A Bird Will Soar by Alison Green Myers. Dutton Children’s Books, 2021. 9780593325674
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Genre: Realistic fiction
What did you like about the book? Axel LOVES birds. They’re his thing. He loves watching them in the woods with his neighbor’s dog, Ray, and he loves learning about them at the Delaware Valley Raptor Sanctuary with Dr. Martin, his hero. Eagles are his favorite bird and he spends a lot of time observing the eagle nest in the woods near his home. Axel lives with his mom, but is surrounded by a loving community that includes his mom (named appropriately, Byrd), his mom’s friends who own the land on which their cottage sits, and his friend Daniel who loves to play imaginative Pokemon games in the woods. When a storm destroys part of his home and the tree that holds the nest falls down, Axel immediately calls Dr. Martin to help save the eaglet who falls out of the nest. At the same time, his father comes to help repair the cottage that is damaged from the storm. But his father showing up creates confusion for Axel about why he left in the first place and why his mom won’t tell him the truth about his father’s mysterious illness. Relationships with other autistic people in his life (his best friend Daniel and his mentor, ornithologist Dr. Martin) help him make sense of the situation and understand a way forward.
Each chapter starts with a free verse poem, but poetical language is found throughout this gorgeous book. Readers will love seeing how Axel’s connection with his found family supports his growth and development. In addition, this is a beautifully complex look at how difficult it can be to maintain families and the struggle that is sometimes required to salvage relationships.
Anything you did not like about the book? Nope
To whom would you recommend this book? Students who like books with autistic characters will like this book. Recommended as a readalike for Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin, Mockingbird by Kathryn Eskine, etc
Who should buy this book? Must buy for all public libraries and elementary and middle school libraries.
Where would you shelve it? Fiction, realistic if you genre-fy
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? YES
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Laura Gardner, Dartmouth Middle School, Dartmouth, MA
Date of review: February 15, 2022