Charlie's Raven

Common Sense Media says

Charlie believes a raven can cure his grandfather.





What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a pedagogical story in the best sense -- designed to teach about ecology in general and ravens in particular, and to serve as a model for behavior in families, friendships, and stewardship. The animal behavior aspects of the story are based on good science and research, and the book can lead both to a desire for more information and to good discussions.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Charlie, whose naturalist grandfather is ill, hears from a Sioux friend that ravens can cure sickness, so he steals a baby raven from its nest and names it Blue Sky. It imprints on him, and he raises it at his grandparents' house, finding that it does seem to make his grandfather feel better. With his grandfather's encouragement, he decides to study the effect of the raven, and the environment in general, on his family and friends.

As the raven grows, it becomes more independent, and Charlie begins to realize that his role is no longer that of a parent, though he's not sure what his new role is. This is just one of many mysteries about Blue Sky, which he is determined to solve.

Is it any good?


In her literary niche -- animal-centered ecological fiction -- Jean George has no equal. Like many of her previous novels, CHARLIE'S RAVEN centers on the relationship between a child and an animal, in this case a raven, and is firmly grounded in scientific fact about animal behavior and communication. George has the unique ability to make an animal into a fascinating and delightful character without anthropomorphizing it, and Blue Sky is a worthy successor to Frightful the falcon and Amaroq the wolf.

Like many of her previous books, there's not a lot of plot here, and despite the outdoor setting, this is not a book for kids who must have action and adventure. Instead George takes readers into an unfamiliar life in the far north, close to the land and its seasons, in which science and mysticism mix in delightful and poignant ways. Children who are fascinated by animals, by nature and science, by a life far away from their own, will be enthralled.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the relationship between Charlie and Blue Sky. Has this book changed the way you view birds?

Book details

Author:Jean Craighead George
Illustrator:Jean Craighead George
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Dutton Children's Books
Publication date:October 31, 2004
Number of pages:197

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age


im realy shortnsweet but that was my sisters now im kirby k! well i loooooove this book it is the best i realy think you should read it!!! <(.N.N.)>
Teen, 13 years old Written bychipmunkgal28 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

A must-read book

I liked all the information about the raven, but I didn't like Mr. Spinder. The book was exciting and interesting. I recommend it!
Teen, 13 years old Written byscar66 June 7, 2009

a great, heart warming tale

this is a beautiful book that i would recomend to anyone with an interest in nature and animal relationships. i read this as a choice reading in my advanced english class, and i am extremely happy that i did. this book is not for the weak of heart, as the ending is quite upsetting. even so, it was inspiring untill the last word. i highly recomend it.


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