FICTION

Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers

Kokila. Sept. 2019. 384p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780425290439.
COPY ISBN
Gr 4-7–Lane Disanti is spending the summer with her grandmother as she tries to get used to a newly fractured family. Lane decides to create a secret club to make some friends of her own. Banking on anonymity and mystery being an enticement, she drops invitations into programming bags at the library. Three very different girls find the invitations and attend the first meeting. Ofelia Castillo is a budding 12-year-old reporter always on the hunt for the next big story. Having overprotective parents means Ofelia has little opportunity to put her sleuthing skills to good use. Aster Douglas lives with her grandpa, who homeschools her and teaches her the art of civil disobedience. She whips up culinary delights to distract her from the absence of a father who died in combat and a mother stationed in Japan. Catarina Garcia is a young ornithologist trapped by her mother’s desire to see her wearing the feathery crown of the Floras, the local Scouts. The other Floras members, including her old best friend Alice, make fun of her ideas about bird preservation. The four girls learn about friendship as they grow to support one another over a common cause. This story is a wonderful look at the complex and fragile nature of friendships. Pérez skillfully examines themes of change, allowing each girl to shine, and their unique character arcs are creatively explored.
VERDICT A perfect title for school and public libraries seeking realistic books about friendship

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