Title: Be Light Like a Bird
Author: Monika Schröder
Publication: September 1, 2016
Publisher: Capstone Young Readers
Genre: Children’s Fiction
SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)
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.
**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.**
Anyone who is looking for an easy read with a really great lesson should pick up “Be Light Like a Bird” by Monika Schroder. A book meant for young readers, or middle grades, but interesting and compelling to teach a lesson about growth and forgiveness to anyone of any age.
Twelve-year-old Wren has had her world turned upside down after her father passes away in a tragic accident. In a moment when a child most needs their remaining parent, Wren’s mom checks out while dragging her across the country to new homes and little explanations. Luckily Wren makes a few friends along the way that help her come to terms with everything.
What I love about this book is the underlying lessons woven throughout. We learn about making friends and the urge to be part of the “in crowd” and learning to forgive people even when you haven’t gotten an explanation or an apology. “Be Light Like a Bird” is more about learning to let go of things and embracing yourself than it is about a little girl moving with her mom. This book is so much more than that. While I loved all the great lessons and Wren’s quiet, yet inviting personality, I did have a few irks about the story. Maybe it is me being a mom or the fact that this is a small town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (I grew up in a small town in Michigan too), but a few details just didn’t line up. One being Wren getting a job. No where in the continental U.S. is it legal for a 12-year-old to work. Yet she has a job. Also, while I understand we want to live in a trusting world, even small towns have changed over the years. Yet Wren was running around alone more than anything with no parental supervision. Single parents have to do what they have to do, but there were points that this was incredibly bothersome to me.
With those few minor details aside, this book is one of my favorite middle grade books I have read to date. It is a feel good book even though it has some harsh realities that are anything but happy. I loved Wren, Theo, and Randall and many other characters that popped up along the way. I look forward to passing this book on to my daughter to enjoy and will be picking up any further work by Schroder in the future. Four out of five stars.
I definitely encourage you to pick up your copy of “Be Light Like a Bird” by Monika Schroder on it’s release September 1st. You can get your copy on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. You can also add it to your To Reads list on Goodreads and leave your feedback for the author when you finish. Check out author Monika Schroder on her website to see what else she has released and what is coming up next.