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Claire, a glasswing butterfly whose transparent wings reflect her lush home, finds herself lost in the city after being separated from her family. She doesn’t know how they will ever see her, but she finds new city friends, a pigeon, an ant, and a ladybug, who search for the flowers Claire needs to live. They come upon a tiny urban garden, and as Claire drinks from the flowers’ nectar, she pollinates more flowers. Soon the garden—and Claire’s clear wings—fill with color, allowing her family to recognize her at last. Together they create an oasis for all to enjoy. Facts about glasswing butterflies and pollination complete this beautiful and educational picture book.


Dial Books, 2013


“The radiance of each spread seems purely intended to provoke joy, kindheartedness, and optimism.”

 -- Publishers Weekly

“ Seasoned illustrator Kleven presents a rich, colorful picture book with a strong ecological message...Young children will enjoy spotting the myriad details in the sumptuous collages that fill the pages, modulating the palette expertly as Claire transforms the gray city into a garden.  A joyously optimistic book.”
-- Kirkus

“ In a lovely meshing of science and story, Kleven highlights a lesser known species of butterfly and introduces concepts about insects and habitats... Kleven’s trademark collages burst with color and are brimming with details that make readers want to walk right into the pictures. This emotionally satisfying story will be equally at home in storytime or science class.”
--School Library Journal


“ This uplifting ecological escapade depicts the journey of Claire, a Glasswing butterfly... Since Claire’s wings are clear, she tries on different colors in her environment from sky-blue to feathery green. Her favorite look is flowery. In short but charmingly descriptive sentences, Kleven describes Claire’s lush field, her family and her joy... Collage art takes on dizzying perspectives as Claire flies around tall buildings and crowded streets. Kind strangers – an ant, a ladybug and a pigeon – take Claire under their wing and lead her to a scrawny garden to find nectar. As the foursome lingers there, they help pollinate and seed the garden (people do their part, too). Although she still misses her home, the new blooms please Claire and, one magical day, attract Claire’s family, making the plot a butterfly garden. This fanciful but firmly-grounded tale will inspire children everywhere to create similar green spaces.”
-- Booklist

A Bank Street College Best Book of  2013, "Book of  Outstanding Merit"  

A California Book Award Finalist

One of the nicest things about making picture books is seeing the creative projects they inspire. This fantastic GLASSWINGS banner was made by the children in the photo and their dedicated, creative teacher. 


From Elisa:

Read  more about Glasswings on Julie Danielson's wonderful site by clicking the link.

And to see more butterflies, please see photos from my project at the Albany CA Public Library, in July, 2013.


chinese glasswings.jpg

GLASSWINGS in Mandarin

Quilt based on GLASSWINGS, created by my friend and  neighbor, Kathie Johnston.

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