Crane Boy

By: Diana Cohn
Illustrator: Youme Landowne
A boy and his classmates wait for the annual return of the black-necked cranes to the kingdom of Bhutan.


Every year, Kinga and his classmates wait for the black-necked cranes to return to the kingdom of Bhutan. The birds fly south over the highest mountains in the world to winter in the valley where Kinga lives, deep in the Himalayas. The cranes have been visiting the valley since ancient times, but every year, fewer cranes return. Kinga is concerned. "What can he do?" he wonders. He and his classmates approach the monks for permission to create and perform a dance to honor the cranes and to remind the Bhutanese people of their duty to care for them. The monks caution them to first watch the cranes to see how they move and learn from them. The children watch and practice. And practice some more until the big day when they perform before the king of Bhutan.

Awards and Accomodations

2016 South Asia Book Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature, Highly Commended Book Title
2016 Green Earth Honor Book

6 reviews for Crane Boy

  1. Kirkus Review
    [Diana] Cohn weaves numerous details about Bhutanese life and culture into her smoothly told story; Youme adds even more with watercolor images in a naïve style that nicely matches Kinga’s present-tense narration. … [Crane Boy] gracefully celebrates both a little-known culture and its beloved birds.

  2. Foreword Reviews
    The soft watercolor illustrations are as graceful as the text … a fascinating, exquisite book.

  3. Judy Reads Books
    Not only is this a charming tale, beautifully told and exquisitely illustrated, it introduces all of us to a fascinating country and culture through the eyes of a child. —Judy Freeman

  4. Midwest Book Review
    Crane Boy is the beautiful story of a boy in Bhutan who loved the return of the black-necked cranes to his valley each year.

  5. School Library Journal
    Give this lovely picture book to any child who is looking to change the world for the better. —Colleen S. Banick

  6. Booklist Online
    This tale of wildlife conservation is narrated by a boy named Kinga, who eagerly awaits the annual return of the black-necked cranes to his Himalayan village. … The illustrations throughout showcase both Bhutanese life (filled with boisterously decorated prayer flags, flamboyant buildings, and lush forests) and the exquisite beauty and strength of the cranes, seen flying in formation and close-up.

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