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Blue Birds

Review

Blue Birds

The year is 1587 and 12-year-old Alis is the only girl out of 117 people who land on Roanoke Island. Alis brings with her a wooden bird that her uncle made. Expecting to meet up with her uncle, Alis quickly realizes that something has gone horribly awry with the small English settlement, especially when she stumbles upon bleached bones –---a definite sign of trouble between the English and the Roanoke tribe. While civil tension ensues, Alis secretly befriends Kimi, a Roanoke girl about Alis' age. The wooden bird serves as a reminder of their friendship, as do the blue birds that always flutter about when they meet. When word gets out that Alis betrayed her people by making friends with a Roanoke, followed by her family's plan to leave for Chesapeake Bay, Alis has no idea if she'll ever see her beloved friend again.

Beautifully written, BLUE BIRDS is bound to be a classic!

A rising author of children’s nonfiction literature, Caroline Starr Rose produced a poignant tale of friendship amid the Lost Colony on Roanoke Island. Rose's novel features the parallel narratives of Alis and Kimi. Set in two different fonts, Rose mixes short prose and free-verse lines to capture the sincere mindset of teenage girls who see beauty and individuality among their supposed enemies. Rose deliberately separates the narratives until they engage in conversation, whereby she artistically combines them.

While Rose zeroes in on the girls’ unique relationship, she incorporates all the historical aspects that lead up the colony's mysterious disappearance. A mix of fictional and factual characters, Rose's historical cast includes figures such as Governor White, his pilot Simon Ferdinando and Manteo, the reformed Croatoan who not only serves under Queen Elizabeth's court, but is left in the ironic position of being in charge of the colony after the Governor sets sail for England.

Rose's narrative style not only draws young readers into a strong bond between two girls, but also brings to life what could have been a dull classroom read. Beautifully written, BLUE BIRDS is bound to be a classic!

Reviewed by Anita Lock on March 10, 2015

Blue Birds
by Caroline Starr Rose