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The Someday Birds

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  2,560 ratings  ·  467 reviews
Charlie wishes his life could be as predictable and simple as chicken nuggets.

And it usually is. He has his clean room, his carefully organized bird books and art supplies, his favorite foods, and comfortable routines.

But life has been unraveling since his war journalist father was injured in Afghanistan. And when Dad gets sent across country for medical treatment, Charlie
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published January 24th 2017 by HarperCollins
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Sally Hello and thanks for asking! 12-year-old Charlie is a bird-loving picky-eater who favors cleanliness and routine. At one point he says he figures he c…moreHello and thanks for asking! 12-year-old Charlie is a bird-loving picky-eater who favors cleanliness and routine. At one point he says he figures he can "pretty much survive anything, as long as he can order the chicken nuggets" -- the original title of this book was going to be "Chicken Nuggets Across America." Charlie is autistic, but that is not the point of the book. It is just the natural way that he is. He sees the world straight, and honest, and true, and that takes some people by surprise.

THE SOMEDAY BIRDS releases January 24, 2017. It is available for pre-order now on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1UCTZXn(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,560 ratings  ·  467 reviews

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Merriam Sarcia
Sep 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As a psychotherapist who specializes in working with the Austism Spectrum, I am always a bit nervous to read novels that reflect ASD characters. Authors with the best of intentions don’t always get it right, leaving readers with many misconceptions. Sally Pla not only gets it right, but she does so in such a lyrical and page-turning way. We become swept away not only in the adventure and mystery of the story, but also in Charlie’s lovable, literal, anxious and reluctant point of view. Sally Pla’ ...more
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
4.5 Stars ⭐️

This book was sweet and sad and made me cry and there was only one part I hated.

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Such a beautiful story of a boy, his father, siblings, a cross country journey, and a list of birds. The writing was top notch and the relationships quite special. Really enjoyed this MG novel
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: I was sent this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

I'm absolutely blown away by the perfection of this book. This is an amazing debut novel and I hope that Sally J. Pla writes many more books in the future! (I WILL READ ALL OF THEM!)

THE SOMEDAY BIRDS is about Charlie, a 12-year-old bird enthusiast who likes things to always be in order. He ends up being forced to go on a cross-country road trip with his family and meets some new friends along the way. The story is a
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Among the charms of this debut novel is the generosity with which Sally J. Pla writes about twelve-year-old Charlie, a sweetly nerdy kid who understands that his deep need for order and compulsive hand-washing complicate his life and drive his family nuts. (He seems to be on the autism spectrum, but Pla wisely doesn't label him.) She also brings compassion to Charlie's exasperated family. And his transformation in the book involves awakening his own empathy for others, including a three-legged d ...more
Apr 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This story is for middle-school children but the use of two unnecessary swear words by the grandmother at the beginning made me hesitate to read this book. But I'm glad I continued, no more foul language, and a delightful story through and through for any age. Without the harsh swear words, which I doubt the grandmother would have choose to use, this story would have been just as good, if not better. ...more
Jenn Bishop
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have a feeling this will hang on as one of my favorite MGs of the year. Truly a beautiful story with rich and memorable characters.
Lynda Felder
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The experience of reading The Someday Birds is intense and intensely satisfying. Within the first few pages you fall for the main character, Charlie, who narrates the tale. Charlie is a reluctant hero, dragged into a journey, travelling across the country in a vintage RV named Old Bessie along with his three siblings, a three-legged loveable hound rescued in Las Vegas, and a strange young woman called Ludmila. Their final destination is a hospital in Virginia, a place where Charlie’s dad may or ...more
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
With wit and sensitivity, Pla gives her readers a ride in the skin of hand-washing, chicken nugget-eating, bird-loving Charlie on his way across the US in a rickety RV named “Old Bessie,” along with his siblings, a three-legged dog and a new "family friend" who also might be taking them to a mountaintop cult.

Through their cross-country adventures, the reader gets a real sense of what it’s like to be … well… Charlie. His “condition” never gets labeled, and I like that. We get to see how the world
Brenda Kahn
I wanted to read this the moment I heard of this debut sometime early last summer. The road trip angle appealed to me but it was the birding part that made me WANT this big time. I pre-ordered a copy but have been really busy with other reading commitments. Plus I wanted to read it at a quiet and uninterrupted time. Charlie's voice is just so endearing and his interest in birding as well as the comfort he finds in it as a distraction from his huge worries was such a unique plot point. I love how ...more
Scott Fillner
Dec 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A character can elicit so many different emotions in a reader regardless the story, but when the two come together, you just don't seem to want it to end. In Sally Pla's debut novel this is most certainly the case. The main character is one that you make an instant connection with and just want to know more and more about. In fact all the characters in Sally's novel are so unique and interesting.

The story is is unique and has you making connections not only with geography but science and ornitho
S.F. Henson
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Phenomenal! This story is truly special. Pla's writing allows you to crawl inside the main character's head and see the world how Charlie sees it. If you have Asperger's or OCD, you'll see yourself reflected in these pages. If you know a child or coworker or loved one with Asperger's or OCD, this book will help you gain a new understanding of their everyday trials and victories. Pla captured so much in these pages. I could've spent forever with these characters. You definitely want this book on ...more
Ali Standish
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was funny, poignant, bittersweet, and wholly lovable. A fantastically whimsical premise with an equally strong delivery and full of unexpected twists and turns that will tug at your heart. A great addition to any middle grade bookshelf!
Kary H.
This book had my heart from the beginning and held on tight. I loved every single thing about it.
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The cover art will draw you in. The interior pages will make you stay.

The Someday Birds is a charming, original, middle-grade debut that this fifty-something reader devoured in a sitting. The author has succeeded in creating lovable, believable characters. One in particular, 12-year-old Charlie, will remain indelible for many reasons, not least of which is his keen worldview.

When his father is moved from California to Virginia for treatment of a war-related traumatic head injury, Charlie sets o
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Sally J. Pla's contemporary middle-grade debut novel, THE SOMEDAY BIRDS, blew me away. Charlie, a 12-year-old bird enthusiast with a passion for chicken nuggets and a need for order, is forced to go on an unexpected cross-country road trip with his siblings, a mysterious family friend, and a three-legged dog named after Charlie's idol, bird expert Tiberius Shaw. Their destination? The Virginian hospital where their war-reporter dad is recovering from a head injury sustained in Afghanistan. What ...more
Jackson Schneider
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Someday Birds is a touching story of a boy named Charlie learning how to open his mind to new experiences and emotions as he and his siblings traverse the country. In the beginning, Charlie is full of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of change. As he gets closer and closer to his father and to completing his "Someday Birds" list, we see Charlie's fear melt away. All of the new people and all of the new experiences Charlie has over his journey really changes him. I personally think that this s ...more
Sarah Evans
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite
Sometimes youth literature featuring characters with disabilities either has a character that's too stereotypical or the book feels like a moral lesson without much entertainment. But this one gets everything right. It's a great road trip story, family story, war survivor story, even a STEM story (birds and astronomy!) that is full of real people and real hope. The plot has a bit of magical realism, but it doesn't distract, it just reminds us that there is more good in the world than bad. Recomm ...more
I want to recommend this book to anyone who likes novels that are fast-paced. I felt that the characters in this novel were constantly moving from one thing to another, always on the go. There wasn’t a lot of time to appreciate or analyze the situation they were currently in before they were onto the next best thing. I found this frustrating at times as a reader but I also understood they were on a journey, an adventure, and with a vanful of children, you need to live each day to its fullest. Th ...more
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ocd
Full of many layers and lessons to learn, The Someday Birds is a heartwarming adventure that explores family, friendship and finding your flock. The reader is sure to walk away with new perspectives and greater empathy. As a reading teacher, I can honestly say that this book is pure gold. I will continue to discuss it, use it in my classroom and when my own children are old enough, encourage them to read it as well. Overall, I just love the strength and personal growth of Charlie, the main chara ...more
Nancy Kotkin
Middle grade novel about a twelve-year-old boy on the autism spectrum, who also struggles with OCD, on a road trip wth his siblings to visit their brain-injured father. The family dynamics are superbly crafted. Charlie's love of birds is woven throughout the entire story, in ways that readers can appreciate even if they are not birders themselves. It's extremely challenging to write an entire novel with a protagonist who struggles with mental illness, but Charlie's characterization is accurate, ...more
Oct 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I finished the last pages of THE SOMEDAY BIRDS with a lump in my throat. What a heartfelt debut. I loved every moment I spent on this zany, cross-country journey with Charlie and his family in a clunky camper called "Old Bess". This books touches on so much, I'm not even sure where to start - history, geography, neurodiversity, war, family, and the handling of nature with the utmost care. And while some parts are yes, heavy, Pla never leaves her readers feeling hopeless. She treats every topic w ...more
Kirsti Call
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a beautifully written debut! Charlie, is a highly sensitive 12 year old on the autism spectrum who adores birds. His quest to find birds calms the anxiety he has about his Dad's brain injury. As Charlie hopes for his father to heal, he takes a literal and figurative journey to understand other people and relationships. The lyrical words and heart in this story will compel you to turn each page. LOVED this book! ...more
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
THE SOMEDAY BIRDS is enchantingly wise and lovely; it was impossible not to fall head-over-heels for Charlie, his family, and the incredible cast of characters they meet along their journey. Pla takes a story filled with difficult challenges and writes it with such sensitivity and heart that I wanted to hug the world by the time I was done. A fantastic, life-affirming debut.
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
A wonderful book, actual journey, metaphysical journey, war, peace, fear, hope, acceptance and growth. Starts a bit slow but stick with it until the journey up the mountain to the possible cult and you will be hooked.
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a charming book. Written in the voice of the main character, who is probably on the autism spectrum, it gives us a birds-eye view (no pun intended!) of how a person with autism walks through life's difficulties. ...more
Easily the best middle grade I've read this summer! ...more
Sophia Anast
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This was a lovely, sweet, authentic story about a boy who ends up on a cross-country road trip with his older sister, twin younger brothers, a stray dog, and their guardian, a woman who started showing up in their father's hospital room even if they don't understand how on earth she could be connected to him.

Charlie is a boy who likes things a certain way. He likes his room. He likes to study birds, but usually from the safety of inside his house and by looking at his trusty bird books. He admir
Kelly Gunderman
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, edelweiss
Check out this and other reviews on my young adult book blog, Here's to Happy Endings!

I have a seven year old daughter who was diagnosed with autism when she was three, so I was really drawn into this book from the very first moment I heard about it. I knew I would absolutely love Charlie's character, and I couldn't wait to see what kind of adventures he was going to have in The Someday Birds.

This novel is full of hope and family, and the importance of sticking together in the midst of a crisis.
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Sally J. Pla is an award-winning children’s author whose books have appeared on many state awards lists and “best books” roundups. THE SOMEDAY BIRDS, a Goodreads Choice Award Finalist, received the 2018 Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award for its depiction of autism/disability, BENJI, THE BAD DAY, & ME received the San Diego Book Award for Best Children’s Book in 2019. STANLEY WILL PROBABLY BE ...more

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