Losing a parent at a young age is a terrible ordeal to go through. For Wren it is even worse since she doesn’t have the support of her mom during the grieving process. The mother who should be providing comfort to her daughter is more focused on running away from every part of her past.
Wren is pulled to one town after another before they settle in Pyramid, Michigan. It’s here Wren finds friendship, first with a group of girls she really doesn’t like and then with Theo, a nerdy boy who is wise beyond his years. It’s through these friends that Wren begins to find meaning to a future without her dad.
Quiet in places, but also bold in the topics the story takes on, BE LIGHT LIKE A BIRD is one to embrace for many reasons. Yes, life after a parent death is the main event hovering over the story but also issues with relationships, bullying, and the environment propel the emotions forward.
With short, meaningful chapters, the author has set forth a hopeful cry for all young people dealing with tragedy in their lives. By the end you’ll truly be uplifted like a bird in flight.
PUBLICATION DATE: 2016 PAGE COUNT: 240
FULL PLOT (From AMAZON) After the death of her father, twelve-year-old Wren finds her life thrown into upheaval. And when her mother decides to pack up the car and forces Wren to leave the only home she’s ever known, the family grows even more fractured. As she and her mother struggle to build a new life, Wren must confront issues with the environment, peer pressure, bullying, and most of all, the difficulty of forgiving those who don’t deserve it. A quirky, emotional middle grade novel set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Be Light Like a Bird features well-drawn, unconventional characters and explores what it means to be a family and the secrets and lies that can tear one apart.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT: BE LIGHT LIKE A BIRD by Monika Schröder
- Wren is an endearing narrator who goes on an emotional roller coaster. When she finally gets off the ride, it’s a special moment.
- Theo is one of my favorite secondary characters of all time. He’s smart and deals with the dark side of middle school with a positive attitude. Everyone needs a Theo in their lives.
- Wren also finds support from two men–one from the junkyard and another from the health food store. They’re mentors who go out of their way to ensure Wren finds the answers she seeks.
- The writing flows and encourages you to keep reading. Each of the 45 chapters are well constructed and would make for a great read-aloud in the classroom or at home.
- I enjoyed learning about the Chippewa Indian and their unique use of a turtle shell.
FAVORITE LINES: Before he left, Uncle Huey had told me her anger was only a phase and that Ma would act normal again soon. “She’s just shutting down for a while,” he’d said. “Just leave her be, and she’ll snap out of it.”
I wished I had asked Uncle Huey how long it would be until she snapped out of it. I was ready for her to talk to me about Dad now. I wanted her to hug me. I wanted us to cry together. I didn’t want to be alone with all this pain.
AUTHOR QUOTE: In 1996, I taught a second grade class at a German school in Cairo. The class consisted of 26 Egyptian girls. It was loud, but fun. (Find more tidbits and information about all of Monika’s books at her website)
Make a comment if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them. Click on the comments link below.
Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.