Hey guys! You might have previously seen my interview with Monika Schröder, the author of Be Light Like a Bird, and today I am going to review her latest children’s book! But this book is not just for children; I highly recommend this for teens and adults. Now I’ll get onto the review! (By the way, here’s the interview I conducted with Monika earlier.)
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 Michigan’s 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.
Overall Thoughts: This book got me out of a reading slump, and I have rarely had times where I just did not want to read when I was reading. After the SE-YA Book Fest, I couldn’t read because I loved the festival so much and didn’t want to leave! I realized the only book that could get me out of this hangover was Be Light Like a Bird, which was by a SE-YA author. And it worked! I was hooked ever since page one, and I finished it in a day! Yes, I admit is was short since it was more of a children’s/middle grade book, but I would have stopped and taken a break for the day, but I chose not to. It was really good.
Relatability: I have really not found a book that has related to me until I read Be Light Like a Bird. I actually know how Wren feels in her struggles with her social life, and I just want to give her a big hug. This is really why it has a special place in my heart because it truly captures her struggles in a realistic way. I know how it feels to sometimes feel left out and find out that your “friends” aren’t really true friends at all, and having a character who knows what I am going through at times makes me love the book even more.
Prose: Schröder captured Wren’s childlike simplicity and naïve personality so well that it made the book truly feel as if a child were telling you this. It is written definitely for kids in a way that they would understand, yet older audiences could enjoy it, too. The author definitely made Wren’s voice very authentic. In addition, I find myself questioning a lot of things, and I mean this in a good way. The ending is shocking yet it makes sense. It leaves you with such a great feeling. It’s very well-written!
Interest: I did start to lose interest at the middle, but my interest was like a fire. It will eventually trickle a bit, but it didn’t stop me from finishing the book. Yes, I felt at times I was forcing myself to read, but you have to remember this.
1) I was binge-reading this book all at once, and I’m normally not a binge-reader.
2) I can’t read too much of a book at once. Sometimes, I don’t trying to read a lot in a day. Moderation is key.
3) I was coming from a reading slump.
So you can see why my interest levels fluctuated a bit, but that didn’t give me a reason to stop reading this book!
Final Thoughts: I definitely recommend this to all children. I think that English teachers should teach this book to their kids because it will definitely enlighten them about what others are going through. It’s so amazing. It might not be the “perfect” book in terms of how it’s written, but as they say, “Imperfect is perfect.” The content was so beautiful that that’s the reason I’m rounding my 4.5 to a 5. Be Light Like a Bird will always hold a dear place in my heart.
One of My Favorite Quotes: For the first time since Dad’s death, I opened my bird journal to note my sighting. Printed on the first page was a quote.
“… be like light a bird, and not like a feather.”
– Paul Valery
When Dad had given the journal to me, I’d asked him what that meant. He’d 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.”
About the Author
Monika Schröder was born in Germany. She has worked in American overseas schools in Egypt, Chile, Oman and India as an elementary school teacher and librarian. Her first novel for children, THE DOG IN THE WOOD, was published by Boyds Mills Press in November 2009. The book takes place in Germany after World War II and is based on the childhood experiences of the author’s father. Her second novel, SARASWATI’S WAY( Frances Foster Books/Farrar Straus Giroux, 2010) tells the story of a 12-year-old Indian boy. MY BROTHER’S SHADOW, set in Berlin 1918, was published in September 2011. She currently lives and writes in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Find out more about her on: www.monikaschroeder.com
Hope you enjoyed this review!