Be Light Like a Bird
Author: Monika Schroder
Publisher: Capstone Young Readers
Publication Date: September 1st, 2016
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Middle Grade Novel
GoodReads Summary: After the death of her father, twelve-year-old Wren finds her life thrown into upheaval. And when her mother decides to pack up the car and forces Wren to leave the only home she's ever known, the family grows even more fractured. As she and her mother struggle to build a new life, Wren must confront issues with the environment, peer pressure, bullying, and most of all, the difficulty of forgiving those who don't deserve it. A quirky, emotional middle grade novel set in Michigans Upper Peninsula, Be Light Like a Bird features well-drawn, unconventional characters and explores what it means to be a family and the secrets and lies that can tear one apart.
What I Think: My oldest son is a such a fan of realistic fiction. He loves funny books but I've also watched him get sucked in by great stories about real kids dealing with real-life problems. That's exactly what Be Light Like a Bird is. Kids have to deal with tough situations all the time, and adults often try to keep the reality of situations from kids. Usually adults mean well, but it doesn't always make it easy for kids because they experience things without all the information.
As a mentor text, I can see using Be Light Like a Bird as an opportunity to talk to students about personal narrative. They can think about some of the ideas from the book and then brainstorm some experiences they have had. Brainstorming ideas and getting to real and raw ideas makes personal narrative that much more interesting. A discussion about what counts as personal narrative is especially important. Not every student has a story of going to Disney World, or going to a Museum, or even going to a park. But that's okay. We all have a story to tell. Personal narrative can be as little as seeing a bird outside your window or your brother finishing the last of the cereal before you have a chance to pour yourself a bowl. Even the tiniest moment is a story. And all stories are worth telling.
Snatch of Text:
"Printed on the first page was a quote: Be light like a bird, not like a feather.
When Dad had given me the journal to me, I'd asked him what that meant. He said, 'It means you don't want to just float around in life like a feather. You want to determine your own direction --- fly and soar like a bird.'" (p. 45)
Writing Prompt: Write about a quote that means something to you. Maybe it's something an adult has said to you that means something to you or something you've discovered for yourself.