Parents' Guide to

Extraordinary Birds

By Mary Cosola, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Kid in foster care learns to trust in beautiful story.

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Is It Any Good?

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This story about a foster kid who desperately -- and literally -- wants to fly away from her life is emotional, bittersweet, and ultimately uplifting. In her first novel, author Sandy Stark-McGinnis deftly shows the sadness and uncertainty in main character December's life without letting the story get too intense or heavy. December is a great character, and the story is told from her point of view. Her narrative is engaging and heart-rending, showing how kids in tough circumstances have to protect themselves emotionally. Her rich inner life is an important way for her to maintain hope for a brighter future, but the author pulls her back to reality before her delusion gets too annoying or unbelievable. Aside from the school bullies, the other characters are wonderful and caring. The book has a gentle tone but also brings to light the emotional cost of life in foster care. This is an excellent read for middle-grade readers and up.

Book Details

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