**The posts I write might contain affiliate links or be written in collaboration with businesses or brands. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.**
Happy New Year Everyone! Wishing you a year full of great reads in the coming months. Just a reminder that Multicultural Children’s Book Day is on January 27th. We have over 350 book reviewers signed up to review a multitude of amazing diverse children’s an YA books. We are also in the midst of planning an incredible twitter party that will happen at 9 pm on 1/27/17. There will be loads of book bundle giveaways, diverse kidlit discussions and don’t forget about our free classroom book giveaway for every teacher that signs up. These are stellar editions of multicultural or diverse titles for your classroom.
P.S If you are a teacher or homeschooler, you will really love our Classroom Kindness Kit that includes two author-created posters and an activity guide and booklist that promotes kindness at home and in the classroom. Sign-up is quick, easy and FREE. Go here to download your free Classroom Kindness Kit courtesy of Multicultural Children’s Book Day.
I’m going to help you get the New Year started by presenting a new release from award winning author Monika Schroder.
Be Light Like a Bird is a poignant look at the grief process through the eyes of a 12 year old girl named Wren. After the death of her father in a plane crash, Wren’s life is turned upside down. As wren’s mother asks up everything they own and leave the only home she has ever known, this mother,daughter combo drifts further and further apart as grief takes hold of them. For readers aged 8-12.
Moving from one town to another, Wren and her mother attempt to create a new life. Finally arriving in the little town of Pyramid, Michigan, Wren decides this is the place they will settle down in. Each day she moves through her grief by re-establishing the hobby her and her father shared; bird watching.
After discovering a near-by pond, she learns that it’s to become a extension of the landfill. Wren takes on saving this natural habitat as a school project. Her principals guide her forward as she digs down deep to summon the courage to face this huge obstacles. along the way she encounters salt of the earth characters who are there to help her. As weeks and months pass, Wren and her mother must acknowledge their grief, forgive each other and rediscover what it means to be family.
This is such a diverse and moving book. I was totally captivated by the way grief is dealt with as a character in it’s own right in Be Light, Like a Bird. Monica Schroder is a gifted writer who moves us through the grieving process and out the other side in a gentle unfolding which never seems rushed. Interwoven into this journey of transformation are really solid and interesting characters. Wren’s friend Theo, who like her has lost a parent. Theo presents another view into the grieving process. He is a testament to making it through the pain and living a re-visioned life without his mother. Wren also works at a health store where a kindly old man embrace her efforts to buy a house and safe a pond. In an interesting turn of events, Wren meets a Native American, Randle, who helps her with the land and pond conservation issue as well as giving her a multi-tiered perspective from his own diverse practices of being both a native and a buddhist.
Through her grief, life held principals, and the people she encounters in the little town of Pyramid, her life slowly reassembles itself into something w which looks like living. It’s a beautiful and inspiring story.
A Little More About Author Monika Schroder
Monika Schroder is an award winning children’s author. She writes historical fiction for middle and high school readers. Monica grew up in Germany. She has worked as an elementary school teacher and librarian in international schools in Egypt, Chile, the Sultanate of Oman, and India. She currently lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina with her husband and dog.
Somethings To Do
I was really happy to see Chattanooga in this book. Chattanooga is a place I know well and a favorite destination for my family. We love to walk over the Walnut st. bridge, eat our way through all of the local eateries, visit the aquarium which is really something, and then theirs Look Out Mountain, and Rock City. Home of the Chattanooga Choo Choo which is now a fun hotel in a redeveloped part of town, there is always way more to do in Chattanooga than time for. If you’re looking for a fun place to visit, here’s a link to get you started.
Bird watching is a great way to bring awareness for the living creatures that live around you. It also trains the young mind to have a sharp focus and ton instill a love of nature and to preserve it. Here are some helpful hints to have some wonderful bird watching moments in your area.
- Have a look in your own backyard or front yard for that matter. How many birds do you see flying around ? Just sit and observe all of the bird activity through their flying, eating, and singing. How many different sounds can you hear coming from the birds ?
- Want to know what you’re looking at. Get a field guide so you can learn to identify your bird friends in the air.
- Binoculars are so much fun. It really brings the bird into your close vision and makes birdwatching a delighted activity.
- Get Excited About Birds. One of the reasons we go bird watching is to get excited about the birds. Many leave us for the winter and then come back again in spring. Want to get a really up close look? The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has great nest cams that let you have an uncles looks at what the birds are doing in their nests. It’s so much fun.
Grief Process for Kids
Death is difficult when it comes no matter the age but especially difficult for children. Here’s a great resource on how to help a grieving child. from the Dougy Center which is a national organization which helps children and families grieve.
Native American Land Rights , Sacred Land
“We must teach our students to honor the sacred spaces around them, within them and within others.”
Over the past several months the Lakota tribe have been in land disputes with the North Dakota pipeline project. This is a perfect opportunity to learn about and value sacred land. There is great learning for all of us in this, that our earth is precious and sacred, that how we act, think, and behave, reflects in our families, communities, and the planet at large.
Teaching Tolerance has developed a wonderful set of learning and teaching tools around Standing Rock. It’s a timely and important conversation to have.
Capstone Publishing provided a really great discussion guide for this book. I’ll share it with you here.
- Authors often look for an interesting beginning to their stories. BE LIGHT LIKE A BIRD starts with a scene in which Wren buries a dead squirrel in hopes that it will make her feel better. What was your reaction after reading the first chapter ? What did you expect the book to be about after reading it ?
- what are Wren’s challenges in trying to make friends with Carrie ? Have you ever tried to make friends with a person you really wanted as a friend, but your attempt failed ? Have you ever felt like you had to act differently from who you really are around others in order to be accepted by them ?
- What enables Wren to finally break off her relationship with Carrie ?
- When Wren is first paired up to work with Theo she doesn’t like him. Over the course of the story they become good friends. identify the turning points in their relationship and discuss how their interactions impacted Wren.
- why do you think Wren buries roadkill? What else in the novel is buried, or perhaps, unburied ?
- Several people in the novel keep secrets from each other. What secrets does Wren’ts mom keep from her ? What secrets does Wren keep from her mom? From Theo? What prevents us from being honest with others about our private thoughts and feelings ? is it possible for a relationship between two people to exist completely without secrets ?
- Wren and Theo work on a social studies project about a controversial public policy issue. Their teacher encourages them to pick a topic that has meaning in their life and to research its pros and cons. Think of an issue in your community and discuss pros and cons.
- At the end of the book a community has formed in Pyramid that hadn’t been there before. how did this community form and what binds its members together?
- Many characters in the book deal with loss and are at different stages in processing that loss. Discuss the losses Wren, her mother, Theo, and Randle have experienced
- Theo reminds Wren that Randle forgave his mother for the pain she inflicted on him in his youth. Who else had to forgive another person in the novel? Why is it so hard sometimes to forgive someone ?
- Consider the book’s tit,”Be Light Like a Bird” (not like a feather). Do you think this is a fitting title?
- At the beginning of the book Uncle Huey asks Wren’s mother to hold a memorial service for the father to give Wren closure. What does it mean to reach closure after someone’s death? Do Wren and her mother find closure at the end ?
ONE winner will receive a copy of Be Light Like a Bird by Monika Schroder. Giveaway begins 1/5/17
- Prizing & samples courtesy of Authors of the above books
- Giveaway open to US addresses only
- ONE lucky winner will win one copy of Be Light Like a Bird by Monika Schroder.
- Residents of USA only please.
- Must be 18 years or older to enter
- One entry per household.
- Staff and family members of Audrey Press are not eligible.
- Grand Prize winner has 48 hours to claim prize
- Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on 1/13/17