Sunday, August 28, 2016

Arc Review: Be Light Like a Bird by Monika Schröder

Be Light Like a Bird by Monika Schröder. 240 p. Capstone Press, August 15, 2016. 9781623707491. (Review from arc courtesy of author.)

Twelve-year-old Wren is reeling after her father dies in a plane crash over the Atlantic. She wants nothing more than to find comfort in her mother but, after she angrily burns all his papers she packs the car, Wren ends up the new girl at several schools before they finally settle down (at Wren's insistance) in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Wren finds some solace in birding at Pete's Pond. When she discovers that it is slated to be turned into a garbage dump, she and her new friend, Theo, who lost his mother, try to save the pond. 

I resisted staying up all night to read this quiet, elegant, powerful portrait of grief. Instead, I picked it up and nibbled throughout the day before finishing in the evening, when I closed the book with a satisfied sigh. I was smitten with Wren from the first page. I can't wait to get this into the hands of my fifth and sixth grade students who love sad books! Despite the incredible sadness in Wren's life, she describes herself as being surrounded by a cloud, she is a survivor. 

I have read three of the four books Ms. Schröder has written. I enjoyed them all and wish she was appreciated more. She creates unique characters dealing with unusual problems. I loved the fact that Wren decided to go birding to console herself and attempt to feel closer to her dad. Her journey to social activist was realistically portrayed. She makes her own errors in judgement along the way. The adults are doing the best that they can with what they have, including Wren's mother, who I initially decided was the. worst. mother. in. middle. grade. literature.

Give Be Light Like a Bird to your thoughtful readers who don't mind shedding a tear or two along the way.

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