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Homeless Bird

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  7,737 ratings  ·  956 reviews
Leaving Home...forever. Like many girls her age in India, thirteen-year-old Koly is getting married. When she discovers that the husband her parents have chosen for her is sickly boy with wicked parents, Koly wishes she could flee. According to tradition, though, she has no choice. On her wedding day, Koly's fate is sealed. In the wake of her marriage, however, Koly's life ...more
Published March 1st 2000 by HarperCollins Publishers
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please don't arrange my marriage.

and if you must, please don't marry me off to some sickly bitchy thing who will soon die and trap me in my inlaws' house where i will be a burden and where they will treat me like a servant but i won't have anywhere else to go until they in turn ditch me in some creepy city where discarded widows try to make a go of it.

just don't do it.
it is the worst.

this book is pretty good, but my warrior-liberated-woman parts gag when confronted with these types of situation
So there I was in an English Department meeting and Tasche says, "You really should've read this book," since it was on the incoming Freshmen's Summer Reading list. I sat there dumbfounded, not realizing it was on their reading list nor that I had actually read it three or four years ago. It's not that it's a nondescript book, quite the opposite, but you know how it is sometimes when you've zipped through so many short-short good reads and you forget one because a more powerful novel by Rabindra ...more
(B) Archer at KIPP
Feb 14, 2008 (B) Archer at KIPP rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who has ever felt lonely before
Recommended to (B) Archer by: Ana Lia Diego
Shelves: girls-have-read

Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelanis about a girl named Koly who lives in a poor village in India; and she is 13 years old and she has to get married so that the food in her house could go around. So they marry her off to a "16 year old", but in reality he is 13 years old and he is very sick. Her mother-in-law is very cruel to her because she does not want her to see her husband, they want to take Hari (her husband) to "the Holy Ganges" to heal him.Turns out that Hari dies and Koly has to live with
A coming of age story of a different sort. Koly is married off to a boy she's never met--a boy who is ill and she learns the only reason she was married to him was so his parents could gain the dowry to pay for his medical care. Soon Koly is widowed and must face a difficult life against the difficult traditions of her culture. Beautiful and tragic. Grades 4 - 7.

From VOYA:
"Despite the obvious elements of fairy tale—cruel mother-in-law, attractive young male coming to the rescue—the book does not
Gloria Whelan's Homeless Bird is a pleasant enough story. Predictable and pleasant. It is a fast read and Koly is a likable protagonist.

But shortly after beginning the book I stopped to research the author. As I suspected after my first few pages of reading, Whelan herself is neither Indian or of Indian ancestry and has never traveled to India. I believe that it IS possible for writers to write successfully outside of their own experiences, but I am EXTREMELY wary of authors who attempt to write
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 30, 2008 Emily rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 6th and 7th graders
Recommended to Emily by: my teacher
This story is a Hindu story about a girl who is told she is getting married at the age of 13. Then later she finds out the person she is supposed to get married to only wanted to get married for the dowry (Hindu term for gift to get married to the person, in other words, she had to give the family of the man she was marrying a gift, like money to marry him) so they can pay for him to go to The Ganges and get healed because he is very ill. The story gets worse and worse for Koly (main character) ...more
Ada saat-saat dimana aku merasa beruntung sekali terlahir sebagai seorang perempuan di keluargaku dan di Indonesia. Pertama adalah saat aku mendengar berita tentang larangan menyetir mobil untuk wanita di Saudi, yang kedua adalah saat aku mengernyitkan dahi ketika mengetahui peraturan-peraturan yg katanya syar'i yang diterapkan kepada perempuan-perempuan muslim di Aceh sana, dan yang ketiga adalah ketika aku membaca berita tentang Malala. seorang gadis cilik yang memperjuangkan keinginannya untu ...more
A girl named Koly who is from a very small poor family in a very quiet peaceful village. Koly wanted to go to school and learn how to read and write. But she has to follow her Indian culture and has to stay in the house do house chores and sew saris. So, according to her Indian culture she has to get married soon and she is only 13 years old. Koly's parents found her a husband and she has to marry him weather she wants to or not. She goes and gets married and she isn't allowed to see her parents ...more

This was one of the only narratives set in India that I could find for my 9 year old reader. I wanted to pre-read it because it was shelved in the YA section at the library (Yikes! She can't be that old!! I'm not ready for that!)

This book is beautifully written, shows cultural differences, and will open some of the culture of India up to M-girl.

There is a lot of sadness in the book; immediately widowed, forcibly worked, and eventually abandoned, Koly's behavior, attitude, creativity, and
Angela Kidd Shinozaki
This is such an inspiring story of finding home. I could not put it down until I finished it. I've met Gloria Whelan, who lives in MI, and she's a wonderful lady. It's fascinating that she can weave such seamless tales of different places and cultures using her own research and imagination. I was amazed to learn what happens to widows in parts of India, left to starve, homeless and often penniless. It's shameless and cruel. But the real heart of the story is in the innocent and somewhat naïve bu ...more
A great book that talks about a young Indian widow struggling to survive in the corrupt streets of India
Since my son is in India now I read books and watch movies about life there as much as I can. This is a quick read and gives a realistic view of what life was like not so many years ago....and in some ways is still the same. Some marriages are still arranged. At least the parents have to approve. A 13 year old girl has an arranged marriage and leaves her family forever. It's her story. She finds a way to survive through everything that happens in a 4-5 year time. It's well worth the short time i ...more
Explanation of Rating: Generally, I liked the plot of the story that described about a young widow who was abandoned by her mother-in-law. The plot attracted me because I could not expect what would happen to her next. In fact, I was interested in her life before she became a widow, because I could learn about Indian weddings and different livelihoods in India. However, learning about her life after she became a widow was also a great way to learn about India and worthwhile to read.

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I get why this book is taught at the middle levels. It's a pretty interesting account of Indian culture and written at a level that 7th graders can get. The one bad thing happens and then another strategy is effective at letting kids know, you know what, it's not so bad for you, but it did get to the point where it was a little overkill. I'm all for bad stuff happening to people and the getting to see those people rise above it, or exact their revenge, but Kojy just took it. I do suppose that is ...more
The book Homeless Bird, by Gloria Whelan was a fabulous historical fiction read about a girl named Koly who is forced into an arranged marriage at age thirteen, but when her husband dies within the first week of marriage she is forced to become a widow and live under the orders of her evil Sass. Through the years Koly finds ways to ignore the harsh comments from her Sass about how she is good for nothing, and a disgrace to her family, she always had had someone to talk about her problems to lik ...more
This is a book that may both enlighten you and infuriate you.
Many things happen in other cultures that we, as Americans, find disturbing. One of those is that in some cultures, women and children are no more than a commodity, to be bartered for the good of the family as a whole. That is the case here.
Koly, age 13, is considered old enough to marry, by the standards of her people. Her mother thinks of nothing but practical matters, but her father has allowed her to learn and dream, at least a lit
After reading Homeless Bird I felt like sighing. Not because I was relieved it was over, no just the opposite. I've read a lot of boring and mediocre books lately, it was a relief to finally read a good one. Homeless Bird wasn't just good, it was a wonderful, deeply moving novel that kept me engrossed from begining to end. The main character is Koly, a thirteen-year-old girl living in India. Her parents are looking for a husband for her, who's family will take her in despite her small dowry. Kol ...more
What a precious story! It was short but lacking nothing, I loved it! The journey of a young girl in India whose life is changed forever when her arranged marriage comes with a heartbreaking surprise. Whelan's writing has a beautiful simplicity, I could almost taste the spicy samosas and smell the bright orange marigolds in the streets. She made traditional Indian society come to life through her descriptions. I loved the way I couldn't predict what would happen from one point to the next, and th ...more
The other John
This is a tale of a young girl from a traditional Indian family, Koly, who is subjected to an arranged marriage. (What date this story is set, I don't know. I'm assuming it's a modern day setting as the book mentions color photographs and computers) As you might guess from the title, it doesn't quite work out very well. How it doesn't work out, I won't reveal. It was an interesting tale, well worth checking out. The characters are done quite well, with a bit of depth to them. Koly especially is ...more
This book was about a girl who lives in India and gets married but becomes a widow.

I learned that sass in Hindu means mother in law. I liked when Koly decides to marry Raji and I also like how she finds a home where widows live.

This book was sad of how there are so many widows in Vrindavan.
Very quick YA read- finished in one night. Story of 13 year old girl from India who is forced into a marriage that should never have happened. Good story, but the author's note would have been better placed in the BEGINNING of the book rather than the end since it contains a glossary of all the Hindi words used in the book.
I think this is an older teen/young adult story about the cultures of arranged marriages-fascinating story!stayed up reading this one!
One of Audrey's 4th grade novels. I tried to engage her in a conversation about this book, a quick, easy read about a young Indian girl sold in marriage so that her prospective in-laws could use her dowry money in a last ditch attempt to save their son's life by taking him to Varanasi to bathe in the Ganges.

Great place to discuss feminist values and the subjugation of women, and how women can be complicit in that subjugation~but Audrey would have none of it! All she'd say what that it was a stup
Allison Manwell
Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan is a multicultural novel that takes on Indian culture. Koly is a pre-pubescent girl who is raised to aspire to marriage and to honor her family. She marries at age 13 to Hari, a morbidly ill and even younger boy from a nearby village. Koly’s dowry is used to cover the expenses of Hari’s journey to the holy Ganges River in attempt to be healed of his illness. However, Hari ends up dying while the family takes the journey. From that point on, Koly’s life is full of h ...more
Martha Wise
This book is a great light read with an easy to digest length. The occasional inclusion of non-enlgish words do not get in the way of the narrative. The culture the book is set in is made easy to understand by the simple and sweet way the narrator explains the world around her. After reading this book, you feel as if you have sat down and talked with Koly for a few brief hours you wished lasted longer. Unlike other books about girls in hard circumstances, this book does not bite the heart so sha ...more
Shelli Rowley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Due to my strong interest in other cultures, I did not find this novel to be quite as shocking as some people may. In Middle Eastern countries, arranged marriages are still very common in smaller communities. Families do whatever they can to survive and make money, including embroidery and farming. These cultures operate on a caste system where everyone is born into different social statuses that cannot be changed. In this system women are generally thought of as very inferior, which is why Kol ...more
Gabrielle Fater
Homeless Bird is a beautiful, culture-infused story told from the perspective of a young girl who transforms into a young woman through many tribulations. I love the voice of Koly as the narrator because she is so honest, about her situation and how she feels about it. Her frequent references to nature, like "spoken words written down to become like caged birds" reveal her affinity for her natural surroundings. Everywhere she goes, she notices the setting and what it says about the people living ...more
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What's The Name o...: SOLVED. Book about a girl in India [s] 4 44 Oct 26, 2014 01:35PM  
BYU-Adolescent Li...: Homeless Bird 1 3 Jun 12, 2014 03:06PM  
Homeless Bird 1 7 Apr 15, 2014 04:49PM  
Is it good? 16 53 Feb 05, 2013 05:06AM  
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Gloria Whelan is the best-selling author of many novels for young readers, including Homeless Bird, winner of the National Book Award; Friutlands: Louisa May Alcott Made Perfect; Angel on the Square and its companion, The Impossible Journey; Once on this Island, winner of the Great Lakes Book Award; Farewell to the Island; and Return to the Island. She lives with her husband, Joseph, in the woods ...more
More about Gloria Whelan...
Listening for Lions Angel on the Square (Angel on the Square, #1) Chu Ju's House Small Acts of Amazing Courage The Impossible Journey  (Angel on the Square, #2)

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