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Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  927 ratings  ·  184 reviews
The story of four kids who form an alternative Scout troop that shakes up their sleepy Florida town.

When three very different girls find a mysterious invitation to a lavish mansion, the promise of adventure and mischief is too intriguing to pass up.

Ofelia Castillo (a budding journalist), Aster Douglas (a bookish foodie), and Cat Garcia (a rule-abiding birdwatcher) meet the
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by Kokila
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Average rating 4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  927 ratings  ·  184 reviews

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Joanne Kelleher
Nov 01, 2019 rated it liked it
A sweet story about four girls, each with her own challenge, who bond over a common cause, become activists, break a bunch of rules, and learn some lessons.
Each of the characters had her special interest: bird watching, art and crystals, baking, writing. In the back of the book, Pérez included tips for each of these hobbies. I especially enjoyed the writing tips, and I can't wait until book club because someone is baking the Chips and Chips cookies from the recipe!!
Monica Edinger
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Delightful. Each girl is so unique and beautifully fleshed out. The various plot lines satisfying to follow. Lovely.
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grades
Unexpectedly the day I stopped in a big-box-bookstore to pick up some Mad Libs and ask if this was available, an ARC came my way via punk post. Hooray for punks with stamps!!

I *really* loved The First Rule of Punk, and had pretty high hopes for this. Suffice to say I was not disappointed. In some ways it's very different, with super different characters. At the same time, the high energy and well-intentioned trouble-making of the O^3 is reminiscent of Celia's first book.

I'm not going to say too
Carolee Wheeler
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is not a saccharine tale of growing up and finding friendship. This is a story about a group of girls discovering they can be their unique, individual selves while supporting one another and fighting against injustice. As I was reading, I kept thinking of middle readers who would love this book when it’s out in September. I hope we get to see some of these characters again in another story — I’d love to know what happens to them as they get older!
Laura Gardner
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“...even though history is in the past, and we can’t do anything about what happened then, we can try to make it right today.” Four lonely girls are drawn together by activism and form a club of their own. Lane is an artistic girl living with her wealthy grandmother while her parents finalize their divorce abroad. Aster, an accomplished chef, has been homeschooled by her grandfather her whole life, but is headed to middle school in the fall. Cat is a bird lover who quits a local club the Floras ...more
The Library Lady
I really wish I could give this book a 3.5. But I am going to leave it at a 3, because it does have its flaws.

Here's the thing. NO story is new. We have been telling them since storytelling began, just changing the details to fit the time and place. And this is a typical elementary/middle school story about 4 girls, each with their own interests and quirks who are all misfits, form a club, find a cause, and in the end triumph. It's updated to 2020 with a carefully selected ethnic balance, but th
Ms. Yingling
Jun 25, 2019 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

When Lane DiSanti has to move from London to Sabal Palms, Florida to stay with her grandmother while her parents are divorcing, she isn't sure how to make friends. She leaves invitations to the Ostentation of Outsiders and Others in library books at the local library, and draws three girls to her meeting; Ofelia, whose mother is working for Mrs. DiSanti, Aster, who loves to cook, and Cat, who is very interested in birds. Cat is a member of a local girls' group, the Flora
I received an ARC copy of this book from Edelweiss

Loved this! Each girl was so fun and unique and I liked that they were all very different people but still got along [after awhile at least] and helped each other out when it was really important. Basically a cute middle grade novel about a group of misfits coming together and learning that it's okay to be different while having a very interesting adventure along the way. If you liked The First Rule of Punk I think you will definitely like this t
Aug 04, 2019 added it
Shelves: 2019, middle-grade
In STRANGE BIRDS, Pérez paints a fierce and vivid portrait of four very different girls who band together to rebel and create change (and cause a little mayhem) over the course of a summer. Ofelia, Aster, Cat, and Lane are so sharply written that they shimmer off the page, and Pérez's prose is at turns bold, comic, and inspirational. Sure to ruffle feathers and spark activism against injustice!
Richie Partington
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Richie’s Picks: STRANGE BIRDS: A FIELD GUIDE TO RUFFLING FEATHERS by Celia C. Pérez, Kokila, September 2019, 384p., ISBN: 978-0-425-29043-9

“Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm, get high with a little help from my friends
Mm, gonna try with a little help from my friends”
— Lennon/McCartney (1967)

“As they stood together, Lane felt a spark of excitement, as if the tree house was charged with electricity. But something was still missing.
‘We need a dead body,’ Lane announced.
‘A what?’ Ca
Alex  Baugh
For Ofelia Castillo, summer in Sabal Palms, Florida means writing and submitting a winning story to the Qwerty Sholes Journalism Contest. Winners get to spend a week in NYC at journalism camp. All she has to do is find a great story and convince her overly-protective parents to sign the application form.

For Lane DiSanti, summer in Sabal Palms, Florida means living on her grandmother's estate while her parents get divorced, avoiding their phone calls, and not doing any of the things that her gran
Kendall • thegeekyyogi
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
So first off, parents, please convince your children to read this gem of a book. Actually, parents should read this one too. As a parent I know this is a book I want to keep on my shelf for later years, as I suspect it could be the perfect remedy for any child going through a period of self doubt. Right from the beginning we’re introduced to some diverse, strong girls who are all going through varying levels of self discovery. They all have different backgrounds and home lives, allowing opportun ...more
Diane Magras
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Strange Birds draws the reader in like a fast-paced adventure through chapters from each of four girls' perspectives, instantly setting up the challenges in their lives: their families, their expectations, and their worries, fears, and greatest wishes. Each girl is different: Ofelia, the only child of fiercely overprotective Cuban-American parents, determined to be a journalist; Lane, a white artistic girl from London, wounded by her parents' impending divorce and living with her wealthy grandmo ...more
Saher Estrada
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The book "Strange Birds"is a awesome but very sweet story and is one of the best books I have ever read.One thing I really enjoy is the characters and their personality and not just that the twist and turns go on making you think ahead but then throwing you off making the reader want to read more and I've read books that have different perspectives but none quite like this making the story on FOUR PERSPECTIVES!!!! their stories background and interest everything is different can you believe that ...more
Mrs. Mazzola
This is just the kind of book that I would have loved when I was younger -- misfit kids creating a secret society and supporting each other despite different life experiences. Their friendship felt genuine and I know students who would fall in love with this story. That being said, the story does feel a little slow-moving at times, and I would have loved even more character development since I liked the characters so much. The First Rule of Punk has difficulty circulating in my library (even tho ...more
Jun 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 5th-grade, 6th-grade
Four very different girls meet one summer, in a small town in Sabel Palms Florida, and are drawn together over a believe that once you identify an environmental problem you need to figure out a way to make a difference. They band together and in the process become allies and friends. They do not always understand each other and the different problems they are facing in their personal lives but they eventually learn to trust each other.
Sep 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
This middle grade book featured strong female characters. I appreciated how the ending wasn't as obvious as I expected. There were a couple big things that didn't get cleared up that annoyed me- I wonder if the author was leaving an opening for a sequel. The characters were also a little too cookie cutter. Each had something specific they were very, very passionate about- that's a pet peeve of mine. Overall, I liked this book and would recommend for middle grade audiences.
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Four girls in a small Florida town come together when they find an invite to a secret treehouse club on Lane's grandmother's property. Friendships bloom as they share their hardships and dreams with each other, blossoming into adventure and activism when Cat brings up her concerns about the local scout group, the Floras-- and how they celebrate a hundred year old hat made with the feathers of endangered birds. I adore all four of these girls, who come from different home environments and differe ...more
A sweet story about four new friends with different backgrounds coming together one summer. Before long, they start to take part in an activist cause they believe in. It’s not necessarily a moral story as the girls have lots of fun getting to know each other and causing #goodtrouble, but the message and the way it’s handled is solid.
Pérez does such a great job writing about interesting, young female characters with passion. An entertaining read (and listen) that brings together a diverse group of girls in a fun, yet important story of standing up for what you believe.

Certainly an author that I will continue to pick up as she writes more.
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful story about friendship and how four girls come to understand what they value and understand about each other. Did you know millions of birds were killed for the plumed hats that ladies loved in the early 20th century? I loved learning more about that piece of history in this book. Also, the girls in the story have their eyes opened to the racial and class discrepancies in their own group and in their wider community. An intelligent book aimed at middle school readers, but that I reco ...more
Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sweet story about 4 girls in Florida who each have their own talents and challenges.

They form their own version of a Girl Scout troop and bond over activism, driven by Cat Garcia's passion for birds.

The back matter gives tips on all the girls' hobbies, including a recipe for Chips and Chips cookies, a favorite of Aster Douglas' grandfather in the book.
Amy DePoy
Sep 10, 2019 added it
Shelves: middle-grade
Great middle grade to teach kids about activism and how you have the power to make change in your community.
Dec 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
An action packed adventure story about four unlikely friends who band together to make some changes in their Florida community. Some Interesting and important ideas about privilege and opportunity woven into the story without being too heavy handed.
Andrea Bullock
Jan 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Some what fun book about “misfits” who form an ostentation and work for change.
Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens
A quartet of mismatched girls find themselves united for unforgettable summer adventures.
Afoma Umesi
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers is an engaging middle-grade novel with memorable, endearing, and passionate protagonists. This book sheds much-needed light on bird hunting and its effect on the avian species. It also highlights the importance of standing up for what you believe in. If you like bold, determined heroines, birds, and a good dose of summer mischief and adventure, you’ll enjoy this book! The audiobook is FANTASTIC.

Read my full review here.
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
Strange Birds is a book I wish I could've read when I was younger. I wish I had had the chance to read more books like it. On the surface this book is pretty simple, it's a sweet coming of age story set over the course of a summer. But what I loved so much about it was the positive messages it sends to young girls (and boys!). You get to see the girls grow as individuals, learn how to fight injustice, and support one another. It touches on topics such as race and privilege, while still managing ...more
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Celia C. Pérez is the author of The First Rule of Punk, a 2018 Pura Belpré Author Honor Book. Celia is a longtime maker of zines inspired by her love of punk music and writing. Originally from Miami, Florida, Celia lives in Chicago with her family where she works as a community college librarian.

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