a young Muslim girl’s struggle to belong.’

    ‘A gentle story about starting over, making friends and finding a place in the world…a worthy addition to school libraries.’

    ‘Jamila is a wonderful character and I really loved Songbird…It’s a beautiful, hopeful story about digging deep and helping those around you…a super-great read.’

    Other editions ofSongbird