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The Someday Birds Hardcover – January 24, 2017
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“Sally J. Pla does a wonderful job of weaving humor and humanity into this tale of one boy’s triumph.” (Cammie McGovern, author of JUST MY LUCK and SAY WHAT YOU WILL)
“Sally J. Pla’s heartwarming debut novel zings with humor, spot-on characters, and a poignant exploration of the effects of war.” (Edith Hope Fine, author of UNDER THE LEMON MOON)
“A truly wonderful, unique story. This celebration of family, individuality, and nature will remind you to always be on the lookout for wonder.” (Wendy Mass, New York Times best-selling author of THE CANDYMAKERS)
“Achingly real...Charlie’s unique voice and his quest to understand the world around him will resonate with readers dealing with their own pain. Hopeful, authentic, and oddly endearing.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Offering a mixture of suspense, mystery, tragedy and humor, Pla’s story captures both the literal and figurative meanings of journey.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“A delight from beginning to end.” (Booklist)
“Readers will genuinely be captivated and touched by Charlie’s soft and sensitive demeanor and amused by his ponderous exploits across the country. A strong addition to most middle grade collections.” (School Library Journal)
“This has all of the possible/impossible elements of successful middle-grade fiction...Readers who enjoyed Sloan’s Counting by 7s (BCCB 9/13) will be the ideal audience for this. ” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
“The Someday Birds is a raw, funny road trip story that reminds us that even the most literal-minded people can occasionally be sucker-punched by a miracle.” (BookPage.com)
“A triumphant debut with the resonance and depth of an instant classic. ” (Nerdy Book Club)
“Pla gives us a memorable hero in this lyrical and funny book.” (Shelf Awareness (starred review))
“[A] colorful adventure with a lot of heart...Like a harbinger of spring flitting through a gray sky, The Someday Birds is a welcome arrival.” (Common Sense Media)
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Top Customer Reviews
Someday Birds is a charming, bird-laden adventure tale that explores both family trip dynamics and the progress of a young boy in facing what makes him most anxious, and what makes him most himself.
Charlie is the middle brother in a family of four – 2 10-year-old twin brothers, and teenaged elder sister – and the narrator of this tale. His father, a journalist injured in Afghanistan, is transferred for medical care to the other side of the country. The only other caregiver, Grandma, goes with the father – and then adventures ensue as the kids determine they will not be left behind in the hands of mysterious pink-haired Ludmila.
What makes this book so powerful from the get-go is Charlie’s engaging voice and the lens with which he views the world consistently, perfectly, and always a bit askew. We understand that he is fascinated by birds, and his bird guru, Tiberius Shaw, will maintain a central current running through the group (after all Someday Birds is the title). But it’s the little things Charlie notices – from the idiosyncracies of bad rest stops to the perfection of the perfect chicken nuggets to the way that even translated emotions don’t stay translated- that make this book a marvel. Charlie’s voice is perfect to the task of leading us cross-country with his siblings, and it’s not really the destination (Dad’s hospital bed) that makes this book, it’s the journey we take with Charlie as our guide that makes the experience.
Another aspect of the book that gives it deeper complexity and warmth is the development of Ludmila’s character and the unveiling of why she seems so fascinated with Charlie’s father and willing to help the children make the cross-country trip. Her network of friends in different places, and the aptly told opening dynamics between her and the children as they compete for the father’s attention in the hospital set the stage for interesting revelations.
I highly recommend Someday Birds for middle grade readers and the adults that care about them.
For children who feel a little bit different from others, for jumbled-up families who care about each other but don't know how to show it, for parents and grandparents who ache for the child they love and understand that it's our differences that enrich us all, this book is a treasure.