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Birdie and Me

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  395 ratings  ·  89 reviews
A stunning debut about a girl named Jack and her gender creative little brother, Birdie, searching for the place where they can be their true and best selves.

After their mama dies, Jack and Birdie find themselves without a place to call home. And when Mama's two brothers each try to provide one--first sweet Uncle Carl, then gruff Uncle Patrick--the results are funny, tende
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published February 18th 2020 by Kathy Dawson Books/Penguin Young Readers
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Average rating 4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  395 ratings  ·  89 reviews

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Shaye Miller
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: overdrive, lgbtq
This tenderhearted story is of Jack and Birdie, two siblings who recently lost their mother. Jack is the mature older sister always seeking to protect her little brother. And this is particularly the case since Birdie tends to be bullied due to his creative, colorful clothing. After their mother dies they are sent to live with their Uncle Carl, who loves them deeply. But one day his ability to properly care for them is questioned and so they're eventually sent to live with their Uncle Patrick. T ...more
Ava Budavari
God I don’t even know what to say right now. I related to this in ways I never expected, and it made me remember experiences and feelings I had in my childhood that I hadn’t thought about in years. It feels like it was written for me, so it’s hard for me to give Birdie And Me a proper review. But maybe that speaks to the book more than any review ever could. Also, gender creativity is so so beautiful.

Pick up your copy on February 18, 2020. You won’t want to miss this.
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
After their mother dies suddenly, siblings Birdie and Jack must leave home to live with their uncles. When sweet Uncle Carl proves unreliable, gruff Uncle Patrick takes over. A practical stranger, Patrick struggles to understand gender non-conforming Birdie and introspective Jack, and they him. As the whole family copes with loss, Birdie and Jack somehow remember how the ordinary can be extraordinary, how relationships can be lost and found, and how they can each find a place in the world. Delic ...more
Laura Gardner
Mar 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I can't remember the last time I loved a debut book this much. Thank you, @jmmnuanez....

Jack and her gender creative little brother Birdie have to move in with their stoic, stern Uncle Patrick, but they'd much rather live with their Uncle Carl. Most of all, they wish they could have their fun Mama back with her Wolf Days and creative games. When Birdie is bullied for his clothing choices, Uncle Patrick forces him to wear "regular" boy clothes so he can just fit in. Janet, a teen wanna-be hairdre
Jenna Hines
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Birdie and Jack’s story was incredibly moving. We see them trying to adapt to a new environment, as they navigate a world full of negativity. Jack’s words have a way of encapsulating the reader, and then transporting them to the world of “Nowhere Northern California.”
I truly love the way that the characters are written. It’s amazing how I could find a little bit of myself in each character. Jack is strong-willed and independent. Birdie is light, “sparkly,” and totally heartwarming. These siblin
After their mother dies, Jack and her little brother Birdie are sent to live with their uncles; but Uncle Carl isn't reliable, and Uncle Patrick doesn't like Birdie's purple jacket, skirts, and rainbow leggings. All Jack wants is somewhere they can both live as themselves.

This book doesn't just have heart, it IS heart. I couldn't put it down, needing to see how their story evolved, and watch the complexities of their family unfold, while loving the fierce devotion between brother and sister. Id
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ms-appropriate
Oh, I really, really liked this book! Jack's voice is amazing, and Birdie is just the cutest little kid. I love every character in this book, especially Patrick. I'm giving this book five stars, even though I usually reserve that for books that made me cry. I didn't cry, but I can just tell that I'll be thinking of all of these characters for a long time.

(Oh, and it's a debut author!) I cannot wait to read more.
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was recommended by my boss at Sundance Books & Music and it didn't disappoint. ...more
Birdie and Jack are siblings who have to move in with their uncle after their mother's sudden death. The new scenery and people in their life throw them through a loop, but also pulls them out of their comfort zones. But when Birdie is bullied for being gender fluid and their uncle doesn't stand up for them, it's the last straw.

This was SUCH a good book! The overarching themes of discovering yourself and your place in the world as well as family and support aren't exactly new, but Nuanez handle
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book.

A story about how girl Jack navigates grief with her gender creative little brother after their mother dies. This book navigates grief and identify by facing the scary parts and embracing moments of joy that connect us. Reading this book is a reminder that person is an island and even if they are they are at least an archipelago.

As a queer person I can be really protective of queer stories especially when not told by a person if the identity the story is about. This st
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
A well written book for middle/high school age, Birdie and Me follows Jack and her gender creative younger brother, Birdie. Both siblings have been through so much: the death of their mother, a move to their Uncle Carl who hasn't been taking good care of them, a move to their Uncle Patrick's--someone they barely know and doesn't communicate well with them, and the difficulty of a new town and bullying of Birdie by kids and adults who don't understand him. There were many obstacles that these kid ...more
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Such a sweet story and you will not regret spending time with these characters. It’s one of those books where you miss the characters when you are done!
Ms. Yingling
Dec 01, 2019 rated it liked it
E ARC provided by Young Adult Books Central

Jack and her younger brother Birdie have not had an easy time lately. Their mother was killed in a car accident, and their neighbor, Mrs. Spater, watched them until their uncle arrived, but was too old to take care of them. They have to move several hours away, and their uncle Carl has some problems taking care of them. Birdie, who has a fondness for gender nonconforming clothing, has run into trouble with his classmates, both children have missed a lot
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
I don’t read a lot of Middle Grade fiction, but I was really excited when I discovered this ARC. I was intrigued with the premise of the novel, and having trans members of my family, endeared by the premise of a child experimenting with gender.

And Birdie was such a treat. He’s definitely whimsical and endearing. He was my favorite character for sure. I love this novel as a way of modeling to young readers how gender is a spectrum, combating toxic masculinity, and presenting a very real message
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Birdie and Me by J. M. M. Nuanez, 249 pages. Kathy Dawson Books (Penguin Random House), 2020. $17.

Language: PG (2 swears 0 'f'); Mature Content: G; Violence: G.



12yo Jack and her little brother Birdie are moving in with their Uncle Patrick. They are unhappy about it because they were living with Uncle Carl and he liked them. But Uncle Carl is not very responsible, and after missing too many "meetings with the teacher" about Birdie's many ab
Feb 28, 2020 rated it liked it
There were SO MANY things happening in this story. Almost too many. Birdie and Jack were a very strong central story and their relationships with their uncles after their mother dies is a very good story line. A whole lot transpired and developed between them all and it would have been a complete story with just those characters, but then there was Janet and her whole story line, which I found totally useless to the rest of the story. Why add them? If you took out all the parts of the story that ...more
Oh my goodness I loved these characters. all of them - the kids, the adults, all of them! The story has slow reveals, as we learn about the adults, what's really happening to Birdie at school, what happened to Mama. It packs and emotional wallop without being manipulative.

Quibble : Carl was in Vietnam? So, at the youngest, he'd have been born in, let's say 1952 which would make him 68 years old. So, their Mom, at 15 years younger would be 53.

This happens a lot in kids books. Vietnam vets are m
Jul 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grades
i enjoyed this debut novel by Nuanez. Jack and Birdie lost their mother in a car accident and have come to live with their Uncle Carl. Not the healthiest placement and they have to shift to their Uncle Patrick's home in the same town. By the end, all family members are working at better communication and caring skills - and they need them.
Jack carries the weight for each of the relationships along with those of friends. She does her best to protect Birdie and allow him to be who he is. Finally,
Overall, I thought this book was okay. It was not one of my favorite books that I read this year, but I think it was a solid read. There are some things I want to address specifically.

I felt there was no clear-cut direction on where this book was going. It felt like it was told in a stream of conscious style, like how real-life happens. You just go about your life where you discover life lessons and morals as you go, but it is not like your life has a summary that goes "Watch the ch
Sierra Dertinger
Jack and her little brother Birdie recently lost their mom. Since their dad is out of the picture, their two uncles are their last resort. First they stay with Uncle Carl who is a bit of a mess. He lives in a tiny apartment, often eats frozen pizza, and is in love with Rosie who parks her food truck, Quesadilla Ship, in his apartment parking lot. Uncle Carl is kind and sweet, but he has a lot of weird quirks about him. He has a pet lizard named Marlboro and he proposes to Rosie nearly every day. ...more
Abby Johnson
This heartfelt story focuses on the strong sibling bond between Jack and her little brother Birdie who is gender nonconforming. Birdie was allowed to be who he was when Mama was alive, but now that Mama's gone and they've been put into Uncle Jack's custody, all bets are off. This is a story of a sister and brother who are fiercely protective of each other and clinging to each other in a turbulent sea.

I loved the characterization, Birdie's for sure and the representation of a gender nonconformin
Apr 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Siblings, Jack and Birdie, have a void in their life that no amount of Honey Bunny Buns can fill. It’s been a year since their mother unexpectedly passed and they began living with uncle Carl who loves them dearly, but does not provide much structure or routine. BIRDIE AND ME follows strong-willed protector, Jack, and her darling gender creative little brother, Birdie, as they deal with their grief, small-mindedness of some townsfolk, and a move to their unfamiliar uncle Patrick’s house. The bon ...more
May 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a poignant and well-written book about children who learn to find family and support in difficult circumstances.

The story centers on a young teen girl named Jack and her brother, Birdy, who is drawn to sparkly clothes and pink and purple. He is not sure if he is gay or if he is transgender, and the book makes clear that it's okay for him not to have a set definition of himself.

The siblings lived with their mother, a woman of verve and energy, but also with periods of sadness as withdrawa
Jenny Ashby
Jun 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Jack and Birdie have had a hard year. Since their mother's death they have been living with their Uncle Carl but he has been too irresponsible about taking care of them so they are off to live with stern Uncle Patrick instead. I like Jack and Birdie but Nuanez takes too long getting around to Patrick's heart of gold and reconciling the wildly different brothers. In particular, it's hard to like Patrick as he shows not a lick of support for gender nonconforming Birdie, making him wear clothes to ...more
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
12 yo Jack and her little brother Birdie are moving in with their Uncle Patrick. They are unhappy about it because they were living with Uncle Carl and he liked them. But Uncle Carl is not very responsible, and after missing too many "meetings with the teacher" about Birdie's many absences, and his gender non-conforming clothes, Uncle Patrick takes them instead. He is strict, makes them eat healthy foods, and needs Birdie to dress in ordinary "boy" clothes - which he hates. Everything seems so c ...more
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‪Refreshing, heartbreaking, and a full of hope, Birdie and Me gave me all the feels. We loved this middle grade story with our whole hearts. ‬

‪And, whatever you do, don’t miss **Observation #799: Someones. Because the world really *is* full of someones to win. 💛❤️📘‬

‪“Nothing fits better in the ear than your best best friend’s voice.”‬

‪“Turning islands into archipelagos.”‬

‪**Observation #799: Someones‬
‪Everyone in the world has lost someone,‬
‪Sometimes that someone is a mother.‬
‪Sometimes they ar
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two orphaned children are placed with an Uncle Patrick who is not well off. He especially is uncomfortable with the youngest child who is male but obsessed with female clothes, make up and other wear. While the mother accepted Birdie’s sense of self and a wealthier Uncle Carl, who often visited them and took them places, it is Uncle Patrick who is deemed their guardian. Birdie is forced to wear plain boys clothes to school and told to hide his identity. When a bully is bothering him at school, P ...more
Jennifer Hottinger
A touching read, as siblings struggle with the loss of their mother. Jack and Birdie find Uncle Carl to be wonderful, as he spoils them. Jack and her brother, Birdie then move to Uncle Patrick's home. Uncle Patrick is much different than Uncle Carl and struggles with understanding Birdie's desire to wear lip gloss and glittery things. Jack wants to help Birdie and tries to be more like Mom for Birdie. Jack is not an adult or Mom-will she be able to help Birdie? And what about Jack? Who will help ...more
Nov 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio_book, kids, lgbtq
Things I really liked about this book -- it does an excellent job of demonstrating the kind of well-meaning unfairness that deals absolutely soul-crushing damage to young people. It has a hopeful message and a quirky, caring community. It deals with mental health and poverty in a realistic and compassionate way. Everyone in the book seems to be struggling with something -- like humans do.

I appreciate how the author has woven so many different stories together: from Birdie and Jack's grief over
Tiffani Reads
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I asked for a copy of this book to review I knew very little about it going into it. I knew it was about a girl named Jack and her younger brother that was struggling with the concept of gender.

This book is so much more than that! While it does discuss gender openly and how you should not be forced to fit into a box, it covers so many more topics. Grief plays a huge part throughout the book and both Jack and Birdie are still grieving the death of their mother and the life that they use to
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