BE LIGHT LIKE A BIRD for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Losing a parent at a young age is a terrible ordeal to go through. For Wren it is even worse belightlikea-birdsince 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.


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.


  1. Wren is an endearing narrator who goes on an emotional roller coaster. When she finally gets off the ride, it’s a special moment.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.


About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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8 Responses to BE LIGHT LIKE A BIRD for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

  1. Andrea says:

    Sounds like an emotional story!

  2. Sounds like a sad story in part but good in that Wren picks up her life after her dad dies.

  3. Susan says:

    Sounds like great character development, and the Chippewa stuff sounds interesting, too. Thanks!

  4. Excellent review! I have been waiting for you to read and review Monika’s book. I knew you’d enjoy her story. I really liked Theo too and he was the perfect balance for Wren. Such an inspiring story. Due to the plane crash and Wren not being able to find closure, it was interesting how important it was for her to bury dead animals as a way to say goodbye to her father.

  5. Cheryl McKenzie says:

    I love books that tackle hard issues that kids often face.

  6. How have I not heard of this book before? Wow! I’m intrigued that there are environmental issues also, since my current WIP deals with that too.

  7. Sue Kooky says:

    This sounds like a lovely story, I’m glad to hear you liked Theo! I can’t wait to get my hands on this, thanks for the rec!

  8. mrsaruman says:

    Hi Greg,

    I’d love to leave comments but the page won’t let me anymore. Something about logging into wordpress or something like that.

    Kevin Gerard – AWA Award Winning Author of the Diego’s Dragon children’s fantasy series

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