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A Bird On Water Street

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  156 ratings  ·  48 reviews
A Bird on Water Street is a coming of age story about Jack, a boy growing up in a Southern Appalachian town environmentally devastated by a century of poor copper-mining practices and pollution. Jack is opposed to the mine where so many of his relatives have died, but how can he tell that to his Dad who wants him to follow in the family trade? Jack just wants his dad safe ...more
Paperback, 270 pages
Published May 7th 2014 by Little Pickle Stories (first published January 1st 2014)
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  156 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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Annette (booknerderie)
May 07, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: netgalley-arc, dnf-d
Hi, guys! *waves* So, y'all know that I don't like DNF'ing books but when a book isn't reaching you the way that it should, it begins to feel like a chore. That's how reading this book felt. I appreciate the sentiment- that humans are destroying nature- but A Bird on Water Street fell flat for me. The plot seemed a little scattered and didn't really flow that well. I kept waiting for something to happen, for something to latch on and tug at my heart strings...but...yeah...that didn't happen :/

1.5 stars but DNF at 54%

I didn't finish this one, so I'm not going to log the rating, but it would have been 1.5 stars. I really didn't connect with this book - I found the 'clipped accent' voice ridiculously irritating, and the story lacked any flow whatsoever.

Though it tried to bring attention to an important idea - preserving nature - it was boring and bland, and there's other things I'd rather be reading right now.
Kristen Luppino
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
A wonderfully told tale of change, growing up and nature around an old copper mine near the Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina border. Jack's story is heartening.
Thùy Linh
Sep 13, 2018 rated it liked it
There're some little life lessons in the book which I found quite adorable. Dulemba's words is not very creative, but it's okay for a middle-age. Plot twist? Not really attractive.
Hillary Homzie
May 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aneta Augustine
Feb 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
I am nineteen years old. I’ve attended enough of social studies and environmental science classes to know all about how man kills nature. So when people talk about AVOID PLASTIC and PLANT MORE TREES and RUN THE ICE CAPS ARE MELTING, I yawn.

I expected this book to be another lecture (big mistake). So when I found myself listening to Jack talking about how “living on Coppertown was like living on the moon”, how Miss Post taught them about trees and amphibians and birds when there weren’t any, how
Jan 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Jack loves his home. Why would anyone want to live anywhere other than Coppertown, a safe, warm place where he is surrounded by family and friends? Sure, there's illness that some people blame on the mine's dumping of chemicals, fear of mining accidents, and no one has seen a bird for years, but it's home. A BIRD ON WATER STREET explores the changes Jack and Coppertown undergo when the miners strike after an accident and big layoff.

Although the bigger picture of this book includes the downside
It took me a little bit to get into the story, but I liked Jack Hicks and his friend Piran instantly. Having lived and gone to school in West Virginia, I could easily relate to the mining environment and Jack's questions about mining practices, environmental impact. Family dynamics were realistic (without being dysfunctional), and I appreciated Jack's dilemma of not wanting to go into the "family business."

Read about all of the pros at the Reading Tub. While you're there, add your review.
Apr 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What's not to like about Jack? Not a thing. I found the protagonist engaging and the story informative without being preachy. This is a solid good read for any middle grader.
Jan 21, 2014 marked it as to-read
I heard an early version this book's opening, and haven't forgotten it. Looking forward to reading the final version!
Heather Vieiro
Mar 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Thoughtful and atmospheric, this book is technically middle grade but there's plenty for older readers to sink their teeth into. This would be a great mother-daughter book club pick.
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I learned so much reading this book. It's the kind of story that makes you want to reach out and read other information about a place/time, this one being the Copper-mining towns of Tennessee and what happened there after their boon.
I found it eerily relevant to today's atmosphere of climate destruction in the face of short-sighted greed.
The main character often seemed younger than his stated age (14) which left me wondering if this was a regional/cultural thing. He just wasn't street savvy, and
Oct 31, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cathie Stumpenhaus
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a charming and fascinating story drawn from recent history. Delightful characters.
Sarah Doubenmier
Jul 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Silas picked this out for me because there’s a bird on the cover. It was a good historical fiction about a mining town and the effects on the environment.
Briana Hanmer
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The one thing I didn't like about the book was the ending. I felt like the book had a very abrupt ending. I didn't feel satisfied with what it left me with. It was like a really bad cliffhanger that I feel could've been better.
A couple of days ago I received my first ARC. For those of you haven’t come across that term before, it’s an Advanced Reader Copy publishers sometimes give out for review purposes). The book I was sent is “A Bird On Water Street” by Elizabeth O. Dulemba.

It’s a coming of age novel about a boy called Jack who lives in a town that is heavily depended on The Company, meaning that most folks have a history of working in the mines. That includes Jack’s dad. He is proud of his job and can’t wait for
A coming-of-age story set in a simpler time with an important environmental message, this is easily one of the best books I've read in some time.

I loved reading about 14-year-old Jack growing up in a small copper mining town in Tennessee, so barren that he has never seen the likes of a tree or a bird or bugs. These are all things that I know I, for one, take for granted. So when the mine lays off a bunch of workers, causing a strike, the mine stops productions, allowing Mother Nature to work her
Apr 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
My copy was provided by Netgalley.

Jack lives in a world where nature has been ravaged by pollution. The land is a wasteland with no signs of life. Jack has never even seen a frog; the only reason why Jack knows what a frog is is because he's learning about them in school. Jack wants to go out and experience nature. He wants to bring life back to the land, but he's stuck in his hometown where he will probably become a miner. But being a miner is a dangerous job as multiple people are killed every
From June 2014 School Library Journal:
Gr 5–8—The men in Jack's family have always worked the mines. The 13-year-old has already lost his grandfather and his uncle to cave-ins and explosions, and he lives in fear of a similar accident taking the life of his father. In the mid-1980s, the Southern Appalachian Coppertown is a barren, desolate place, long stripped of trees and grass by a century of mining. Jack doesn't know how to tell his family that he has no desire to follow in his father's
Ms. Yingling
Nov 16, 2014 rated it liked it
In the 1980s, Jack's family is dependent on the copper mines in their Appalachian town, even though they have caused the deaths of family members as well as environmental devastation. There are no trees and no birds in the town because of the acid rain caused by various processes involved, and Jack loves trees. When the mining company lays off a large number of workers, the remaining workers go on strike. With the mine shut down, the area around the town starts improving a bit, and Jack hopes ...more
Apr 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014, arc
You can see this review on my blog.

The premise of this book sounded great! Jack, a boy hero, who wants to save the day, save his father, save his town! However, it fell flat for me. It is based on a real place with a real situation in which a mining company destroyed an entire town. I couldn't help but ask myself frequently throughout this book "Why don't you move away?" This might be a snobby response to these folks' struggle as this was their livelihood. Definitely a case of me taking what
Rosi Hollinbeck
Apr 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Jack, 13, lives with his mother and copper-miner father in a small Southern Appalachian town that has been ruined by the mining company and its cavalier handling of the lands. They are not much better about handling the safety of their employees. The company has done so much damage to the area -- land, water, and air -- that other than people and pets, there are no living things for miles around. No trees, no birds, no bugs, no frogs, no fish that can be eaten -- nothing. Jack loves reading ...more
Nov 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2014
A historical fiction novel about Jack, a thirteen year old destined to follow his father, and grandfather into the copper mines in Coppertown, but all he really wants is to see the green of trees, and to hear the birds sing. It’s a rather low-key book considering the serious theme, the dangers to the environment and to humans from the pollution of mining. It chronicles life in a real-life town in this industrial mining town in Tennessee, and the everyday adventures of these young adults. There ...more
Laurie Thompson
Mar 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
At first glance, one might sum this up as a quiet coming-of-age novel. Or, they might call it a middle-grade environmental issue book. A BIRD ON WATER STREET is indeed both of those things, but not in the ways you'd expect. And it's so much more! The realistic and complex interpersonal relationships of both the young people and the adults, the intricate economic realities of living in a one-company town, the seeming paradox of the miners' dependence on the mine for their livelihoods while it ...more
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Kudos to Dulemba and Little Pickle Press for this informative story about the effects of copper mining and the wonder of nature coming back when the mining stops. Jack Hicks does not want to be a miner like his father and as he continues to learn more about the flora and fauna that have not been present in his hometown his dream of being a forest ranger is closer to reality.

This book gets a message across without being preachy. We see the plight of the families who have been dependent on mining
Cathy Hall
Apr 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Elizabeth Dulemba has artfully crafted a winning debut novel in A BIRD ON WATER STREET!

In this coming-of-age story set in the North Georgia hills, Dulemba takes us back to a time when copper mining was king of the mountain. But all that mining had disastrous effects on the environment and young Jack wants nothing to do with the family business. He has hopes for a different future, not just for himself, but for Coppertown as well. He wants to see the trees--and the birds and plants and
Jan 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2014
I whipped through this book in two days. It's an engaging story that touches on heavy issues with a light hand.

Coppertown is a juxtaposition of life and death. In the midst of a bleak landscape that's been clear cut by mining is a community full of love and music. Thirteen-year-old Jack calls it home and wants to stay there, but not at the cost of miners losing their lives in accidents or friends succumbing to illness caused by the acidic air. When layoffs and strike have his friends and family
Oct 25, 2014 rated it liked it
A well-written, lively historical fiction mid-grade, which is a combination of genres I have a weakness for, thanks to Louis Sachar's masterpiece, Holes. I was lucky enough to meet Ms. Dulemba at this year's Auburn Writer's Conference, and when I heard her talk about this book during her seminar, entitled "What To Do When The Story Finds You," it was clear how much she loves this book, and reading it, that love shows. This is a great book that suits its age group. It serves as a warning to those ...more
Oct 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014, kids, mglit
For someone who doesn't like historical fiction, nature, and extensive physical labor, I really enjoyed this novel.

It's always refreshing to me to read about a male protagonist who has no obvious quirk but just is a relatable character going through unusual and life-changing experiences.

It was fascinating to read about a South Appalachian mining town set in the the 80's- that despite the fact that mining was causing environmental devastation and taking actual physical lives, it was all they knew
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Elizabeth Dulemba, a.k.a. "e", has been an author, illustrator, teacher and speaker (including TED) for most of her career. She has over two-dozen books to her credit, including her debut novel, A Bird on Water Street, winner of 13 literary awards, including Georgia Author of the Year. She taught Illustration at the University of Georgia, and writing and illustration courses at various locations ...more