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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Eleven-year-old December knows everything about birds, and everything about getting kicked out of foster homes. All she has of her mom is the bird guide she left behind, and a message: "In flight is where you'll find me." December believes she's truly a bird, just waiting for the day she transforms. The scar on her back is where her wings will sprout; she only needs to find the right tree and practice flying. When she's placed with foster mom Eleanor, who runs a taxidermy business and volunteers at a wildlife rescue, December begins to see what home means in a new light. But the story she’s told herself about her past is what's kept her going this long. Can she learn to let go? An extraordinary story about identity and family perfect for fans of Holly Goldberg Sloan and Lynda Mullaly Hunt.…

Extraordinary Birds

by Sandy Stark-Mcginnis

Overall Book Review:

Extraordinary Birds is an inspiring story of hope, resilience, and what it means to find a place to call home.

December is a foster kid.  She has been most of her twelve years.  Bouncing around from home to home, she has created a narrative for herself that views her life as the life of a bird waiting to take flight.  But when she lands in the home of Eleanor, she finds not only the hope she needs to shed her bird persona, but also friends and a family she can call her own.

Throughout the book is sprinkled tid-bits about birds, their habitats, and their habits.  I love that this information is presented seamlessly with the narrative of the plot.  It doesn’t stick out or detract but lends itself to helping the reader understand December’s passion for these beautiful animals.  The depiction of flight and December’s journey also are paralleled so well that I can’t imagine any other way of this book being structured.

The language and reading level of this book are middle grade, but there are some mature topics that parents may want to discuss with their children during and post read.  Overall, it’s full of beautiful imagery and hope beyond compare and should be in the reading pile of readers young and old.

Review of an Advance Reading Copy

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  None

Violence and Gore:  Various cuts, scrapes, sprains and a broken wrist in flight attempts; kid trips another; hole kicked in wall; 3 multi-page scenes of verbal bullying and taunting; references to scars from child abuse with no detail.

Sex and Nudity:  None

Mature Subject Matter:

Abandonment, anxiety, foster care, death of family member, child abuse, and gender identity issues.

Alcohol / Drug Use:


Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I am a full-time mom, full-time wife, and overtime reader. I have been an avid reader for as long as anyone can remember. It must run in the family because both my mother and grandmother are also voracious readers and often pass books back and forth. Almost any genre can spark my interest, but I often go in streaks, reading a bunch of books from one genre, then switching to another for a while and back again.