The Someday Birds (hardcover)
by Sally J. Pla
AR Level 4.8, 9 points
I really enjoyed this book, another on the Mock Caldecott lists I’ve found online. I’m continuing my quest to read them before the winners are announced, but honestly, I expect to still be left confused about where I went wrong with my book choices!
The Someday Birds isn’t a feel-good story, but it is filled with hope and growth and knowledge kids wouldn’t get otherwise. Charlie is a 12 year-old boy who clearly has Asperger Syndrome, or is on the Autism Spectrum at the very least. His OCD requires him to wash his hands 12 times (since he’s 12 years old) several times a day when he feels unclean or is stressed. He has a bathroom rating scale, and only eats chicken nuggets. He’s also obsessed with birding, keeping a bird journal and learning everything he can about a famous birding expert, Tiberius Shaw. Before the novel begins, Charlie’s mom dies (when he was two). Sometime recently, his dad was traveling in a jeep in Afghanistan as a journalist when his jeep was hit by a bomb and he suffered from a brain injury. While he survived, he is in a hospital while doctors perform tests to try and get him back to normal. Charlie, his older sister Davis, and younger twin brothers are left in the care of their grandmother. Their dad is transferred to another hospital on the other side of the country, and Ludmila, a mysterious woman who appeared in their dad’s room, is in charge of taking care of them. The four traumatized kids then make the trip across country and learn about their country, their caretaker, and themselves.
The name The Someday Birds comes from the list that Charlie and his dad made prior to the accident. They wanted to see certain birds someday. Charlie makes it his goal to see these birds for his dad, to cheer him up.
What I liked about this book was the learning opportunities it provides its readers. For example, I’d say 9 out of 10 kids (and that’s being generous) have never heard of the war in Bosnia, or Bosnia itself. Ludmila recounts her experience and gives students insight. It also allows readers to see through the eyes of someone with OCD or Autism. They can look at his choices and see why he makes them, but then see how they affect others. Of course, readers get to learn more about birds, and that is always something I enjoy!
What I didn’t like about this book was nothing, really… it was a good read. No complaints.
Book 10 of summer 2017!