Extraordinary Birds

Sandy Stark-McGinnis. Bloomsbury, $16.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-5476-0100-4
After bouncing from one foster residence to the next for three years, December, 11, dreams about reuniting with her mother and also about transforming into a bird, wings bursting from the scars on her back. Her current foster mom, Eleanor, works with birds as an animal rehabilitator and a taxidermist, which fascinates and disquiets December in equal measure. As December helps Eleanor rehabilitate a red-tailed hawk and finds a new friend in her classmate Cheryllynn (whose gender fluidity is mocked and rejected by their classmates), she cautiously begins to honestly acknowledge her past while contemplating what “belonging to a place” might mean. Stark-McGinnis nimbly constructs poignant relationships born of reciprocal patience, trust, and understanding, and December’s connections with Eleanor, Cheryllynn, and the red-tailed hawk feel authentic and earned. The physical and emotional trauma December experiences before entering foster care is alluded to with care, effectively depicted through the lens of December’s belief that she is a bird, fleeting memories, and sensory impressions. This sensitive debut is a sincere and hopeful exploration of family, history, and belonging from a promising new voice. Ages 8–12. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 05/16/2019
Release date: 04/30/2019
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-1-5476-0143-1
Ebook - 978-1-5476-0102-8
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