Strange Birds

By Celia C. Pérez,

Book cover of Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers

Book description

When three very different girls find a mysterious invitation to a lavish mansion, the promise of adventure and mischief is too intriguing to pass up. Ofelia Castillo (a budding journalist), Aster Douglas (a bookish foodie), and Cat Garcia (a rule-abiding birdwatcher) meet the kid behind the invite, Lane DiSanti, and…

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Why read it?

4 authors picked Strange Birds as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I’ve often whined about epic friend groups being featured in tons of films and not enough in books—but Strange Birds is the delightful exception that gets every detail of the cinematic friend group perfectly right. There’s mysterious invitations hidden in a library, scary treks through the woods, artistic activism in the face of wrong, and a wickedly cool group initiation featuring some mighty powerful crystals. If nothing else, the group’s shenanigans will make you want to go out and spend all your money on hoards of plastic flamingos. (Just trust me on this.)

Strange Birds had me at “rebel scout troop.” Four girls from different backgrounds form a secret scout troop in a treehouse and rally around a unique cause. Their town’s prominent girls’ group, The Floras, crowns the winner of the Miss Floras pageant with a vintage feathered hat. Bird-loving Cat Garcia, a Floras member herself, is outraged that millions of wild birds were sacrificed for such lavish hats, before the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 made killing birds for feathers illegal. The girls come up with creative environmental activism tactics to end the Floras’ misguided tradition, with a bit of…

From Diana's list on young environmentalists.

This relevant and feisty story introduces four rising seventh graders in the Miami area. While Ofelia, Lane, Aster, and Cat reflect a variety of backgrounds, they share a similar love of the outdoors. They hang out in Lane’s treehouse with a peafowl named Eunice as their mascot, and they unite around a common goal of protecting endangered birds. Notably, Cat is a budding ornithologist who discovers that going for a walk with her binoculars is “magic for untangling mind knots.” During the girls’ long, hot summer together, they learn how to use their creativity and brainpower to stand up for…

From Laura's list on for girls who love the outdoors.

Four very different girls don’t get along initially, but end up bonding over a common cause: changing a local scout troop’s outdated traditions involving a hat decorated with feathers from endangered birds. This book offers an exciting and funny view of a friendship group and encourages kids to think about activism, collective power, belonging, and being oneself. Aimed at ages 9-12.

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