Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Sleeping with the Blackbirds” as Want to Read:
Sleeping with the Blackbirds
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Sleeping with the Blackbirds

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  60 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Eleven-year-old Roy Nuttersley has been handed a pretty raw deal. So Roy takes comfort in looking after the birds in his suburban garden, and in return the birds hatch a series of ambitious schemes to protect their new friend.
Paperback, 124 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by Indepenpress Publishing
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Sleeping with the Blackbirds, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Sleeping with the Blackbirds

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  60 ratings  ·  34 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Sleeping with the Blackbirds
Jan 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'm a big believer in taking the time to read a chapter a day to children before (and even after) they're able to read. It not only teaches them whatever the moral of the story is, but also teaches them words (how they sound and what they look like) and gives you quality time with no distractions except your imaginations. THIS is a great chapter book to share with the younger generations, especially since it touches on both bullying and feelings when parents fight a lot at home.

Those are the tw
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sleeping with the Blackbirds by Alex Pearl

Eleven year-old Roy Nuttersley is living in a toxic environment of emotional abuse and often neglectful parents. To say nothing of the bullies at school. He finds solace in the back yard under their huge oak tree. Roy has built several brightly painted bird feeders to hang in the trees for the birds he considers friends. The large black birds understand and feel the sadness emanating from Roy. So, they devise plans to protect Roy. When one of their schem
Igor Eliseev
Sep 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“Sleeping with the Blackbirds” by Alex Pearl is somewhat similar to “James and the Giant Peach” and at the same time to “Lord of the Flies”; on the other hand, it is unlike any other in the world. This book is awesome for kids, but aimed at adults old enough to get it.

“Sleeping with the Blackbirds” involves not only senses, but also helps to shed misconceptions, dispel stereotypes, and identify the problems between parents and children. The dramatic relationship of an eleven-year-old Roy Nutter
 Reading Reindeer 2021 On Proxima Centauri


Such a lovely, magical, story! Like a fairy tale, but better. Poor young Roy--at 11, he has experienced years of misery in a terribly unhappy household, and of course as such, he is an immediate target for overgrown bullies. But Roy is an old soul, with compassion and caring, and fixes what he can, so he builds gently painted birdhouses in the 4 trees in his home's backyard. Luckily he dies, because all the birds take a shine to him, and begin to
Michael DeStefano
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first blush, the title of Pearl’s original fairytale of a bullied pre-teen and his feathered protectors felt more like Ramsey Campbell vacationing in Bodega Bay; hinting toward the familiar La Cosa Nostra metaphor, 'sleeping with the fishes'. But unlike Hitchcock’s inexplicable avian menagerie, the title was meant to describe something that actually occurred in the story as these birds’ ultimate motivation was benevolent, not malevolent.

Pearl puts the fairytale aspect on full display, allowin
Juliet Wilson
Oct 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
Ray Nuttersley is used to listening to his parents arguing at home and being bullied by Harry Hodges at school. To help him forget he takes up the binoculars his granny gave him and watches the birds in the garden, where he's put up very popular birdfeeders that he made himself:

"It was little wonder then, that Ray's brightly painted bird boxes and feeders were beginning to attract the attention of all manner of birds.

The blackbirds sung Ray's praises to the sparrows, and the sparrows spread the
Alex Pearl
Dec 23, 2020 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
This was my first novel, or more accurately, novella. It was written while I was waiting to be made redundant by an advertising agency I was working for back in 2010. The redundancy took the best part of a year to happen following a global merger with New York's second oldest agency Foote Cone and Belding (FCB). When it finally did come to fruition, some bright spark described the merger as being tantamount to the Hindenberg coming to the rescue of the Titanic. On receiving my marching orders, I ...more
Brian L. Barnes
Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An exquisite story

For his first novel, Alex Pearl has established himself as an important author to monitor in the future. He skillfully has woven together themes of great importance with much care and obvious sensitivity. While listed as a fairy tale, the story takes on almost total reality as Pearl expertly weaves together his plausible tale. The empathy that Pearl creates and encourages for his central character, Roy, is remarkable. Once drawn into this novel, the reader almost feels compelle
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quaint, Simple, Story

This story started slowly, but kept getting better and better. I loved it and would strongly recommend it to everyone.
Mfonemana Uduak
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ah, the good old days of good simple fantasy. This book took me back to the first time I saw fantasy. The thrill of simplicity. I loved it.
Sep 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book, down to its core is a message directed at younger audiences. You have to see that in picking it up; otherwise the nature of the story, kind of like an animated kid’s movie, will be lost. Its plot is deceptively simple, with predictable characters that behave in ways we’ve all seen in other books and movies. Moving past that though, the author uses these characters and plot to delicately weave home a message about bullying and the bullying cycle- starting from the home life, to the sch ...more
Nicolette Hale
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful, flowing feel good book

From the first paragraph, I knew I would like this book. It takes you on a gentle ride where the wrongs of the world are made right. The writing is superb, there are no hard stops in the story, but a flowing continuation of one thought or action to the next. Clean, wholesome, darling! Truly, I enjoyed every word!
Jun 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

I want to preface this with saying this was a very good book. I enjoyed reading it. That being said, it is not a fast paced book. It is not a book that is all action and adventure. It's a beautifully written book about a boy and his birds. I think that young readers will love this book.

I felt sorry for Roy through out this whole book. I am a social worker and all I could think about is that this poor boy is being neglected. My heart reached o
Kelly Wittmann
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I devoured this wonderful middle-grade novel in less than 24 hours, and I loved it, though (or perhaps because) it turned out to be far more challenging than I originally thought it would be. Deeper. More profound. Touching on topics such as bullying, intellectual disabilities, illegitimacy, and parents in the prison system, it couldn't be more contemporary, yet it somehow has that old-fashioned feel so beloved by most fantasy readers. The bright colors of protagonist Roy Nuttersley's garden are ...more
Patrick Hodges
Apr 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Eleven-year-old Roy Nuttersley has the worst of both worlds. He lives under the same roof as his two loathsome parents who do nothing but abuse each other and ignore him. He goes to school only to be tortured by Harry Hodges, the school bully. The only solace he has is the kinship he feels with the birdlife of London, and the construction of the houses that he gratefully hangs in the trees for them. And the birds are grateful.

In fact, the birds are so grateful that they decide, en masse, to help
Sep 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent middle-grade book that tackles subjects such as bullying and dysfunctional families in an authentic and tender way. Rather than making Harry, Roy’s tormentor, an emotionless and impersonal bully, it delves into the reasons for his bullying, namely his feelings of inadequacy and abandonment. It paints both Roy and Harry in a sympathetic light, making them likeable and complex as characters. The magical realism that’s implanted in the form of anthropomorphic birds adds an enga ...more
Boundless Book Reviews
Roy has been bullied and living with parents that argue constantly. That pay no attention to him. I felt sorry for Roy. He finds solace in the blackbirds.

The Blackbirds are able to realize how mean his bully, Harry Hodges is. They want to help Roy.

This was an interesting read. One, that has a lesson to tell. The author is a good writer and the flow is good. This would be a perfect book to read to a child or even those at the age of Young Adult....Lissa

Aug 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
I got this book in exchange for a review.

I feel like I'm on the opposite side here. I first started book and was highly confused. It seemed to have an amazing premise, but I didn't understand. Birds talking to each other. They plan to get birdseed? Um...okay?

The story wasn't very interesting, and the characters were a bit dull. I was highly confused to why the birds were adamantly fighting for this little boy who had birdseed. Aren't there other people who put out feeders? I just didn't get it.
T.R. Robinson
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story contains a vast mixture of emotions and experiences and does an excellent job of showing how bad parenting may impact upon a child. The reader is given a sense of; how a child may feel; how they will try to find ways for dealing with their situation; the sorrow they experience when little comforts are destroyed or removed by the very people they are doing their best to cope with. The reader cannot help sympathising with the protagonist;

Complete review may be read at: https://trrobinson
Sep 24, 2016 rated it liked it
A sweet middle grade novel that deals with difficult topics like bullying and abusive parents. I felt that it was fairly underdeveloped though. There are a lot of aspects of the plot and some of the characters that aren't fully explained and the ending felt very rushed and left a lot of loose ends. I could definitely see someone in the age range of the main characters (10-12), or even a little bit younger depending on their reading level, enjoying this book quite a bit though. ...more
May 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a different type of book that I usually read but it was well written. It was interesting on how the birds watched over the little boy. It is hard to believe how some parents treat their children. I'm sure it happens but it shouldn't. ...more
Claire Brossard
Feb 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Sweet story for early teens. Addresses important and serious issues like bullying in a non threatening way. Would be a great platform to open the conversation with your own kids.
Well worth a read.
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Lovely book that careered at breakneck speed through the story before stopping.
This would be good as a class reader.
Valerie Cotnoir
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
I was first intrigued by Sleeping with the Blackbirds by Alex Pearl when I read the description. I love books that delve into the psychology of children’s emotions, especially since they oftentimes struggle to understand what they’re feeling at all. And then add the element of birds’ perspectives? Talk about interesting!

I was not disappointed. I was pulled in by the writing style (most likely because the author is British—that alone gives you enough reason to pick this book up) and I was fascina
May 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sleeping with the Blackbirds is the first book I have read by Alex Pearl and it will not be the last. I thought it was a pretty good read. I enjoyed taking this adventure and the lessons learned. Such a wonderful and magical story that had me intrigued from the start.
I am giving Sleeping with the Blackbirds four and a half stars. I think many younger readers will enjoy this one. I recommend it.
I received this book from the publisher. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.
Jun 25, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok, but not my cup of tea

Good book but not my cup of tea, it was interesting and most definitely different gave an outlook and/or perspectives on the bully, the victim, Domestic violence and the struggle families go through. This book was given to me for and honest review.
Freakie Deakie
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved This Book

Sleeping with the Blackbirds is a really engaging take, don't be surprised if you can't put it down. Engaging characters, an original plot, and a surprise ending. The only downside is being left wanting more at the end. Bravo!
Mary Ann
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So many valid view points. Great to see one bully wake up. Sad that this is a reflection of far too many children growing up in broken homes.
Christine Keleny
Jul 08, 2015 rated it liked it
I was asked to be part of a blog tour for Alex Pearl and his book Sleeping with the Blackbirds so below is my review of his book.

It turned out to be something I didn't expect.

Stats: 124 pages, published in 2011.

Genre: Middle-grade fantasy fiction (? - I'm guessing a bit here).

Blurb: (from Alex himself) Eleven-year-old schoolboy, Roy Nuttersley has been dealt a pretty raw deal. While hideous parents show him precious little in the way of love and affection, school bullies make his life a misery.
May 27, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fairytale
This book sounded like an interesting read from the synopsis and I saw that it had been getting great reviews, so I was excited to start reading it. Unfortunately, I found this book to be somewhat of a disappointment.

What I did like about this story was the concept – exploring both sides of bullying, the victim and the bully, as well as family and domestic violence. I also liked the personification of birds in the story, but being an English book, I was unfamiliar with the birds and so I have no
« previous 1 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Authors & Reviewers: Looking for reviewers 1 36 May 12, 2015 08:54AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Don't Lie to Me (Eva Rae Thomas Mystery, #1)
  • Her Cowboy Hero (Rodeo Knights, #13)
  • Scraps of Paper (Spookie Town Murder Mystery, #1)
  • My People, the Amish: The True Story of an Amish Father and Son
  • In the Shadow of the Queen
  • Death Comes in Threes (Addie Foster Mystery Series, #1)
  • To Be More Person: a reading of Otto Rank
  • The Christmas Eve Kiss (Christmas in Snow Valley #4)
  • Sara's Song (Julia Street #1)
  • Hannibal's Elephant Girl
  • What Happened at the Lake
  • It Ends Here (Rebekka Franck #10)
  • Brody & Nick (Something About Him, #2)
  • Cemetery Road (Sean O'Brien #7)
  • The God with a Plan
  • Bel Lamington
  • Peaches for Father Francis (Chocolat, #3)
See similar books…
Back in the distant mists of time, Alex spent three years at art college in Maidstone; a college that David Hockney once taught at, and later described in a piece for The Sunday Times as the 'most miserable' episode of his life. Here, Alex was responsible for producing - among other things - the college's first theatrical production in which the lead character accidentally caught fire. Following c ...more

Related Articles

  Tami Charles is a former teacher and the author of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and nonfiction. As a teacher, she made...
45 likes · 65 comments