Do you like to write a review about Swordbird and Sword Quest?
Swordbird is a New York Times bestseller written by a 12-year-old author Nancy Yi Fan.
Here are some:
It’s hard to believe but the author was only 12 years old when she wrote this thrilling, beautifully crafted fantasy about evil Lord Turnatt, a hawk who has enslaved birds to build a fortress and has set the cardinals and bluejays to fighting each other.
She creates vivid characters with wonderful names (Flameback the cardinal, Dilby the loon) and other cool words like “nobird”, “somebird,” and “everybird.” There’s a hummingbird circus, birds dining on raspberry pie and fending off invaders with scalding bean soup. Best of all each chapter starts with a quotation from some book of bird lore, including the Book of Heresy which promises the terrible Turnatt eternal life - if he eats the egg of one woodbird every day.
Nancy Yi Fan is a talent to watch!
- Jean Westmoore, The Buffalo News
I read Swordbird last weekend and was amazed. It’s an extraordinary work, and would be an accomplishment for an adult author. That the writer was so young really makes this work remarkable. The bird characters, the juxtaposition of the Book of Heresy and Old Scripture sayings, and the almost allegorical tone give it a solid fantasy feel. In short, I loved it, and I think kids
will really enjoy it, both as a great story and as a phenomenal work by one of their peers.
We’ll be adding the book to the reading program and including it in our book fair offerings!
Kevin Washburn, Ed.D.
Clerestory Learning/Make Way for Books
I am a 10 year old who has just devoured the book Swordbird by Nancy Yi Fan. I loved the book! I think it will be a hit and anxiously await a sequel.
- 1 decade agoBest Answer
If you want to write a book report, it will be good to see what others say about Swordbird and Sword Quest:
Saw this young author speak and bought both books in her series. Am sixth grade Reading teacher for regular education and gifted education students. This series is wonderful! My students love the book and would recommend it as a great summer read. See this one and the newest Sword Quest! Excellent stories, beautifully written! Adults will enjoy as well. Could become the next Harry Potter craze; birds become real characters and not thought of as “just birds”. Look forward to the next Yi Fan book to come along!
– Bingo “Reader and DS Game fan”
Nancy Yi Fan is an incredible writer!
I have read both of her books now and they are outstanding!
Please keep on writing!
Little Miss Wordsmith!
NANCY YI FAN, a fairly typical American teenage girl who loves birds, martial arts and writing, was 12 years old when her first novel, Swordbird, was published last year.
Within weeks it reached the top of the New York Times list of best-selling children’s books.
Swordbird is a fantasy about warring birds. It shows how friendship and courage can overcome tyranny.
Nancy did not learn English until she was seven and her family emigrated to the United States from China. Just a few years later she wrote a book in English, her first novel Swordbird, which soon became a best-seller.
Nancy Yi Fan’s family moved to the United States a few months before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. One night shortly afterwards, she dreamed about a giant white bird trying to make peace among warring flocks of birds in a forest.
“When I woke up,” she said, “I wanted to turn my dream into a story because I wanted to express the importance of peace and freedom.” It took her almost a year to complete her story, which she called Swordbird.
She then started sending her manuscript off to various publishers. “I only hoped to receive advice on how to improve my writing, but you know, Swordbird got accepted for publication,” Nancy recalls. Jane Friedman, the chief executive of Harper Collins, a major U.S. publishing house, decided to give Nancy’s story a chance. Harper Collins’ children’s division found it to be “absolutely brilliant”, said Ms Friedman, who added, “We felt we had a prodigy in our hands. We took on the book, and the rest is history.”
Nancy Yi Fan recently published her second novel, Sword Quest, whose story is set hundreds of years before Swordbird.
In Sword Quest, Nancy added a fortune teller who uses the yin and yang symbols [of Chinese philosophy and religion] and the fortune-telling sticks to guide some of the characters to a destination. Also, she says, a main character in the book was inspired by her grandmother’s ghost stories about the spirits who stay in the crossroads and wait for people to cross the street.
Becoming a published author at such a young age, says Nancy, has affected her life in many ways. “I think it trained me to think more logically. It helped my imagination and certainly tested my determination, self-control and dedication. I discovered things like structure, preciseness of wording. Now when I write essays in school assignments, it’s much easier for me.”
The youngest author ever published by Harper Collins hopes to continue writing. And Nancy Yi Fan says she will “use my wings” to go wherever her dreams take her.
Swordbird was fantastic! I am hungry for more!!! I love Nancy’s books!!!
Of all the books I have read this in 5th grade, yours was the most interesting to read. I am very surprised at how well you write, especially because you were only a few years older than me when you wrote this amazing book. The way you used birds to be the people in the story really sparked my imagination.
My favorite quote in your book is: “Peace is wonderful; freedom is sacred”. I also think peace, and happiness, is very important to myself and others. Freedom is sacred because with it, you cannot do the things you want to do, and without it, our lives would be miserable.
— Mason S.
It was fantastic! The moment we finished reading the first chapter, we were hooked.
As we dug deeper into the story, we could not put it down. We loved the chapter about the fight on the Appleby Hills. It was hilarious! We liked how Skylion describes the sticky grass. Glenagh was our favorite character in the story. He was the one who urged the cardinals and the blue jays to unite and arise to face the enemies. It was a great story of courage and a struggle for peace. We can’t wait to read the sequel!
When my teacher told me that you wrote Swordbird at the age of twelve, we couldn’t believe it. Your inspire us to become writers one day.
— Landon L., Jacob M. and Zoya P.
I love your books. I really love how the adventure is so exciting, so suspenseful! Another thing, the characters seem almost real! (Other than the fact that they are talking birds.) But really! If they were actual people, I feel like I could walk up and meet them!
— Amy B.
In the last two days I’ve read one full novel and half of a second. Granted the novels were written by a teenager and intended for children and have pictures on about every other page. But they are rollicking good stories and I’m enjoying them as much for the astonishment that the first was conceived by a ten year old and written, submitted and published before she was thirteen. And English wasn’t her first language!
I am speaking of :
Swordbird and Sword Quest
by Nancy Yi Fan
I was enthralled enough that I failed to notice the sky going dark as I read in the back yard this evening. I had expected to notice when I could not longer read but as the sun’s light faded the sodium vapor light guarding the trailer park’s pool behind us took over and I never noticed. If it hadn’t been for the mosquitoes making a banquet of me I might still be out there.
These epic quest fantasies may not be the absolute best I’ve ever read but they are plenty charming enough and they showcase a budding talent that bears watching. The fresh spirit of their author informs every line. She is most definitely one for whom the audacity of hope comes as natural as breath.
You will excuse me as I pick up Sword Quest to find out how Wind-voice and his companions get out of their latest scrape with the minions of the tyrant Maldeor who is intent on finding the mythical sword before they do. For whoever wields this sword would be invincible. Maldeor wishes to rule the world with it. Wind-voice wishes only to free the enslaved and ensure freedom for everybird. Of course I know Wind-voice’s quest succeeds because Sword Quest is a story from the ancient legends of the birds whose quest for freedom from tyranny was the focus of Swordbird.
— Joy Renee
I loved Swordbird! I’m now a huge fan!! Swordbird really soars high! I’m amazed for Nancy… And a bit jealous… I’m 10, and will follow in Nancy’s steps! Congratulations to Nancy for translating the book into Chinese, too! (I can read it in both languages! I am from Dalian!)
A good vs. evil, fantasy action-epic set in a world of birdfolk who enslave, trash-talk and go to war with each other. Fan has such a lively, sharp imagination, evident in charming touches like the hot-air ballooning vaudeville troupe, or the way the good guys speak in quaint, spiffy wartime British.
— Mimi Lok
My 2 Most Favorite Books(a true compliment to teenage author Nancy Yi Fan)-a true story
by Bhagee, age 9
I have read two books called
“Swordbird” and “Sword Quest”.
Both books are written by
teenage author Nancy Yi Fan. “Swordbird” is about how the cardinals & blue jays suffer under the evil hawk,
Turnatt.So they call Swordbird, the half-dove, guardian of peace, to help them. “Sword Quest” is about how Wind-Voice (he is later renamed Swordbird) and his companions, Ewingerale the woodpecker, Stormac the myna, and Fleydur the eagle, go on a quest to find a sword that will defeat the archaeopteryxes that ravage the world of birds.
The characters permanently
reside in one’s heart, as they
have in mine.(”Sword Quest” is a
prequel to “Swordbird”.)
If you’re out there,Nancy,
I’d like for you to know this-
I am very,very,very proud of
you for writing two glorious,
The characterizations of Aska, Miltin, and Turnatt were the best; how I laughed at Turnatt’s eating mannerisms and Slime-beak’s frightfulness! The movements of the birds were all true to life, bringing out just the right details to enhance the story. The alternations between narrators was clear and effective, and added depth to the story.
A Great Prequel, Can’t Wait Until Next One!
Following the enchanting Swordbird, Sword Quest is better! How interesting that this book is a prequel and can be read alone but is better when reading them in order. Nancy Yi Fan says her next book will fall between the two books sequentially so there looks like we may have another great series in the making. As a Reading teacher, my 6th graders loved this book and so did I! The way the birds become human-like characters is so interesting and engages your emotions and heart!
– Bingo “Reader and DS Game fan”
Just writing you a letter to tell you how much I loved reading Swordbird. It is a fantastic story. It made me feel like I was actually in Stone-Run Forest. My name is Kelly and I am eight years old, going into the fourth grade. I love to read, and this is one of my favorites. I can’t wait to read SwordQuest.
I just read a new book called Swordbird by Nancy Yi Fan who was fourteen when the story was written! It is about cardinals and blue jays that fight but then make peace when they find a hawk is stealing all of their food and eggs. They had thought that it was each other that was the enemy. The hawk’s name is Turnatt and the hero’s name is Swordbird. A robin and blue jay work together to get a gem to call Swordbird. I really liked the book because it was an exciting adventure.
The book I am reading is Swordbird by Nancy Yi Fan. Swordbird is a well written book. It takes place at Stone-Run Forest. In the forest there are many tribes. The main two are the Bluewingle Tribe of the bluejays and the Sunrise Tribe of the cardinals. There is chaos between the two tribes. Both blame the other for stealing their offspring eggs and food. The leaders of each tribe decide to go to war. Flame-back the leader of the cardinals is a cunning warrior. He is strong in attack and battle formations. Skylion, the leader of the bluejays is wise and decisive. Aska, a young female bluejay is flying when she stumbles across a brave and clever robin named Milton. He is an enslaved worker at Fortress Glooming. He tells her that Turnatt, an evil hawk and his army have been stealing the cardinal and bluejay eggs all along. It is then when they realize they must team up. The cardinals and bluejays become friends again and will not rest until the blood of Turnatt is spilled and they see the downfall of his fortress, Glooming. Their only hope of seeing peace again is to have Swordbird, the mystical white bird help them. There is only one way to get him and that is with a Learsorn gem and a song from the old scripture. The bluejays and the cardinals only posess the old scripture. The gem has been lost for a very long time. To find out if they stop Turnatt from enslaving the two tribes read Swordbird. My opinion is that Swordbird is a swell book. I’ve never read anything like it. It makes me want to keep reading. After each chapter it takes another twist. I can’t wait to read the seaquel, Sword Quest.
— sparky man
Hello! I am a 13 year old who lives in alaska! I love your books! I cant begin to describe how much i love them!
By: Tara Floss
Nancy Fan and Swordbird
One of the more amazing stories to come out of our town, Gainesville, Florida, this past year is the publication of the first novel in a series by thirteen year old writer, Nancy Yi Fan (”FON”). The book is called Swordbird. It’s a fantasy novel for elementary school children about important issues — good and evil, freedom, peace, and hope. It’s set in the world, as the title suggests, of birds. Recently, our correspondent, Linda Lamme, spoke with Nancy about her inspiration for the book, how she wrote it, and then how she managed to get it published. It was years of hard work, but Nancy makes it sound easy.
by Dr. Lamme, RECESS
I have just finished Sword Quest and it really inspired me to write. I’m now writing a book that I hope to get published at 11 years old! I can’t wait to read Sword Bird!!
Fan has such a lively, sharp imagination, evident in charming touches like the hot-air ballooning vaudeville troupe, or the way the good guys speak in quaint, spiffy wartime British.
Nancy Yi Fan
At age 13, Nancy Yi Fan published her first novel, “Swordbird.” In the blink of an eye, she rose to the top 10 of the New York Times. With this accomplishment, she is currently the youngest top-selling author at HarperCollins Children’s Books, and even received recognition by Oprah Winfrey on her uber-popular national television show.
Swordbird should be made into a Wii game.
I think Nancy yi fan should make them into movies. I love nancy yi fan’s books.
The novel Swordbird is an awesome literary work! I read it about a few days ago, and I really like the way the action in this novel, and there are extremely interesting characters!
Swordbird is a very important book. All too often books about war for kids are gruesome and depressing or silly and shallow. Not because the subject of war has to be incomprehensible, but because making the subject of war accessible to kids is not at all easy. Fan does it perfectly. Not only that, she brings it all together in a moral in the front flap:”What does fight bring us? Fear, hatred, misery and death.” By the time you finish the book you completely understand and agree with that statement.
– Emily G.
I absolutelty LOVE Sword Bird and Sword Quest.
They are SO good! And the fact that they were written by a twelve-year-old means a lot to me since I’m eleven and pursuing my passion for writing.
Hey! It’s Elda again. I would really like to say that Swordbird really brought a message of peace to the world. My message in a novel I’m writing is that determination and a bit of mystique can be found in the most unexpected places. Can’t wait to read Sword Quest! =)
You are one of my favorite authors, along with Mrs. J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, and Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Your book, Swordbird, is very entertaining and a bit depressing (Miltin’s tragic demise), but I loved it. I agree, peace is essential. You are my inspiration, and I thank you for writing an amusing and entertaining book, which I read for about the fifth time so far.
—Your most devoted fan, Olivia
I LOVELOVELOVE your books!!! You see, I have am in the process of writing a series of books that I haven’t exactly named *laughs* and my friends are dying for me to try and publish them. And them I’m all like, omg, I’m too young. But then I read your books and I’m RECONSIDERING woohoo. You really send the message of peace, and the little tidbits from the Old Scripture and the Book of Heresy deliver some meaning too, alothough maybe the Old Scripture more then the Book of Heresy. The Book of Heresy is for Turnatt, only he’s dead woohoo. Are you gonna write some more corresponding sequels to Swordbird and Swordquest? Cuz if you do, I would love to just read them. I mean, you’re books are awesome and the whole shebangs are suspenseful and just totally awesome!!! Awesome AWESOMEawesomeAWESOMEawesome!!!
Swordbird is my favorite book, I read it because I love birds my favorite birds are the northern saw whet owl and red bellied woodpecker. I have two questions: what is your favorite bird and would you please wright a third book??
- Anonymous1 decade ago
I have some more:
Be sure to read Swordbird by Nancy Yi Fan. It is not only a wonderful story about the birds of Stone-Run Forest, it is a lesson in what fighting can do to a community and the heroism and courage needed to find peace.
- Mrs. Chenique
Turnatt takes control over the hawk population of Stone-Run Forest. He demands loyalty and will punish those who disobey though he can be fickle and inconsistent with his commands. His goal is become the Evil Conqueror and Slayer known as the “Tyrant of Fortress Glooming” that will eventually encompass the entire forest.
As his forces attack the other bird species, the blue jays and the cardinals think the other has attacked them. Their hostility is open and war seems imminent with the only winner being Turnatt whose minion caused the argument between the blue and the red. Unless a miracle occurs many will die and a free forest will become a vicious malevolent dictator’s realm. However, only the Swordbird, son of the Great Spirit, can prevent the tragedy and return the forest to domestic tranquility for all its creatures. The only problem is the Swordbird is a myth.
This is a fascinating well written personification fantasy aimed at the 8-12 years old crowd. Readers will see differing personalities especially between the various bird species. As the non Hawks pray for a hero especially Swordbird, fans will enjoy the confrontation between evil and good.
This book is the best book ever!
I think this book should be made a best seller, it has what all books need, a great story, adventure, and a great writer to write. Nancy Yi Fan should continue writing!
Catherine M Newman
- Anonymous1 decade ago
An exciting and action-packed tale of birds at war, this novel shows how friendship and courage can overcome tyranny. Sworquest follows the life of Wind-Voice, the heroic dove of peace, and how he wins his magical sword. Wind-Voice and his companions, a woodpecker and a mynah bird, join the rebel bird forces to fight against their oppressors, the archaeopteryxes. Once again Nancy creates a richly imagined bird world full of fanciful characters, adventure and intrigue.
— Amazon, UK
Sword Quest is the new book by Nancy Yi Fan. Fan’s Swordbird wowed young audiences. Born in China in 1993, this young writer is an inspiration to middle grade writers and readers.
I went to Nancy’s booksigning at Barnes and Noble and got to meet her. My husband, Tom, and I read Swordbird and enjoyed it very much. He thinks she captures the tradition of fantasy wonderfully well for a person of her young years. She is also able to accept death as part of life and yet maintain optimism throughout her story. I like the images she evokes with phrases like “tip-clawing” and “but on the other wing.” Now on to Sword Quest!
I am 12 years old and in the sixth grade. My teacher was so excited when I found your website. I am reading your book Sword Quest. It is so amazing. How did you ever write this? It is has great description. I read your book everyday and never want to put it down!
Hi my name is kenny. your books are fanominal. sword bird and sword quest are the best books i have ever read in my life your a true inspiration and i want to ask you a favor. will you please make a third book. thank you.
I would definetely rate Swordbird a five-star book!
It is about the cardinals and the blue jays and their war against Lord Turnatt. Aska and Miltin are trying to find the Leasorn Gem, while Glenagh and others are trying to find the song of Swordbird. Holding the Leasorn Gem while singing the song, Swordbird will come and fight with them. Will they win against Turnatt? Read to find out!
All I can say is wow.
It is a twist of war, peace, love and friendship, gathered in a journey to freedom.
How did you write this amazing an spectacular book?
You must read it!
“Swordbird” - stunning! CONGRATS!
Book Candy Studios
Teenager Nancy Yi Fan fleshes out more of her allegorical tale about good versus evil with a new cast of warrior/philosopher birds in Sword Quest, illus. by Jo-Anne Rioux, a prequel to last year’s Swordbird.
— Publishers Weekly
hi nancy, my name is eduardo i’m brazillian and i have 20 years old. like you i have a dream and i sent letters and e-mails for jackie chan office in hong kong but i have not sucess into now. i write since 17 years old and a time i wanted to write a history for jackie, a history that he can to do a movie and i write it. i want to give him my stories and i want not money, it is personal, everybody says: you never will get it, but i trust me and god will help to become my dream trust. (if I wrote something wrong I excuse. I never learned English that I know don’t know as but I know ) give me an answer.
Dear Nancy Yi Fan,
I love your books. If I think someone I know would appreciate Swordbird and Sword Quest, I immediately recommend the books to them. Your stories fill me with so much emotion. When Irene died I was really upset, but when Wind-voice escaped I was filled with joy. Your books can really paint a picture in my mind, and as an aspiring author I admire you. I have written many stories, most of which have been left unfinished. I am always trying to find something to write about–something I am passionate about, and others will enjoy to read.
One major reason your books are so amazing for me is because I LOVE animals. You can imagine that because of this I love fiction about animals. Other books I enjoy are The Redwall Series, and The Mistmantle Chronicles. I am doing your 2nd book for a book report in school, but I have not yet finished it.
I just finished Swordbird and started reading Sword Quest! Oh, my goodness!! Your books are so awesome!! At a bookstore here in Idaho, (that’s where I bought both of your books, ) they just say they admire you so much! They think that you are awesome! We are all having a great time on the Swordbird Chatroom! Many people have sent out books, and Rayzel, a person on the chatroom, is actually getting published!! She’s following your lead!! You have been such an inspiration to me, Nancy! In fact, I’m 40 pages long on a book called “A Call For Adventure”. I’m so excited when I finish writing it! Thank you, so much!!
dear Nancy I loved your books and can’t wait for the 3rd and I read that the 3rd is called Sword Mountain.
I’ve been writing my books before I read yours but you’ve inspired me to keep going on with them and making them the best books they can be.
I’m hoping that one day I’ll be as lucky as you and get my books published.
I love your 2 books. You should consider making a movie out of swordquest!!!! (if you do, make sure you are the director!!!)
Are you going to write another swordbird / swordquest novel??????? You are the best writer in the universe! I hope you write more swordbird books soon!
I’m your#1 fan!
Dear Nancy Yi Fan,
I love your books. I read many books and I have to say that Swordbird and Sword Quest are the best books that I have read in a long time. You are one of my favorite two authors and your books are filled with wonderful imgages painted into the reader’s mind. You have inspired me to write my own book, and currently, I’ve written 60 pages of it. I have recommended your books to all of my friends.
How do you think of such vivid character names? I love the interesting names such as Fleydur and Stormac, and even Maldeor. My favorite character in Swordbird is Aska and my favorite character in Sword Quest is Ewingerale. I think that the idea of telling the story of how Swordbird came to be with Sword Quest was a creative idea. Are you going to write any more books? If you will, I’ll eagerly await their releases. Your Sword Quest gave me something to look forward to when I heard about it. I wonder how you picked what kind of birds to be in you book. My favorite bird is the Gouldian finch for its bright and vibrant coloration on the males.
I was very excited to find out that you were having a book tour. I was very sad to know that I missed the tour because I wanted to get your signature on my books. That would have been great. If you have another book tour, you can count on that fact that I will most definitely go to it. I loved reading the blogs that you wrote in for each day. I also enjoyed seeing the images about your biography. You have motivated me to write about my passions and speak up about issues that concern me.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and thank you for being my inspiration. I hope you like the picture included that I drew for you.
I love your books Swordbird and SwordQuest. You could say I’m a fan, but that would sound weird because everybody says that.
Well anyway, I love your books.
I wish I could become as great of an author as you are. I tried because I was inspired by your books. I never wanted to put your books down.
Hi Nancy, it’s Jaclyn. You met me when you were on tour for Swordquest, at the Yellow Book Road bookstore. I brought my parrot Kiwi in to see you.
I just wanted to say thank you for writing such great books, and inspiring so many kids to follow their dreams.
We are writng to you to tell you how much we like your books. Mrs. Barnello is reading SWORDBIRD to us. You are so smart that there are some words in your book that Mrs. Barnello can’t pronounce. We like looking them up in the dictionary. Mrs. Rozniak told us that we can buy your new book in our Scholastic Book Fair at our school in a few weeks. We can’t wait!
Jay on behalf of the whole class
Swordbird is AWESOME! Those of you who do not like it are boring! Swordbird had brilliant descriptions, cool pictures, and a message. It would be an outstanding work of art even if it wasn’t written by a fourteen year old girl. And I loved how she took an animal that really isn’t written about and made a story! Nancy is an inspiration for me! She’s given me the confidence to write -and hopefully publish- my book. Hurray for Nancy!
I am completely amazed with Nancy’s book! When I was browsing through the books in Borders (soon after Swordbird was published) I picked up Swordbird and started reading the inside cover and About the author. When I found out that Nancy was only a little older than me, I was so happy! I had earlier thought that kids had to wait until they were older until they could make a mark on the world, but I have learned through Nancy and her writing that we can change the world through our words! I have always been a writer, and reading Nancy’s books have encouraged me to continue writing. I have a novel currently in the writing process that I hope to get published someday. Go Nancy!!
I love reading and writing about birds, Nancy’s masterpeice was my favorite fiction novel on birds. I picked up Swordbird out of random and i turned out falling in love with it. It inspired alot of my bird writings. I hope to be as great a writer as her. You are an inspiration for me! Good job! Keep on writing Nancy!
By: Anna B.
Swordbird is artfuly crafted and is a wonderful peice for all readers! An astounding accomplishment for a writer any age! — Sylvie
I really liked both the books SwordBird and Swordquest. They both are awe inspiring and great for any age. Im Cera and live in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I have two parakeets like yours. Thier names are Snowflake and Zoie. I love my birds very much. Both of your books are fantastic and with all the action packed fun. My favorite character of both books are Fleydur; the golden Eagle, Stormac; the hill myna, Wind-voice or SwordBird, Aska;the Blue-Jay and Correy, and Milton; the robin.
“Wow, Nancy! SWORDBIRD blew me away! I, too, am a young writer who loves to write about animals, especially cats, dogs, and birds! When I read your book ( in three days; it’s so good! I’m starting SwordQuest today) it was so well written, I got so jealeous! I was, like, all through the book, ” How come I didn’t think of that!?” !!!! Cedar Waxwings and Tawny Eagles are my favorite birds, along with Stellar’s Jays and Golden eagles. In SWORDBIRD, my absolute favorite character was Miltin Silquore! His illustration was so adorable, who wouldn’t love Miltin! I was actually happy that he dies, because it was so peaceful and happy. He finally saw his dream through Aska’s eyes, though, and that was something, I belive, only Swordbird could make happen.
Thanks, Nancy, for a wonderful story and inspiration!
This is a wonderful book that deserves high praise.Bravo,Nancy!Your amazing book has reached many people and has developed many fans.
Great book for adults and children alike
My 7-year old son and I read Swordbird first before reading this prequel and I enjoyed both books every bit as much as he did if not more. To think a 12-year old girl imagined this wonderful story filled with rich characters is both humbling and fascinating. I dearly hope Nancy Yi Fan will continue writing this series. I would put her series in a league near Harry Potter.
— D’s mom “nanur”
Teenager Nancy Yi Fan fleshes out more of her allegorical tale about good versus evil with a new cast of warrior/philosopher birds in Sword Quest.
— Editorial Review, Bigger Books
Review on Sword Quest
This prequel to the “New York Times” bestseller “Swordbird” is a richly layered novel full of adventure, bravery, heroism, and a fascinating bird world created by teenage author Nancy Yi Fan.
My fourth-grade son and I are in a book club with 3 other boys and their moms (in Sharon, MA - just outside of Boston). We just read Swordbird and they loved it. They’ve already selected Swordquest as their next book. With books like yours, the boys are learning to love reading. Thank you so much.
I was interested in reading your book, because I too am a bird lover/owner ( I used to own three parakeets, but one of them died due to old age so I now only have two). Your books were so inspiring. You put so much feeling into the birds lives. I think that your book can relate to real life,too.
I have wanted to write a book since I was eight, but I never had the courage. I was scared that I wouldn’t succeed and that I would be made fun of. Well,you took care of that fear. I have just begun writing a book called, “Beyond the White Rosebush.” Even though the idea came from my heart, the courage and inspiration came from none other than you! I could never thank you enough! Respectfully
After 9/11, ten-year-old Nancy Yi Fan turned her fear and anger about terrorism into writing a novel. “Swordbird”, just out, tells about warring feathered factions and a muscular supernatural hero who saves their society. As a new immigrant from China, Nancy had been to the WTC observatory in the summer of 2001. Two years after the attacks, she was still having dreams about war. Nancy wrote “Swordbird”, reflecting her passion for birds, as a way to convey her message of peace to the world.
I read Swordbird earlier, and it was great, but I really liked Sword Quest, which I read and re-read recently. It’s a really great prequel to Swordbird and I love how it really covers so much about how Swordbird came to be. I also like how it seems like each of the characters represents something. Stormac represents the mistakes in life, Yin Soul represents evil, and Ewingerale represents hope in the face of despair. I loved Sword Quest!
The book I am reading is Swordbird by Nancy Yi Fan. Swordbird is a well written book. It takes place at Stone-Run Forest. In the forest there are many tribes. The main two are the Bluewingle Tribe of the bluejays and the Sunrise Tribe of the cardinals. There is chaos between the two tribes. Both blame the other for stealing their offspring eggs and food. The leaders of each tribe decide to go to war. Flame-back the leader of the cardinals is a cunning warrior. He is strong in attack and battle formations. Skylion,the leader of the bluejays is wise and decisive.
Aska, a young female bluejay is flying when she stumbles across a brave and clever robbin named Milton. He is an enslaved worker at Fortress Glooming. He tells her that Turnatt, an evil hawk and his army have been stealing the cardinal and bluejay eggs all along.
It is then when they realize they must team up. The cardinals and bluejays become friends again and will not rest until the blood of Turnatt is spilled and they see the downfall of his fortress, Glooming. Their only hope of seeing peace again is to have Swordbird, the mystical white bird help them. There is only one way to get him and that is with a learsorn gem and a song from the old scripture.
The bluejays and the cardinals only posess the old scripture. The gem has been lost for a very long time. To find out if they stop Turnatt from enslaving the two tribes read Swordbird.
My opinion is that Swordbird is a swell book. I’ve never read anything like it. It makes me want to keep reading. After each chapter it takes another twist. I can’t wait to read the seaquel Swordquest.
by sparky man
Nancy Yi Fan is only 13 years old, but her fantasy novel, “Swordbird”, demonstrates a mature ability to create a page-turning plot focused on a war between birds.
— Staff from ScrippsNews
I truly loved this exciting book by Nancy Yi Fan. This wonderful story has changed my perspective on birds. I think this book is a perfect book for anyone who loves animals(especially birds) and adventure
It’s amazing that Nancy was only 12 when she wrote this! OMG!
This fast-paced tale will draw in fans of Brian Jacques and the Warriors series with its realistic animal characters and action. Themes of peace and freedom play an important role in this story written in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11th. An amazing effort for such a young author. I’m sure we’ll see a lot more from Fan in the future.
– Book Dweeb
OMG!!! Those were the best two books I ever read!!!! Im still working on the second and I love the story. I also love Archeopteryxs but there were good bad guys as well. Its kinda odd to think of birds holding swords and stuff so I give you an astouding A+++++++ For imagination and origiallity!!! LOVED IT!!!
Nancy Yi Fan is awesome, I can honestly say Swordbird deserves many a praise.
My third grade son claims Sword Bird as his favorite book and says that he liked this prequel “almost as much.” He reads constantly, so naming a book as a favorite is a big claim for him. He and a number of friends his age have reporting loving Sword Quest because the characters and action are so interesting. I think they also are intrigued that it was written by such a young person.
— K. A. Evans
What book/movie has had a major impact on you?
Harry Potter books and the Twilight series. Just because they are big obsessions of mine.
On a deeper level, I think that I was really affected by Nancy Yi Fan’s Swordbird. It wasn’t the book itself, although that was good, but the author. She’s just a little bit older than I am and already has two books out that have been pretty high up on the NY Times bestseller list. I am INSANELY JEALOUS, but Nancy has really inspired me to pick up the dang pen and showed that just because we’re kids, doesn’t mean we can’t get published.
Well, I’m amazed, absoultely shocked.
I’m a young writer myself and am absolutely amazed at what she did. Nancy Yi Fan has become my insparation in everything I have done. proof that no matter how young you are anything can happen!
By: jordyn faith
i would say is a wonderful book and hopefully it will make to the top like harry potter and keep on writing nancy.
A choice selection for summer reading
A Kid’s Review
Remember the good old days of being a kid—cracking open a comic book, reading the “pows” and “bangs” of the hero tousling with the villain? Exciting, because the mystery, the struggle, the battle (and having the superhero winning it), sure meant a lot for a kid. Swordbird, written by Nancy Yi Fan when she was twelve, really captures that hearty enthusiasm for a good ol’ fantasy story of swashbuckling adventure. It’s set in a world of dark forests, mist-capped mountains, with a hawk and his army against the woodbirds, cardinals and blue jays. Action juxtaposed with imagery and description, along an overall allegorical touch, does add interesting dimension to the tale. A savory morsel for all bookworms.
What an amazing job Nancy did today at Talbot!! She spoke directly to the children which made such an impact on them. Her words of inspiration and commitment were beautifully delivered. She has a wonderful gift.
Many 5th grade parents told me how grateful they were to be able to have Nancy as a speaker. Please let her know how honored we were to have her at our school. This event is something they will always remember and cherish.
— Ms. Newsom
The book Swordbird is amazing. The characters have depth to them, and the plot is magnificent. But what I find the greatest about this book, is the youth of the writer. Nancy Fan, you are about my age, I suppose, by now. I am fourteen, and am wishing to publish a book as good as yours. I am a whole and complete fantasy lover, and I find reading a great escape from life, school, and problems with friends or family. It was when I was eight that I decided I wanted to be a writer. Like your books, my stories center around fantasy-like settings, and have animals. I love any animal, but my favorite are the ever-graceful dolphins, the powerful wolves, and the beautifully sleek falcons. I think we share that in commom, but seeing as I’ve never had the chanse to meet you personally, I’ll never know. Your book has inspired me to write more, and perhaps finish and publish a book at this age. I hope thatmaybe people around the wolrd could read stories suck as Angels’ Song, or Spirits of the Depths, and know that the author was ispired by the author of Swordbird. I have yet to read Sword Quest, but theses no doubt that I will! Thank you,
— Charli H.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
We enjoyed reading the book. Miss Fan did a wonderful job of creating a world that is truly different than anything I have read before. The birds are the only characters in the story and the war that is going on between them will have you choosing sides in short order. What amazed me was that this young lady doesn’t just weave a delightful story, but it is full of subtext and meanings for the adult and the moral of the story is one we all strive for…peace and love.
Jack and Katrina give this book 2 thumbs up!
I have read your book twice in two days and you have also inspired me to write. I also love that you are so down to earth with you being an author. Well i liked it and not just liked it loved it
I loved every thing about it even though it was sort a peace and mellow book you put in a food fight and i thought that that was so smart . Also i can’t wait for the next book Sword Quest ( I pre-ordered it) i also got my book signed by you which meant a lot to me because your book was so true ….. And i loved it
Your New Friend ,
For about an hour or so, I was reading “Swordbird” today. It is an awesome book!!! You just have to read it… Here is the preview:
“The blue jays and the candinals of Stone-Run Forest have turned against each other. Occording to the legend, only Swordbird, son of the Great Spiri, has the power to conquer evil and restore peace to the land. But is he real of just a myth? Can Swordbird arrive in time to save the forest…or will it be too late?”
Like it? I love the book!!! I am almost done so well…you can buy it or borrow it…you chose!!!!
I just wanna say how I love your book, Swordbird. It’s amazing that your only 13. I’m 10 and I also wanna be a writer. Like you, I came from China when I was 4 and imigrated to America. I love birds and every other animals, except for mosquitoes, uh! I got inspired into writing when I started 3rd grade when a author came to my school to talk about his book.
Tons of coincidences that rarely happen in real life explode in detail in Harry Potter. It’s these things that have shaped the patterns of its plot throughout. The story of Harry Potter whirls around in a mere school, but a limited setting can’t have the grandeur of an epic. It’s also difficult to deepen the characters and themes. In this aspect, I think that Swordbid written by Nancy Yi Fan is even better than Harry Potter. Anyhow, both of them are excellent children’s books.
— Ge Lei
The story behind the publication of Nancy Yi Fan’s Swordbird is nearly as enthralling as the book itself. A Chinese-born preteen living in New York, Fan channeled her lifelong fascination with birds and her concerns over war and terrorism into an exuberant sword-and-sorcery-styled fantasy two years in the writing. She then emailed the completed manuscript to HarperCollins and the rest, as they say, is history. This allegorical tale of warring birds and their struggle for freedom has attracted an unusual measure of attention because of the author’s young age. But there is nothing childish about Fan’s innate gift for pacing, characterization, or storytelling. We predict many more successes for this talented prodigy.
— Barnes & Noble
Read about this book in The Sun-Herald last week. I’ll have to check it out. Nancy Yi Fan was inspired by some great books - Gone with the Wind, Johnny Tremain -, and she’s used those ideas in interesting ways; more of a fantasy epic. What’s amazing is that she’s only 13, a real literary prodigy. She reminds me a bit of Christopher Paolini, of the Eragon series; definitely an author to keep an eye on.
She’s definitely got talent, so I’ll have to check out Swordbird. A lot of writers are getting published younger now, in their teens and 20s, so maybe this is a new wave we’re seeing; writers inspired by all media - books, movies, the web -, writing more visual stories. I don’t always like visual writing, but for fantasy it’s not a bad thing, so this’ll be interesting to read. And she’s only 13… suddenly I feel old!
Great book. Keep me up on my toes, wanting to read more. As I read the reviews, the comment, ” at such a young age,” or something like that popped out at me. At age 12 I am very, very disappointed that all these big CEO people or other important people don’t realize that us KID writers are going to be the J. K. Rolings of the future. Nancy, if you read this, well I’ll see you in the future. Again great book.
Jenny found a review of Swordbird through the American Girl magazine which highlighted the young author, Nancy Yi Fan, in one of their articles. Nancy Yi Fan is a twelve year old girl who had a dream about birds going to war around the same time as 9/11. Grappling with the issue of war, she decided to work out some of her thoughts, ideas and imaginations in the form of a book. Enter: Swordbird.
Jenny was really interested in reading the book, I think especially as it was written by a twelve year old, and so we found a copy at our local library. I decided to read it as well. It seems like every so often a book receives recognition not so much because of the story, but because of some unique aspect and/or attribute of the author. In this case, fame is coming as a result of her age. However, I do think the story is worthy of some attention.
I think the book is fanciful, captivating (esp. for the age group it is directed at!), not to mention very well illustrated. I can very easily see them taking this story and making into a Pixar movie of some sort. The main theme of this book is that peace is better than war. In an age where everyone is crying for peace, this book hits the mark. Still, I am very satisfied with the irony presented in this book (and around the world) that would suggest that peace can come without war, while relating tales of conflict. Any good story comes through and out of conflict. Conflict inspires even though it might not be pleasant and/or welcomed. This is a convenient truth, given the fact that we are all humans and live in a fallen world. Conflict will always exists and thus, good stories are still waiting to be birthed. Nancy Yi Fan simplifies the “peace” message a bit for her audience. The message is strong and present and is there for discussion purposes. (Which is why I speculate that this book will be snatched up by a movie producer somewhere, sometime.) She is also, by the way, writing a prequel that is due out in January 2008 entitled, Sword Quest. You can be looking for that also.
From a Christian standpoint, my take on this book is that it would provide excellent oppertunity for anyone to talk to their teen about God’s omniscence and omnipresence. In this book, the bluejays and cardinals are calling out for Swordbird to come and save them from the villan, an evil hawk. In order to have their savior come and do the saving, they must find a magical stone as well as have two verses of a song. Gods (little “g” have frequently been called upon throughout the ages to come and save people. This book reminded me of Elijah on the mountaintop, covering the alter with water and crying out to his God who instantly sent down fire from heaven to prove Himself and make Himself known among the people. I’m grateful for a God who is always there when I call on Him. Even when I do not call out, He is there. He never leaves me, nor does He forsake me. He does not demand that I accomplish various tasks before He will listen to me. He just does. Why? Because of love.
Nancy Yi Fan definitely brings Chinese culture and lore into her story. It is very understandable why the story talks about the great spirit and testaments. I wouldn’t let that stop me from reading the story, but I would make sure that anyone who is reading it understands the difference between a great spirit who needs some bribing in order to make an apperance and the God who is always there. There is a stunning difference between the two and I would merely suggest that you make that clear to your reader. Otherwise, this story is interesting, entertaining and it IS hard to tell that a twelve year old wrote it. It’s worthy of some attention is, I guess, what I am trying to say. I’ll let Jenny tell you her opinion now.
I liked the book SwordBird for a couple of reasons…
1. She is my age and it s very amazing for that kind of book
for a girl my age to write;
2. I really like fantasy books because they are not always just about people; they are about animals;
3. there were lots of “main” characters.
She (Nancy Yi Fan) did a very good job describing everything and made it feel that you were actually “there”. All though at some points it got a little gross at the battles (all battles are gross). One thing that bugged me is that it would say “Somebird” instead of “Someone” and “Nobird” instead of “nobody” and so on and so forth. But then again it does make sense.
(Jenny is very verbose, as you can see.)
Between the two of us, we would recommend this book as an enjoyable read.
You are truly carrying the wonderful tradition of story telling with your wonderful novel, Swordbird.
Story tellers come in many forms; writers, actors, artists, etc. I am both an actress and writer and have inspired me with your book. Thank you.
Swordbird is a beautiful piece sparking the meanings of peace and war. Birds are such lovely, unknown creatures and a wonderful animal to base your story upon. Nancy, your book weaves and twists a creation of moral incredibly amazing for your age. But I am too that age and your book says “Anyone can teach through words, no matter what age”. These are only a few reasons why Swordbird is so wonderful.
You are my inspiration!
Swordbird was fun and exciting. I was suprised because the author of this book was only 13 years old. I suggest everybody read this book.
Swordbird is a great read! It’s like the first air I breathe every morning when I open the windows: fresh and cool.
Swordbird has an old-fashioned sense of values, which is what a lot of the great writers have.
— Jane Friedman, President CEO of HarperCollins (quote from Telegraph)
Hi Nancy. I just wanted to say that your book was really great!!!
The book “Swordbird” is a truly captivating tale that will make you wish it would go on forever. It tells about how good peace and friendship are. It will find a place in your library.
I was very inspired by your book, too, because it not only encouraged peace, but also gave me hope that one day I could be a kid author too.
I was amazed when I read about you in Time For Kids or Scholastic News magazine (My elementary school used both, but I forgot which one I saw you in) and I admit that at first I was jealous, because I wanted to publish a book. But when I read your story, I was very inspired and I started working on my stories even harder than before. So I thank you for writing your book and helping me become a better author.
Finally, I’d like to say how excited I am to hear about your second book, SwordQuest. And Amazed! You wrote it in so little time. I can’t wait to read it.
A vibrant tale packed full with life. Nancy Yi Fan is a great role model for children and he books are influential. I hope she continues her career as an author. I think that this book was very imaginative and colorful. I think that it is the type of story that upper elementary to lower middle would actually enjoy to have be assigned to them for a book report.
Swordbird is an awesome book. It really grabbed my attention.I can’t wait until Nancy Yi Fan’s new book comes out, I will buy it as soon as it comes out. Nancy inspired me to write a book that I am writing right now it’s called Avolen.
Your the best Nancy!
Young Author’s Book Takes Flight
Writing is often inspired by a strong interest in something–maybe it’s dragons or dinosaurs or computer games. For 13 year old Nancy Yi Fan the fascination was birds (she has always loved birds and has three pet birds). So she set out to combined her interest in birds with a desire “to express the importance of peace and freedom” and began to write a novel about battling birds. After she got the idea for the book she spent all of her free time writing. Her parents and school teachers encouraged her and her friends would read her early drafts, never doubting that one day their friend would be a published author. After a year of hard work, Miss Yi Fan’s novel, Swordbird,” was published by HarperCollins and immediately soared onto the New York Times best-seller list. Do you have an interest that could give your words wings?
— The Hungry Writer Website
Would be a standout even if it wasn’t written by a 12-year-old.
— PEOPLE MAGAZINE
Very interesting read that makes me want to read other books in series. I liked the idea of the whole birdworld.
Have you ever thought that you were too young to possibly write a good book? There have been authors who have proved doubters wrong over the years (Christopher Paolini is a prime example), but this newest addition to the list astonished even me.
Meet fifteen-year-old Nancy Yi Fan, the author of the New York Times Bestselling Swordbird and its soon to be released prequel Sword Quest. I am determined to buy it.
Learn about her and never forget that anything is possible.
Swordbird is an epic story that has inspired me in my writing. It has had a great effect on me as it might have had on adults. It was great, can’t wait for Sword Quest.
I’ve read Swordbird. It was so cool. I know it is the greatest book! I cannot wait to read Sword Quest. The good news is I’ll have a chance to see Nancy in my city and have Sword Quest autographed by her. I know how great she’ll become and this may be a chance hard to come by. She is my true role model.
Sword Quest is an exciting adventure prequel to Swordbird. Nancy Yi Fan captures the readers in the first chapter with skillfully used personification and adept description. The excerpts from books at the beginning of every chapter add a nice touch to the novel. Yi Fan skillfully weaves a tale with powerful wording and an interesting plot. I highly recommend Sword Quest!
Molly (Mt. Airy, NC)
Sword Quest is a touching story about birds thriving to survive during a time of fear and hate. With its exciting plot the book was tremendously well written considering Nancy Yi Fan is such a young author. The characters each had a different personality and I came to love them all. I was especially glad that I got a feel of how the antagonist, as well as the protagonist, felt. The birds’ adventures kept me on the edge of my seat and wanting more. The scenes were astonishing and were so good I wished she had written more. The chapters were suspenseful as they switched from character to character. The beautiful pictures along side the text were another compliment to the story. Not being a bird expert I found them quite helpful as I was reading. Wind-voice and his message of peace will soon be flying into the hearts of people everywhere.
Marcie (Warner Robins, GA)
Sword Quest is now one of my favorite books!! I read the sequel, Swordbird, and Sword Quest was even better! I can hardly believe that the author is just a little older than me, because the plot was so well-developed, and the characters felt so real (even though they were birds). I especially like the names that the author gave each of the characters. If you LIKE the Warriors series, you will LOVE this book!!
Leighton (Staten Island, NY)
Set in the extremely creative bird kingdom, Sword Quest follows a beautifully crafted plot. Every bird has a perfectly assigned place in this society, including the prehistoric terror of the archaeopteryxes. The genius plot revolves around a wonderful message—one of peace for everyone.
Kelsey (Lansdale, PA)
I loved how this book’s setting was before the time of the last book so I got to know what the whole story of how Swordbird came to save the bird world. Overall I thought this book was very entertaining and interesting.
Catherine (Lake Mary, FL)
This is a wonderful book and the author obviously has a lot of potential. I love how she scatters subtle hints (or not-so-subtle hints) where they’re needed, and the quotes from the scriptures at the beginning of the chapters are very clever. The classic fight between good and evil is exemplary, and I love how she shows that both sides believe that they’re the one with the right to succeed. In all, this is a wonderful book with the prospective ability to be placed next to the Redwall series and Watership Down.
Kath (brooklyn, NY)
This is such a wonderful book! I finished it today and I cried when Miltin died! I love the way she put it in other birds point of view instead of seeing the situation from one bird! Nancy Yi Fan is my idol! Whenever I’m writing and think that no one would ever publish a book by an eleven year old, I think of Nancy Yi Fan and it urges me on!
I finished Sword Quest and I love it!!!!! (I’m your #1 fan!!!) I can see your progress between Swordbird and Sword Quest. I’ll be waiting for your next book!!!!!!!!!!!!
— Sonia P.
Wow, I really love Swordbird — Sword Quest, I’m reading! I’ve been really interested in your books… I quit reading my current book when I was told by my teacher your new book was out!
And now, on to this week’s challenge. This one’s inspired by Nancy Yi Fan, the 12-year-old author of the New York Times bestseller “Swordbird” and its prequel, “Sword Quest.” Yeah, we’ll give you a moment to re-read that. Twelve. 12. A decade plus two. This action-packed, fantasy epic, written by what can only be described as a literary prodigy, is about the bird battles of Stone-Run Forest and the legendary Swordbird who can conquer evil and restore peace to the land. Young Nancy’s favorite book is “Charlotte’s Web,” which hit the silver screen last year in a charming re-make. We figure it’s just a matter of time before some Hollywood movie studio options “Swordbird” too.
— Jackie Burrell
I have just started reading this book but so far it is very interesting!
Review of SWORD QUEST
The legend of Swordbird, who defeated the darkness that threatened to prevail over the Great Spirit, has been passed down by generations of birds. However, few know the story behind the myth and how a humble fledging became a hero.
For the wicked Emperor of the Archaeopteryxes, Hungrias II, there is no limit to his hunger for power and the lengths to which he would go to ensure it. For years, he has sought the Leasorn gems of the fabled Great Sword. His armies have wreaked havoc, destroying villages and families in order to meet the Ancient Wing’s demands. For those who become slaves, they face a life of relentless hard work with little chance of being released; a few are even confronted with the grim possibility of being the emperor’s latest delicacy.
On the first day of winter, during one of the emperor’s many banquets, a soldier takes kindness on a young bird slave referred to as 13-Unidentified. His origins are a mystery, and the soldier is baffled by the emperor’s insistence that he must be guarded at all times, when the visibly exhausted bird toils as a kitchen servant. The young captive is surprised but grateful for the respite. Unfortunately, he gets into trouble when another guard threatens him and then when he rescues a young woodpecker scribe named Ewingerale (Winger). The meeting prompts 13-Unidentified’s memory: his real name is Wind-voice.
Wind-voice is captured once again, but Winger manages to escape and get help from a small group of kingfishers and other species of bird. Meanwhile, Wind-voice is living every bird’s worst nightmare. Just when it looks as though this will be his last moment, however, he is transported into a shadowy world where a strange bird named Yin Soul agrees to save his life in exchange for Wind-voice’s help. Wind-voice is interested in the story of the magical sword but is rightfully suspicious of the offer and refuses. The seemingly sage bird reveals his monstrous true self, but Wind-voice is transported back just in time and makes a fiery grand escape. He is rescued by the woodpecker and taken to the unique community. There, Wind-voice and Winger meet a tough-looking myna named Stormac, and the three unlikely companions are told of the importance of the Leasorn gems.
Wind-voice becomes determined to find the sought-after relics and stop Hungrias’s evil empire once and for all. When the trio sneaks out of the emperor’s territory, they befriend a good-natured eagle named Fleydur. The traveling minstrel offers to join them as they seek to locate the knowledge of the remaining gems. The quest will be a difficult one, as the band must travel to various lands, while events have begun to take shape that may further endanger the future of the birds.
SWORD QUEST is a thrilling adventure brimming with equal amounts of suspense and hope. Nancy Yi Fan’s prose and creativity take flight in this exciting prequel to the 2007 bestseller SWORDBIRD. We hope that this is just the beginning of a long and fruitful career for this talented teenage author.
— Reviewed by Sarah Sawtelle at Kidsreads.com
A 12-year-old Published Author
Okay, I didn’t emphasize this a lot in my last last post. So, here goes.
Nancy Yi Fan is a twelve year old Chinese-American girl who practices martial arts (swordplay). She moved to America when she was 7, and has already written 2 novels, Swordbird and Swordquest. She has also ranked New York Times Bestseller with her book, and has been praised by Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, and even Jackie Chan. I have both of her books, and they’re both okay. I think the reason it topped New York Times Bestseller was more because of the curiousity of what this 12-year-old could do than its content. However, Nancy Yi Fan is really good at word choice and understands how really to write a novel. In addition, Nancy translated the book into chinese all by herself, of which is now put into a bilingual one. There are times when you forget the author to be a 12-year-old. But I think descriptiveness isn’t always the key to a good book. So yeah.
You see? There is hope for all of us. =D
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- Anonymous1 decade ago
The cardinals and blue jays are at war. Strangely enough, they were friends a short while ago, but accusations of egg theft made them enemies. Little did they know that sinister, one-eyed hawk Turnatt stole and ate the eggs to feed his insatiable need for everlasting life. He enlisted an avian army and they enslaved other birds to do his bidding. When the sparring birds learn about the conspiracy behind their sudden animosity, they conclude that the mythical Swordbird might be their only hope for a truce. Swordbird, a white bird and guardian of peace, can be summoned with a song and a gem. The bird tribes send delegates Aska, a blue jay, and Miltin, a robin, across the dangerous White Cap Mountains on a quest for one of the eight known Leasorn gems in existence.
Now living in the U.S., Chinese-born, first-time author Fan began writing this novel when she was twelve years old. She conjures an intricate bird cosmology and hierarchy as a background to the overall plot. The book moves swiftly from chapter to chapter with help from sheer brevity, copious action scenes, and illustrations. Novice readers will enjoy the large text and generous spacing and margins. Advanced readers can muse over the novel’s allegorical nature and literary allusions. The author provides a list of major characters to help keep up with the sizeable cast. Aficionados of Jacques’ Redwall series should enjoy this new offering to the anthropomorphized animal genre.
— Angelica Delgado.
I was totally crazy about your book!I finished the book this weekend and it is amazing!I found it so amazing that Nancy Yi Fan wrote a novel that included both peace and violence.It was so impressive that Nancy wrote this when she was 11!The story is full of suspense and the characters are all birds.I would’ve have thought of that as a story.I hope Nancy Yi Fan continues to write amazing novels.This book should be sold in every language around the world!This book is truly 5 stars.I want Nancy Yi Fan to know that she has been a true inspiration and I hope in the future I could create a book just like this one!
The book is an amazing tale filled with adventure, courageous characters and a message the whole world needs to hear: “Peace is wonderful; freedom is sacred.”
Nancy Yi Fan uses such imagination and vivid detail in the story that you begin to feel as if you’re in the book. Swordbird is perfect for any tween with a good imagination and hopes for a more peaceful world.
-Taylor Glogowski (15 years old)
This is so cool! I’m 12 I love to write, and this gives me a lot of hope.
- Ami (email@example.com)
There are some lovely details and some remarkable use of language. It is not overwrought as some of the teen authors’ works have been of late (not going to mention any names here, but you all can fill in those blanks, I think). The birds have their individual identities, their own voices if you will. I do love some of the references to bird’s more human-like behavior as they tip-claw (rather than tip toe). All in all, I enjoyed the story and anticipate there will be sequels coming along shortly.
Huntsville, Texas, United States
A book anybird could love
Apr 19, 2007 04:30 AM
Planet reviewer. Toronto Star
Swordbird by Nancy Yi Fan
The most amazing thing about Swordbird is that it is written by a 12-year-old girl. Most people can’t really criticize this book because at that age, they were probably struggling just to crank out a couple of pages for a middle-school creative writing assignment.
For a book written by someone that young, Swordbird is incredibly creative and well done.
The book takes place at a time when the blue jays and cardinals of Stone-Run Forest are at war, and even more interestingly, BIRDS CAN TALK. As well, an evil, power-hungry lord named Turnatt is determined to enslave all of the birds and do whatever he can to rule the forest.
The slave birds are determined to obtain a magical gem which will then summon the great hero of the forest, Swordbird.
I liked the fact this fantasy novel didn’t feel like a ripoff of another series. It was quite creative how the book wasn’t centred on humans.
There were a lot of characters to keep track of here, so it’s a good thing that a short guide of who all the characters are and how they relate to each other is included. The characters were well described and seemed almost human – until, throughout the clever use of language, you were reminded they weren’t.
For example, the word “anybody” was changed to “anybird,” “nobody” to “nobird,” and “everybody” to “everybird.”
I think kids will like the fact that this story is different from most and always keeps moving, due to the fact it has multiple, overlapping plots. It also has some short excerpts from made-up books before the start of each chapter to hint at what the following chapter is about. I thought that was a really unique way to set up a plot.
Swordbird is terrific and I was amazed that someone that young was capable of writing a really original and different book that always kept you interested.
Michael Laskaris, 14, Grade 9, Toronto
Reviewer: Angel Pearce Reading Level: Intermediate Rating: Outstanding Genre: Fantasy; Subject: Children’s writings, American; Birds–Juvenile fiction; Fantasy; Books–Reviews.
This book is impressive considering a 12-year-old girl wrote it. It is pretty amazing in fact considering how difficult it is for some children to write a story without rushing to finish it, when it reaches the right length, with something like “and they lived happily ever after.” Swordbird is a fantasy about two warring tribes of birds, the blue jays and cardinals. Like many stories of its type, the hero must follow through with his quest or all is lost. The jacket cover states that Fan wrote this story after a vivid dream about birds as she was wrestling with her feeling about September 11th. Her descriptive narrative is less wordy than many youthful authors and she does not make up unpronounceable words. Students in the fourth to sixth grade and their teachers could use this book as an example of what they could write. Although not classic material, it should find a good following among fans of Redwall and The Guardians of Ga’Hoole.
SWORDBIRD is a fantasy novel written by a twelve-year-old Chinese girl, Nancy Yi Fan, who received her elementary education in the United States. This story is distinct from other books about birds, especially the unforgettable, unique character of Swordbird, who wields a Leasorn sword and helps birds in need. Swordbird is a symbol of justice, peace and freedom, and is called “the Guardian of Peace”.
From the story’s dedication — “To all who love peace and freedom” we can tell that SWORDBIRD’s theme is mainly around war and peace. This universal, eternal subject is brought to the world of birds in Nancy’s debut novel. Birds are armed with weapons and can talk and think and pursue peace and freedom like humans. In this world, there are tyrants and heroes, slavebirds and warriors. The saying “Justice will eventually triumph over evil” once again rings true in this story. Readers will be moved by the way how the woodbirds bravely and unwaveringly struggle for peace.
The story is well-knit and full of suspense. The grand scenes of battlefield action are drastic and sweeping while the thoughts and deeds of the main characters are written with detail and care. Although the story is a thing from imagination, the story’s plots are very realistic and close to life. The beautiful forests and the happy laughter of the Willowleaf Theater against the background of war make readers unconsciously join the ranks of birds to call for peace and freedom.
It is no wonder that an internationally stationed American publisher’s CEO chooses to publish and advertise this book. It is believed that this novel could be in the shelf among the classics of children’s literature in the future.
Swordbird is a fantasy by twelve-year-old author Nancy Yi Fan. It is the story of a war between the cardinals and the bluejays of Stone-Run Forest. Legend has it that only Wind-Voice, a dove with great powers and a flashing sword, can restore the peace. But can Wind-Voice come in time to save the forest’s birds?
I really liked this story! It was a fast read, but a really good one. The only problem that I had with the story was that it was woven together a little bit fast. Overall, I’d have to say that it was a really great story though.
I give this book a nine out of ten!
(This wasn’t for one of the reading challenges.)
Swordbird is a beautifully illustrated work of art. I think Nancy has delicately woven an idea and dream into an unforgettable epic story. When I read the book, I did not know the author was only thirteen years old, because Swordbird was only a random book I picked of the bookshelf of my local bookstore. Lord knows how surprised I was when I found out about the author!
I am twelve, and a lover of writing and reading. I have always dreamed of publishing my own book, but to me, that was just a mere childish thought in my mind. I thought that it was unable to be reached. What publishing company would accept the work of a child?
Nancy has taught me that when you want to do something, you can’t just stay inside and dream about it. Work hard towards your goal, and no matter how old you are, it’s possible. Writing is about expressing your ideas and hopes into words that can be interpreted by the world. Swordbird’s idea was peace. Because Nancy wanted to illustrate the word “peace”, she has, and now, it is not only her own words. It has become everyone’s.
Some thoughts on SWORDBIRD written by a 13-year-old.
SWORDBIRD written by a 13-year-old girl Nancy Yi Fan appeared on the New York Times Bestseller List for seven weeks after it was published in the USA in early 2007. Recently the Chinese-English version was published by the People’s Literature Publishing House of China. It has been flooded with positive reviews. Some reviewers predicted that this novel could become one of the classics in the world of children’s literature (Source: Xinhua News Agency of May 2, 2007).
A 13-year-old kid has written a novel. Maybe you’d say, “Is the writing in the novel naïve?” Yes. Can a novel written by a 13-year-old be more mature than novels written by adult writers? If SWORDBIRD was as sophisticated as a book by an adult author, it would be an adult book. It seems logical that a child would write a novel that is less sophisticated. Think it over, if children can’t retain the sense of innocence and wonder that comes with their relative immaturity, how will they develop into mature persons? Everyone starts out with a less mature sensibiity.
Let’s assume that Swordbird retains a naïve sensibility. But this naïve novel has appeared on the New York Times Bestseller List. What does it indicate? It has met the tastes and needs of children. If you revise and change it into a more sophisticated one, it won’t necessarily guarantee that it will be a bestseller.
Just now I mentioned “the needs of children”. Children’s needs are varied: reading is a fundamental. Nancy Yi Fan likes reading. Although Nancy is in the USA and has read numerous novels in English, she has read the four Chinese classics (the children’s edition). Writing is another fundamental. This is how Nancy puts it: “The enlightening education has cultivated my imaginative thoughts; plenty of after-school leisure time has satisfied my impulse for fun. I often walk in the forest near my home, collecting plant specimens, listening to birds’ songs. Mother Nature gives me inexhaustible inspiration.” Inspiration has borne her creativity as well as her bestseller Swordbird.
Kids have so much in common: their vision of the world, their perception of reality and their reaction to their surroundings. So it makes perfect sense that children would embrace a novel written by one of their own, a child just like themselves.
Perhaps this is why SCARECROW written by Shengtao Ye and FOR LITTLE READERS by Xin Bing are so popular among kids. Both of these adult authors engage children by connecting directly to their hearts.
Kids share common hopes and aspirations. Swordbird is written by a kid for kids. It would be strange if the book didn’t sell well.
According to the Xinhua News Agency’s website report, Chinese kids have almost no opportunity to read for leisure after school. Some students try to find a little time to read science fiction. There are many reasons for this. For example, Chinese elementary and middle school students have to spend about 10 hours in class and doing homework every day. Teachers seldom recommend after-school reading. Neither do parents. Everyone wants to get high test scores; that is understandable. If this continues children will not be able to cultivate good reading habits. Instead, they are attracted to a video culture of television, electronic games, and Internet.
Another reason why Chinese children don’t like reading is that there are almost no children’s books that entice them to read. Although many children’s books are published in China, most of them don’t suit the tastes of kids. Nearly all the books are written by adults, polished by adults from their perspective. Even books that capture a child’s perspective are pale imitations of how kids really think. They don’t reach deeply enough into kids’ hearts and arouse truly childish feelings.
I often receive school journals published by elementary and middle schools, in which many kids’ essays are published. At first I was excited to see their essays. But after perusing them I felt disappointed. Almost all the articles written by kids had an adult sensibility. Are today’s children more mature than us when we were kids? Even if we asked some adults to write the essays in the school journals, I don’t think they could achieve such levels of perfection, maturity and depth. Pondering it over, I determined why the teacher advisors were included after the author credits. These so-called kids’ products are actually carefully “tailored and polished” by the “advising teachers”; they are not the kids’ original writings at all. Little is left of the kids’ heart and soul after a teacher’s edits. Through some investigation I found that these articles were carefully screened by teachers. The final text wasn’t even liked by the young authors themselves. I also learned that these young people wrote the articles in order to gain praise and rewards from their parents. So it is quite possible that some of the kids may use their reward to play electronic games afterwards. Who knows?
Finally, I sincerely suggest that caring parents and teachers buy a copy of Swordbird and read it together with kids and discuss with them about what inspiration they can gain from it.
Nancy, Swordbird was just fabulous! I cannot believe how well it was written, and how well every charactor was explained in it. I just love the themes of this book, and the message that you wrote about was so clear, and wonderful. I completely agree with what you were trying to say, and just love how you write using personification. I think this is one of the best books that I have ever read, and the drawings where just fantastic. I will be eagerly awaiting your next book, if you write another one; which i hope you do!
You may remember me, Sunghyun Kim, from the message box in your site.
I was probably one of your first fans, because I got your book the first day it came out…
I was also the first person to write in your message box at swordbird.com.
I just want to say, your book was very enjoyable, and I have recommended it
to all of my friends. I think you will be the most famous author in the world, next to Charles Dickens and J. K. Rowling. Well, it’ll be really cool if you can email me back along with your probably other thousands of fans.
I love it!!!
Hi I a twelve year old girl named Jessie and I love to write stories although most of them don’t get finished I’m afraid…but I need to find something that I can stick to I guess but I was really excited when I saw your book and that you were a twelve year old girl also.I just got the book today and am already on Chapter 5 but I was encouraged to see that a twelve year old girl like me got her book published.Thanks and maybe I will finish my book now!Please write more you have a talent.
Dear Nacy Yi Fan,
I extremly admire you. You wrote a book called Swordbird. I swear I cannot do this as well as you could… Maybe I’m jealous or admire… But I swear I’ll work as well as you.
Best Wishes from your fan,
- Starry Raven from Hong Kong
I am her age actually and I write books. I could never write a story as captivating and well written as Nancy. Isn’t it just amazing to think that such an original story such as swordbird can come from someone of this age. She really captured a sense of freedom in this story and not many people can trully write from their hearts about how they feel about that kind of thing. Nancy will always remain a favorite author of mine and swordbird, a favorite book.
Oh and another thing! My favorite part of the whole book is the epilougue where Aska leaves swordbird’s feather on Milton’s grave and the grave seems to get brighter.
Long live Windvoice!!! Happy Writing!
- Emily Russell
Author: Nancy Yi Fan
Have you ever heard of birds with weapons? In SwordBird many birds have weapons: there are many dangerous birds, lots of problems, and a Tyrant. The Tyrant is gathering Slavebirds then taking over Nativebirds’ homes. The only way Nativebirds and Slavebirds can put an end to the attacks is to call on the sacred legend, Swordbird.
Nancy Yi Fan was born in 1993 in China. When she was seven, she moved to the U.S. and attended American schools.
Nancy was interested in birds her whole life and got inspired writing a story about birds. Eventually she wrote SwordBird, a fantastic book of fiction about birds with powerful words. SwordBird is Nancy Yi Fan’s only book. She didn’t write or illustrate any other books after she wrote SwordBird.
I would strongly recommend this book to ages nine and up. I think it is worth spending money for SwordBird. I enjoyed it very much. The book uses strong words that are very powerful.
This book reminded me of some events in history, slavery. I would recommend this book for those who like the Redwall and Warriors [Erin Hunter’s series]. I would also recommend this book to strong readers, people who like action, powerful words, and those who enjoy a great story.
What was so fascinating about this (and of course, I am sure that many here at the Noetic Institute have experienced some kind of synchronicity in their lives) is that this small child followed a hunch, so to speak, and look how it paid off for her!
Why did this happen and what does it tell us about synchronicity is the next question? I believe it takes place because Nancy got into the groove of a greater wheel outside the linear flow of her normal left-brain time-space sequencing.
What this means, is that she keyed into alternate reality just beyond the accustomed fringes of her conscious awareness. By doing this, she was able to tap into a probable reality that led her directly into a different time flow. In this new Whole, or time-space flow, she moved from the impossible to the possible.
See how it was just a mind-slip away? That’s how close the possible new you is too–just a nanno-second off from the cycle that you are in now. So stay aware for these probable ‘you’s’ waiting just beyond the visual range of your senses. Who knows–it could lead to a totally new world of possibilities!!
Most of the kids in Shanghai know Swordbird!
I like Swordbird！Because I like peace, too. I hope Swordbird can become a film. And I think many kids will like it. I am waiting for her second book.
I was struck by the richness of your vocabulary, especially your descriptions of the forest and the names of the birds. When Turnatt appeared, your language became suitably ‘dark’. Your explanation of the way in which the Reds and Blues became enemies was believable - and meaningful for the world today. And you built up the suspense well near the end when Miltin was so brave.
- Betty Barr
There are times when that inspiration comes from somewhere you did not anticipate, like a 13-year-old girl, with a gift that is beyond measure and without price. Too many aspiring writers flagellate themselves over writing, and for no good reason. But when it comes to creating the art and honing her craft, this young lady knows how it’s done.
Your book was absolutely amazing. I have never had a book that I can read twice in a row and still love, but yours I can read multiple times and still not want to leave it. I hope one day my book will be as good as yours. Wonderful book, Nancy!
-Alex R. (12 years old)
An outstanding book I’ve ever read before! Nancy Yi Fan has a amazing talent for writing. The plot was just outstanding! Brillant work Nancy! It was worth it! Your book should give about this many Stars. *******************
Hazel H. (13 years old)
The hawk, Turnatt, believes that he could never die if he eats an egg a day. He captures birds for slaves and gathers an army, killing, deceiving, and ultimately causing a war to reach his evil goal. The cardinals and blue jays must turn to the lengendary Swordbird for help!
Two wing-tips up for this awesome book! Swordbird’s delicious balance of poetry and prose, morals and fun stuff, can really make you soar!
Dear Nancy Yi Fan,
I finish reading Swordbird and I really liked it! I am really impressed my your writing. I enjoyed your book so much! I am going to read all of your books that you write. Can you give my some tips about writing novels? I am 13 years old and home-schooled.
Hope to hear from you soon!
I want to put in a good word for Swordbird by Nancy Yi Fan, a rather remarkable 13 year old author. The illustrations in the book are pretty amazing too.
- Jennifer, librarian of Temple Public Library, Temple, TX
I am in the middle of reading SWORDBIRD and I just cant express the tremendous amount of inspiration that you have given to me. I am 12 and to see that my favorite book is made by a 12yr. old is great.
As you can see from my last letter I REALLy admire you I need some more tips about how to keep the reader engaged so if possible I would LOVEit if you could take a bit of time out of your busy schedule to write to me.
KEEP WRITING those books! I believe God has one AMAZING future for you!!!!!!!!
Not far outside of Stone-Run Forest an evil bird, Lord Turnatt, is gaining power. He’s using slavebirds to build a fortress. And his thieving has caused the Cardinal and Blue Jay tribes to declare war on each other, even though they’ve been friends for a very long time. Little do the Cardinals and Blue Jays know that a much worse enemy is preparing an attack.
If the Cardinals and Blue Jays are going to survive, they’ll need to work together. With help from unexpected friends, escaped prisoners, and the mythical Swordbird, they just might make it through, and defeat Lord Turnatt. It will take the talents and abilities of many to overpower evil. But if they can discover how to call Swordbird, they know they can survive.
SWORDBIRD is an animal adventure that’s not just good versus evil, it’s about faith and friendship, too. This book is fun and easy for younger kids, especially since the author is (or was when she wrote it) a twelve-year-old girl!
Reviewed by: Carrie Spellman
From Amazon, reader review column
I am a writer and have FINALLY finished writing a book. *sighs really loud*
IT IS REALLY DIFFICULT!
reading it OVer and OVER and OVER for little mistakes. it comes to the point where you get tired of your book all together. I am really inspired by your book and I hope I can get mine published too! You’re book was written very well. Good luck with the prequel.
Carly J, 13–dreaming of becoming an author
pie is good!
Oooooh, I LOVE Swordbird! But I just started it, so don’t give it away for me! Nancy Yi Fan; I’m very impressed by her! She’s my age, and she’s published a fantastic novel. (The pages practically turn themselves! ).
A Kid’s Review
The blue jays and cardinals are friends, but the hawk Turnatt turned them against one another. As they find the truth and reband, they need the help of Swordbird, a legendary hero. And so they undergo a journey to find him…
THEMES: Peace and freedom, bravery and selflessness
MESSAGES: What does fighting bring us? Fear, misery, hatred, and death. Even the smallest bird has courage and strength.
WRITING: poetic, concise, compelling. Good story structure, with humor, tragedy, suspense and rhythm. Has a fair sprinkling of SAT vocab!
TARGETTED AUDIENCE: ages 8-12, and anyone else who is young at heart.
Can you imagine being 13 years old and having a book published? If you want to know what it would feel like ask 13 year old Nancy Yi Fan. Nancy moved from China to U.S. when she was 7. She just published a novel, Swordbird. Nancy’s motivation for writing Swordbird is her passion for birds. Also, Nancy was trying to cope with her feelings about September 11 th (9/11) while writing the book. Nancy also wrote Swordbird as a way to convey her message of peace to the world.
Swordbird is about Blue Jays and cardinals of Can-Run forest. They are basically at war over supplies, food and even eggs. They are not fighting over who has more. They are fighting because they think each ‘clan’ is stealing those things. But the person who is really stealing from them is Turnatt. Find out who he is in the prologue of the book. The book is also about heroism, courage, and resourcefulness. You may wonder who in the world is Swordbird. Swordbird is a legendary bird. He is son of the Great Spirit.
You may wonder who would want to read Swordbird. Well people who think heroism, courage, and resourcefulness are good themes would like Swordbird. Swordbird is about birds, so people who like birds would like to read this book. Plus, if you think a 13 year old author would be interesting, you would like Swordbird as well. I read a little bit of swordbird and I did not want to stop it was so captivating.
I was really surprised that a 13 years old child can write such a great story,I think it will be my favourite book. I kept reading it. I almost think it was as good as Charlse Dickens’s story. I wish it I can write like that.
This book…. it really inspired me,wanting to write a book of my own,and it really amazed me that a 13 year old wrote this great book about peace and birds.
This book caught my eye because the author started writing the book when she was 13. The novel is turning into an interesting allegory for peace, using tribes of birds as representatives for the human race. The plot is compelling (how to maintain peace when war is threatening from all corners) and the writing is fairly well done- outstanding, in fact, when you consider the age of the author!
- The Witty Librarian
A little book with a big moral.
The story, simple as it might seem to be, contains something profound and meaningful to the world: it sows the seeds of peace and freedom in the hearts of children who read it. You can find volumes of bloody, gory battles for adults, yet you can hardly find such a story for children that, through an idyllic world of birds, so gently and yet so vividly illustrates the price of battle, the value of life, the weight of peace and freedom.
A book that’s great all the way.
Rating: five stars
I think that this book is a wonderful achivement for someone so young. I too have the dream of becoming a writer. when I found out that a 13 year old have writen one I instantly read it.
My thanks to Nancy Yi Fan! You have given me the courage and motivation to carry on writing!!
- dragon rider
I would give this story the best rating there is out there. Nancy Yi Fan truly captured the importance of peace and gave out the right idea about it. I found it amazing that she came to the USA only when she was 7, and before that she was from China. I’m from China myself (Although I came when I was 2), and even though I’m 12 now, I will never be able to write like her. I admire Nancy Yi Fan with all my heart, and I hope she will be able to keep weaving unbelievable tales from her own heart. Keep writing!
A compelling story of good and evil, joy and sadness, and many other aspects needed for a truly entrancing tale, Nancy Yi fan weaves her own beautiful world through her wonderful story.
Have You Heard About “Swordbird?”
Al Roker had a segment on the Today show called “Al’s Book
Club for Kids” and he featured a 14 year old published
author named Nancy Yi Fan. She wrote “Swordbird” at the age
of twelve and apparently it is a popular book that boys and
girls love. The book is published by Harper Collins.
She was such a charming interviewee and I thoroughly
enjoyed hearing her advise other children who wanted to
write and publish stories.
Swordbird is a phenomenal book written by a seventh grade Chinese girl. Born in China, and raised in the United States, Nancy Yi Fan is now living in China again and has proved to be an talented author with her first astounding novel. Nancy’s story about war and peace will convey a message so powerful given that it was created by such a young girl. She has dreamed up an extremely creative plot and with her wonderful imagination and intelligence, has created a story that will stick with you forever. When you go back and look at it, you will be amazed at how powerful a book about birds at war could possibly be. This book made me think that if humans could fight so drastically, then really, why can’t birds? Though this book is about birds, it is a lot more about human beings, as it is quite symbolic and provides a perfect analogy of what our own brutal species is doing to the world.
Dear Nancy Yi Fan,
I am enjoying your book greatly. You have inspired me to reach for the stars as you have since you have written this wonderful novel. I hope to get one of my books published just like you. ( I expect to get rejected as many authors have.) Anyway I just wanted to tell you how much you’ve inspired me in my writing. Thanks!
Your Fan Forever,
I’ve always wanted to be an author. Since second grade I have been writing mini stories in journals. Today when I heard a 13 year old author was going to be on TV I just had to watch! I’m glad I did too because it was really inspiring to me.
You have been a BIG inspiration to me. : )
I very much like reading and my favourite books are fantasy and adventure, books like SWORDBIRD and THE DRAGON KEEPER, etc.
- Tony Slark, UK, 16 years old
I’ve done a lot of waiting in my life. Waiting for that next phase, you know? When I’m in junior high, THEN I’ll be cool. When I’m in high school and have a car, THEN I’ll be happy. When I get a boyfriend life will be perfect. When I get that latest purse I will feel totally cute. When I’m Homecoming Queen then life will be complete.(Sadly, that one never happened. A moment of silence, if you will…) Then finally you wake up one day and realize you’ve accomplished nothing… but a whole bunch of waiting.
So what are you waiting for? Think you’re too young to make a difference? Not old enough to accomplish your dream?
In fifth grade, Nancy Yi Fan began writing a story about birds struggling for freedom. This story turned into the book Swordbird, Nancy was thirteen when the book debuted. Unbelievable!
And what about the author of Eragon and Eldest? Christopher Paolini wrote Eragon when he was fifteen! Do you know what I was doing at fifteen? Probably watching Saved by the Bell reruns or something.
Is God asking you to step out on faith and achieve something? Could he be asking you to step out of your comfort zone? What is that big goal pressing on your heart?
And most importantly…what are you waiting for?
A fantasy in the vein of the Redwall series, Fan’s precocious first book (the author’s only thirteen-years old) is enchanting and action-packed. The cardinals and blue-jays of Stone-Run Forest begin to battle and only the legendary Swordbird has the power to restore peace and order.
–Norwood School’s library, MD
Ever since The Guardian remarked on 11-year-old Nancy Yi Fan’s book deal with HarperCollins, I’ve been noticing more and more new authors with ones at the start of their ages …
Super-kids are popping up all over the place—that means kids are reading, right? That means hope is not lost for a Generation Z Catcher in the Rye. It’s on the cards, I can feel it.
I loved your book Swordbird and it is so cool that you got it published. I loved how you described the birds and their personalities. You’ve inspired me a bit on the book I am working on right now that I hope to get published in the future. Keep on working!
I loved your book and I am writing a report on it for school.
Out of the hands of 13-year-old Nancy Yi Fan, the fantasy novel SWORDBIRD was published worldwide in February 2007 by one of the international publishers, HarperCollins. Media from different countries are buzzing about this New York Times Children’s Bestseller. This March, PLP published the Chinese-English bilingual edition of SWORDBIRD, which had been translated by the author herself. Indeed, the book has captured the hearts of readers and the media.
Here’s why I think this book is so well received:
1. It has a timely message. In a world of fluttering birds, the theme that peace and freedom are sacred prevails. Undeniably we value and support these principles. Imagine what the devastation of nuclear war would do to your daily ritual of instant messaging on your laptop or reading under a tree.
2. It was written by a 13-year-old author. Its childish charm reminds you of those little stick figure doodles. It’s like them, simple and poignant. Reading the book may just bring out your childhood dreams.
3. It inspires other children. It’s astonishing how kids can be motivated by one another.
4. The 2008 Olympics is being held in Beijing. China is big news. It’s easy to see why the work written by a young writer of Chinese origin would receive so much attention. Even Jackie Chan recommends this book. HarperCollins’ plan to translate and publish 50 Chinese modern classics demonstrates how Chinese culture is now on display to the world.
5. It has won recognition. Since the book was published, experts in children’s literature have praised Nancy Yi Fan’s debut novel. The General Administration of Press and Publication in China placed SWORDBIRD in the 2007 List of 100 Best Children’s Books. SWORDBIRD ranked 3rd out of 30 novels and collections of short stories in the fiction and art genre and 1 st in the original chapter books category.
HarperCollins, in publishing books including SWORDBIRD, has encouraged children to read and think about fostering peace in the world. Jane Friedman not only has helped pave the way for reading and writing among American kids, but she has also planted the love for peace and freedom in the hearts of global kids. She is undoubtedly one of the greatest CEOs in the publishing industry worldwide.
Swordbird was a fantastic book for children and adults, it made you feel warm inside to know that such a little girl has gone this far to make such a wonderful book, many thanks to that little girl, Nancy Yi Fan.
I suggest that you read Swordbird. From it, those full of childhood memories will get thoroughly enlightened about life.
I think that swordbird is a marvelous book; the discriptions of the scenes were amazing, the characters WERE described very well, especially Turnatt. It is filled with picture-like discriptions, and wonderful plot-lines. The theme of the book, peace, is a wonderful thing to write about, and I truly think that Nancy has a great heart. I also love animals, and she describes the forest and the appearance of the birds very, very well. There are so many literary elements in the world, and Swordbird has its own. It has a wonderful moral, and that really is the most important thing. We need to reach out to today’s youth, telling them the importance of some subjects, such as peace. Nancy has done just that. She has reached out to many the importance of peace in a language they understand, and I respect her for that. She really is one of the most amazing young women that I have ever heard about. She is an inspiration to me, and she gives me hope. Peace is a topic that everyone needs to know about, and more importantly understand.
I’d recommend Swordbird to anyone, even those not in the recommended age group. The story protrays its message very clearly.
I like Swordbird. This delicate story has a far-reaching meaning, which reminds me of those several-lined poems handed down throughout the ages. I think the significance of a literary work does not necessarily lie on its complexity or length but on its moral and meaning. This is particularly true for children’s books.
There are many messages carried inside Swordbird. The message of peace, of course, that is prevailing throughout the book; I respect this greatly because it is a hard feat to keep that message sailing whenever times are looking tough. I respect peace. It is a beautiful thing. And there is the outside message, which I believe will give hope and courage to generations of young writers to come. Looking at the successes of Nancy Yi Fan I was almost in tears, so happy at all that could be. As a young writer myself I feel I can truly say that she is an inspiration and a motivation to get up and try to the whole of the younger generation — or at least those who listen instead of talking.
Hi!!!Your book interested me soooooooooooooooooooooooooo much!!!!! You probably get this a lot but, YOU ARE OFFICIALLY THE COOLEST AUTHER EVER! Your book was a dream come true!!!!!
This is kind of a dumb question but, is “Sword Quest” a real book?
Dear Nancy Yi Fan,
My name is Kristen. I am 10 years old. I read your book and really liked it. I have a few questions for you. How long did it take you to write? What is your favorite bird? Why? Thank you for reading my letter!
Swordbird is great! My favorite characters were: Miltin, Aska, Skylion, and of course Swordbird.
I really liked your book. I thought it was very interesting.
I love this book so much I can finish it in one day! Did you know that I have blue jays, cardinals, and crows in my back yard? My favorite characters are Aska, Cody, Miltin and Swordbird.
By: Claire T.
I read your book and I really liked it. I want to know if you are going to write a sequel for Swordbird.
Dear Nancy Yi Fan,
My name is Mary and I loved your book. I hope someday we can meet.
I really like your book. I think birds are cool too. Do you have any birds as pets? In your book “Swordbird” my favorite character is Flame-back, the leader of the cardinals. In fact my favorite bird is a cardinal.
Many of the students seemed inspired that a girl so young could do so much. Perhaps they too will be able to achieve such accomplishements. You truly are a role model for our youth.
- A. Brown
Fantasy can even offer such benefits as helping a nation deal with a national tragedy, such as Nancy Yi Fan’s Swordbird.
- Cari Keebaugh
My name is Jen and I’m 14, and I’m writing to say I absolutely loved Swordbird. The message behind it and the whole story captured me in this wonderful tale about courage and freedom.
I decided to read your book when I saw your interview on the Martha Stewart show, and I think it’s amazing how someone your age had a dream of writing a book.
I’ve always had a dream of writing a book but I never thought I could until I heard about you and read your book now I’m writing a book and I hope it will be published. Thank you for being a young inspiration to young readers and writers across the world, your one of my inspirations.
Jen G. 14
After you visited us, I had several students tell me that they were now going to attempt to write a book. They were SO excited about it. As a teacher, it brings me immense joy to see kids so excited about writing. You should be very proud that you have such a profound positive influence on kids.
— Mrs. Barnello
- 1 decade ago
Nancy Yi Fan, read by Colleen Delaney. HarperChildren’s Audio, unabridged, four CDs, four hours, ISBN 978-0-06-123398-2
As any fan of Brian Jacques’s Redwall saga knows, the forest is teeming with societies of animals that have complicated dynamics. Thirteen-year-old author Yi Fan’s debut novel joins the genre with her tale told from the birds’ vantage point, translated handily to audio by Delaney. The narrator’s steady, assured delivery paints a captivating fantasy world for listeners, replete with feathered heroes and villains. Turnatt, the tyrant hawk, forces his enslaved woodbird subjects to steal eggs and food from both the blue jays and the cardinals, causing the two bird tribes to blame each other and go to war. But when a neutral party reveals Turnatt’s plan, the warring factions join forces to seek out the Swordbird, Son of the Great Spirit, the only true hope to help them restore peace. Though listeners may have trouble differentiating Delaney’s bird character voices, adventure, action and allegory abound here, helping this recording to take wing. A bonus interview with the author is included. Ages 10-up. (Feb.)
Staff of Publishers Weekly
I saw an article in a children’s newspaper about a young girl called Nancy Yi Fan who had published a book. When I read Swordbird, I was amazed how the author described every character, event, and place with such detail, and how the plot worked out so well. I really enjoyed reding Swordbird, and cannot wait for the sequel to come out!
- Téa Kvetenadze
I think your book is awesome. We read it at school but I wanted to read it again because it was so good. You have encouraged me to write. I liked seeing you at my school too. Thank you!
I enjoyed your story. The best part is the way you write — crisp, clear, not a wasted word. The story as well is tidy, pleasant, and compelling.
I loved your use of language — your precise use of verbs such as ‘pinioned’, ‘scurry’, ‘bobbed’, ‘gurgles’, ‘rippled’, etc, the made-up pronouns with such clarity (e.g ‘anybird’) and the images like ‘a thick wall of pines’. The names and terms you used drew me into the story. ‘Slavebird’, ‘Flame-back’ for a cardinal, ‘Skylion’ for a blue jay, ‘Bone-squak’, and ‘Swordbird’ are all in a true fantasy fashion. The index of names at the end is kind of a treat. Actually all the extra stuff enhanced the book appropriately….
Your book is brilliant in all of its detail and craft.
Linda Leonard Lamme,
Professor of Children’s Literature, Ph.D.
University of Florida
Swordbird is the most inspirational book for kids wanting to write their own books. It has everything an important book should have, and you may not even believe that a 12/13 year old wrote this. When I write my books and I get stuck, I find myself thinking “What would Nancy do?” It’s real great.-Erin G.
Dear Nancy, today I finished Swordbird. You are such an inspiring author!!! I think you should write a sequel or turn it into the first book of a series. It would be cool if we could see Miltin again!
I want to be cautious to not undermine the author’s skill level and potential because of her age. It’s undeniably a remarkable book considering the author’s age. Truth be told, many adult authors neglect to proofread their work. So, it’s admirable and inspiring to see someone who isn’t even a teenager yet to publish such a successful book. Admittedly, the storyline is targeted for the younger audience, as it was written by a younger person, so I wouldn’t recommend this to the average adult, but it’s a great book for children whose curiosity and interest in animals are at their peak. This book is engaging for them and offers a sense of mysticism that they can connect to. It’s like the Disney movie version of a book with an underlying political and moral compass. It’s best for young children whose reading level is advancing. It’ll also be so encouraging for children to know that someone their age accomplished such a goal.
With that said a well-written book by such an accomplished and dedicated writer more than deserves our support.
- Erik Espinoza
Yi Fan’s tightly woven story delivers a manifest message promoting peace and freedom. Starring woodland bird characters, the saga pits the tyrannical hawk Turnatt, captor of “slavebirds” whom he shackles and puts to work building his fortress, against the cardinals and blue jays. Though once friendly, these two benign flocks are now at war: Turnatt’s soldiers have stolen eggs and food from each flock (the hawk eats a purloined egg daily, believing this will “keep death away”), and have led each camp to believe the other is responsible for the thefts. One of the slavebirds, a robin named Miltin, escapes to tell Aska, a brave young jay, about Turnatt’s evil doings and his plan to enslave all the local woodbirds. Blue jays and cardinals join forces to vanquish the despot, a mission that entails several diverting twists, including a search for the necessary elements to summon the Swordbird, the “mystical white bird, the son of the Great Spirit.” The author occasionally relieves the tale’s ample tension with snippets of humor. While feasting with a traveling troupe of winged thespians, for instance, the cardinals and blue jays drive away Turnatt’s marauding forces by bombarding them with bean soup and raspberry pies. Experienced readers will recognize the familiar allegory here, but the book will likely appeal to Redwall fans, and this young writer is worth watching.
- Publishers Weekly
Dear Nancy, When is your next book going to come? Just to tell you, your book is great!
I admire such a young girl. Her writing is so outstanding and her thoughts are so mature. This novel has appreared on the New York Times Bestseller List and sells hot worldwide. Its Chinese version was translated by Nancy Yi Fan herself.
- Shelly Chiu
First “Eragon”, Now “Swordbird”
Another young author is hitting the big time with a published book. Nancy Yi Fan dreamt of her story when she was 11. At 13, her first book - Swordbird - is due out in February from Harper Collins - with a first printing of 50,000 copies. That is HUGE. What a great story.
Nancy Yi Fan was eleven when she began writing Swordbird. The story grew from a dream she had following class discussions of the Revolutionary War, terrorism, and 9/11. Wheeling freely through the viewpoints of multiple characters and beyond, this is the story of a society of birds in the grip of an ongoing feud. The blue jays and cardinals have been squabbling for generations, but now a tyrannical hawk is using slave-catchers to escalate the conflict in the pursuit of absolute power. When Aska of the Bluewingle tribe meets the slavebird Miltin, the resulting small steps toward freedom lead eventually to a great battle and the triumph of sacrifice and heroism. This writing has a youthful exuberance. The reach of the story is vast and courageous. Its precocious accomplishment is evident in the invention of “somebird” and “anybird” as pronouns, and in somber yet ingenuous revelations (”…every egg was bought with scars and bruises” about the marauding hawk Turnatt’s past. Elsewhere, the writer’s age shows more plainly. Bean soup and raspberry pie overcome armed raiders. Aska exhorts the blue jays to take risks “with a determined tone in her voice.” Yet the same flat delivery renders sharply sinister the scene in which Turnatt wantonly kills a raven. Mark Zug’s black-and-white drawings repeat strategically, offering a visual underpinning to the characters and story line. In balance, even given the quirky and unpredictable nature of childhood writing, this young writer seems a natural word bird. With luck, despite her rise to early international fame, she will successfully negotiate the complex choreography of writing and life that would seem to be foreshadowed by this debut.
This young author has a very Tolkien-esque storytelling style. Her book shows the power of friendship to overcome difficulties and portrays a desire for peace that I think every reader will be able to relate with. The characters are endearing and their struggles seem like my own as I read this creative fantasy.
- Kirsten (Great Meadows, NJ)
- 1 decade ago
I just finished Swordbird and it’s an excellent book. I thought it was nice that I’m not the only one who has thoughts about peace and war. It was a powerful book. If the book becomes a movie, I think it would win an award. Great job. It gave me inspiration to turn my story into a book.
- Megan Cahill, 14 years old, Long Island, NY
Most impressive! It will be interesting to see how Fan develops as an author as she matures. The next great American novelist just may be from China.
Manchester Center, VT
What an incredible story! It’s exciting, adventurous, and magnificent. It has fabulous characters in a captivating world that really sucked me in. Loved it!
Linh (San Jose, CA)
“The Swordbird,” is especially notable because the author, Nancy Yi Fan, is only 12 years old; Nancy had a vivid dream one night about birds at war while she was also wrestling with her feelings about Sept. 11. She wrote the book to convey a message of peace, but she also succeeded in writing a remarkable piece of fantasy literature.
- Phyllis Peter
“Nancy Yi Fan has done a lot in 13 years.”
— Time for Kids
This book was absolutely amazing the story line, and characters.
SWORDBIRD is a great read! It’s like the air I breathe every morning when I open the windows: fresh and cool. The 12-year-old young writer, Nancy Yi Fan, drew me completely into her imaginative world with “freshly brewed acorn and dandelion tea” and the hawk Turnatt’s attitude “a woodbird egg a day will keep death away”. The book’s simple yet poetic language, its smooth and natural flow, its story structure and cliff-hangers deeply impressed me. It’s natural, plain and pure. The moral of Swordbird is strong: war hurts both parties; selflessness is powerful. Young readers can realize these between lines. I strongly recommend the book!
- John Lockhart
I always knew there was greatness inside this English as a second language learner. I was her teacher. I wondered as I read Swordbird how the author would create an ending. I was not disappointed.
Over the course of two nights I read Swordbird a young adult fantasy by Nancy Yi Fan. I actually stole this one from my wife’s collection. I don’t read a lot of young adult fiction or fantasies but this one was written by a young girl, eleven or twelve when she started writing it if I remember right, who came to America at an early age. I was curious to see how someone so young writing in what I believe was her second language, I could be wrong about that since it has been awhile since i heard her background, pulled off such an ambitious project.
I am honored to make a statement about Swordbird and its remarkable 13 year-old author, Nancy Yi Fan. The more I learn about Nancy, the more I admire her. I was so impressed to find out that even though Nancy had to learn English when she moved to the US from China [at age 7], she studied so hard that she was able write an entire book in English just a few years after learning it! I am very happy that she has continued to study Chinese and was even able to translate Swordbird from English to Chinese. It always makes me sad to hear about Chinese who move overseas and leave behind their language and customs. I am so proud of Nancy for continuing to treasure our culture.
Swordbird is a story about peace, freedom, and tolerance. These are all things that are very close to my heart. When I travel throughout the world and see what happens to people because of war and violence – for example, the landmine victims in Cambodia – it breaks my heart. I know that Nancy wrote her story partly as a reaction to the events of 9/11. I’m happy that she found a way to express her desire for peace and freedom. I think that Nancy is an inspiration to a lot of people and she is proof that if you work hard and dream big, anything can happen!
- Jackie Chan
from Los Angeles, CA
At age 13, Nancy Yi Fan may be HarperCollins’s youngest author, but her fantasy novel about warring birds and their struggle for freedom is getting some adult-sized attention. As part of a five-city tour, Nancy discussed her book on Martha on February 12. There, the Audubon Society of Florida made her an honorary member, and a bald eagle from the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey was adopted in her name.
Having read the excerpt I just can’t help but want to buy one to read myself… It’s my favorite line of fiction…
Thank you for writing Swordbird. I loved reading it. I think this book should be made into a kids movie because it is a learning story about peace. I hope you write more awesome books for young adults.
Mark Brown (10)
I first heard about Swordbird while reading a Discovery Girls magazine.
I read that article about Nancy Yi Fan over and over. In fact, the page has lost its glossy shine.
I was amazed that a girl my age had written a book- and gotten it published! You see, that has been my dream since 3rd grade.
Reading about Nancy’s sucess helped me realize that ‘I needed to write. Writing is my passion (one of them!) and I’ll never stop.’
A few weeks later, my mom was at her school’s bookfair. She called me and asked what book I wanted. Immediatly, I said ‘Swordbird, by Nancy Yi Fan.’
They didn’t have it, so my mother ordered it. There was a mix up at the place where she ordered it, so I didn’t get it. A while later, they called and said that they would mail it. So, I waited in anticipation.
About 4 days later, it came. I had just gotten home from a muddy trip to a park and museum, and was engrossed in the book ‘Troll Hill’.
Mom said to me ‘Your book is here!’ Almost at once, I sat the other book down and started Swordbird.
A couple pages in, my little neighbor came by with a care package, because I was sick at the time. (Actually, that was just a few hours ago- I’m still sick of course!)
Sitting down to some ginger tea with honey in it, I returned to the book.
It was better than I thought. In just about an hour and a half or two ,I finished Swordbird. “Wow.” All I could say was “Wow.”
Such a powerful story, with a powerful message, written by a girl not much older than myself. “Wow.”
And so, that is how I heard about, anticipated, read, and thought about Swordbird.
Swordbird has a more straightforward presentation but a more unusual provenance.
Swordbird is basically a revamped fairy tale with Aesopian overtones. This does not make it an uninteresting book – in fact, the target audience of readers ages 8-12 will likely find it enthralling.
- The Infodad Team
Fan weaves a compelling tale whose intent is not only to entertain but to uplift, to inspire people into seeking peace and unity. She’s already working on a related novel, and I wish her the best of luck.
I read an interview with the young author of this book; she’s mighty impressive, and you can tell somehow intuitively thinks like a writer, even at eleven. Haven’t read the book yet, though your review reminded me I want to!
That was a great read. You can tell from her quotes that she has a gift.
- Sam Hranac
Fresh, vivid, compelling, full of fun and morals… Swordbird not only has the elements of a great story, but also contains the rich imagination and hopes of a child. I believe that there is something as fantastic in every kid’s heart. Yet Nancy was endowed with the skill to express it; it is Nancy Yi Fan’s fortune as well as ours.
– A Jia (famous book reviewer)
This 12-year-old girl’s story can become a golden feather in your memory.
I bought your book yesterday and I’ve already finished it! I really enjoyed reading it and can’t wait for your next book. By the way, I’m a 8 year old girl from England.
This is a great book of fiction and violence, very enjoyable.
An action-packed adventure that readers won’t be able to put down,
Swordbird has all the makings for a classic epic fantasy novel.
- HarperCollins, UK
I really like this book because it’s exciting and different because the characters are all birds. The blue jays are battling the cardinals because an evil hawk is tricking them by stealing their food and eggs. The hawk is trying to build a fortress so he can rule the bird world and he makes the other birds into slaves. Swordbird is the hero in the story because he saves the other birds. The story is exciting because there are many different places in the bird world and the hawk is trying to rule it all. I also like this book because the author wrote it when she was in the sixth grade.
- Dalton Booker, 3rd grade
When I taught her in 2005 she was a middle school student in a group of mainly university students, and her English was head and shoulders over theirs! After doing some Google searches and learning more about her background. I learned that when I taught her she was only 11 years old, but she had lived for several years in the USA.
- Professor Rob Loach
Bob Jones University, Greenville, SC
I am thinking about the books my son is reading or has read, he LOVED “Swordbird” it was written by a twelve year old girl.
Just wanted to say Swordbird by Nancy Yi Fan was quite impressive. Keep up the great books.
Very impressive. Very reminiscient of the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. Cute.
The cardinals and blue jays are at war. Strangely enough, they were friends a short while ago, but accusations of egg theft made them enemies. Little did they know that sinister, one-eyed hawk Turnatt stole and ate the eggs to feed his insatiable need for everlasting life. He