Thursday, December 29, 2016

Schroder, Monika. Be Light Like A Bird.

Schroder, Monika.  Be Light Like A Bird.  Capstone Publishers  2017  240p  $25.99  ISBN 978-1-4965 3301-2  ms/jr  Realistic fiction VG-BN

When Wren’s father dies in a plane crash, her mother ineffectively deals with her grief by junking all of his things and sets out to find a better place to live. (“Any place but here.”) After attending three new schools in less than a year, 12-year-old Wren puts her foot down and tells her mother they must settle down. At the school in Pyramid, Wren is the odd person out. She tries to fit into the popular crowd but quickly realizes that she is not accepted. Another misfit, Theo, becomes her partner on an English debate project.  She begins to realize that she and Theo make a good pair, as both become deeply involved in saving an untouched pond, home to many species of birds and wildlife, from being filled in for an expansion of the local landfill. The extended cast of quirky characters helps Wren and Theo, on the project as well as offering sage advice on life.  The local conservation effort is seamlessly brought into the plot, with school and community conflicts presented realistically. The novel does not necessarily have a happy-ever-after ending, but it is an ending that is filled with hope for the future for Wren, her mother, Theo, and his father. The author contrasts the metaphors of  being light as a bird (who has a direction and goals) versus light as a feather (that just floats), lending a unique view of how to live life. A novel to be cherished.  Recommended for all middle school students as the conservation subplot keeps the story of grief and its effects on characters from becoming too heavy.

Summary: When Wren’s father dies, her mother ineffectively deals with their grief. Three new schools in less than a year is difficult. Wren becomes active in an effort to save a pond from being bulldozed into a landfill. Excellent writing. Characters well drawn. Gr. 5-8.           

Grief-Fiction, Conservation-Fiction                                                                           --Lois McNicol

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