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Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  101 ratings  ·  41 reviews
From the award-winning author of The First Rule of Punk comes 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
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by Kokila
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4.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  101 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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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!
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
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
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
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
Aug 04, 2019 added it
Shelves: middle-grade, 2019
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!
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
Alex (not a dude) 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
Scottie Draughon
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was a delight to read!

Four girls join together in an alternate scout troop. Ofelia is a budding journalist who is looking for her first story and trying to get out from the shadow of her overprotective parents. Cat is an avid birdwatcher and a member of the Floras, the “official” scout troop in Sabal Palms. She seems to be living out her overbearing mother’s dream. Aster has been homeschooled her whole life by her grandfather, the Professor. Lane is the new girl, only there for the su
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
The author of the award-winning The First Rule of Punk returns with another book about girls expressing themselves and making themselves heard. Four girls are all living their separate lives in a small Florida town. Lane, whose family is facing a divorce, has been sent to live with her very wealthy grandmother at her estate. Lane decides to create her own club, creating invitations that three girls discover. There is Ofelia who longs to be a journalist when she grows up and wants to enter an ess ...more
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved everything about this book. It’s the kind of book that my 12-year-old self would have devoured and been strongly influenced by. I would have emulated one (or all) of the characters, checking out books about birds, cooking, crystals, and journalism. I would have tried to create my own Ostentation of Others and Outsiders. And maybe together we would have done something to create social change.

Celia C. Pérez’s Strange Birds is fierce, tender, funny, and important. It has so much to teach us
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Strange Birds: a Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers was both delightful and smart, filled with brilliant girls who talked, laughed, went to their library, and tried to make a real difference in their community! It was a fun read, and had great insightful and educational moments about activism and the realities of the world we live in. Truthfully, there may have been tears towards the end, but don't tell anyone, I don't want it to damage my reputation ;)

Also... I don't think Pérez was going for cr
A book about four misfit twelve-year-olds, one of whom is a birder, is pretty much an automatic must-read for me. But this book won my heart for so many reasons—it's about creating community, small revolutions, craftivism, and loving support between friends. And there are so many important bits about the ways young people feel the effects of racism and colorism. But, overall, Strange Birds is FUN and perfectly pitched to middle-grade readers. There's even a mini-manual at the end of the book to ...more
Jul 10, 2019 rated it liked it
I had trouble engaging with this story and I'm mystified as to why as all the elements I normally love in a book are here. 4 engaging and well-developed characters, an interesting plot, a cause they rally around and character growth through the story - all this is here but for some reason I never felt invested or compelled to keep going. I had to push through to the end and I'm glad I did as I think kids will like this.

I think the fault lies more with me than the book, especially as I really lik
Mariana Calderon
There's a lot to love in STRANGE BIRDS. Four very different girls come together out of curiousity & boredom, and end up on various misadventures as they try to convince the local girl-scout-like troop, The Floras, to ditch an antiquated tradition.
What I liked most about this book was how the group coalesced slowly, without any of the usual "oh wow they magically totally get along" tropes. They don't get along at all, at first! They're all so different and irritate each other and disagree, b
Aug 31, 2019 rated it liked it
3/3.5 stars, 5th&up

Four misfit girls band together with a mission- protesting the hat used in the pageant a high brow Girl Scout-like group puts on- but along with their activism, the friends also deal with racism, monetary differences, a variety of family structures, & more. Activism.
This was a solid read with nicely balanced touches on important topics such as growing up, struggling to find their place, their people, and their passions.

This ARC was provided by Kokila/Penguin, in excha
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Four girls come together one summer, bonded by all being a little bit different in their own worlds and their drive to do what's right in the face of some grownups who won't listen. Sure, it may involve sneaking around in the dark, some punk rock acts of artful vandalism, and fending off a three-legged dog in the woods, but each day, each new act of bravery brings them closer together. I love how the story is told from each of their perspectives, and how the four girls are true to each other, ev ...more
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lots to like in Perez's new book-friendship, girl power, activism, conservation, and personal identity intertwine with a caper story that considers issues of social justice in a gentle but direct way. Perez's back matter extends the interests of each of the 4 main characters (similar to the zine making instructions in The First Rule of Punk) and also provides resources and a model for further study.
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
STRANGE BIRDS is the perfect summer reading for kids, especially if they are transitioning to a new school. These four unlikely friends come together over the summer and unite in support of a cause three of them previously did not know existed. Perez writes four distinct characters who are coming from four very different backgrounds even though they all live in the same town. As the four girls grow and change through the summer, they learn that it is ok that they are all "strange birds" if they ...more
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Strange Birds is a fantastic book about friendship, justice, and making a good kind of trouble. Four girls come together, seeking a place of belonging. After discovering a cause worth fighting for, the girls truly connect and become a team, learning that kids can make a difference, and that friends can make all the difference.
Three things I loved about Strange Birds:
Each girl’s specific talents/ passions - each girl learned ways to use their unique abilities to work cooperatively. I loved the te
Sarah Gillman
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is such a great story of friendship. Four girls become friends during the summer while getting in a little trouble a long the way. Girls are all a little different, but they use their interests and differences to help them solve a problem. There is a little mystery and some laughs. This is a great read!
Bickering Book Reviews
Aug 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
For a more in-depth review watch:

A cute middle grade book about accepting who you are and learning to make your own decisions however it didn’t quite live up to the author’s first book.

We received eARCs of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Sep 15, 2019 rated it liked it
I liked that the characters were not perfect and didn’t immediately love one another. However it took me a little while to get into the story and care about all the girls. The slow start and the focus on birds cause me to think it won’t move much on my library. It will take a patient reader to stick with this book.
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I would like to thank Kokila (Penguin Publishing Group) for my e-copy.

This book is so inspiring - it shows that even the young can change the world for good through friendship, talking things out, and working together. Full of adventure, you will get caught up in the lives of Aster, Cat, Ofelia, and Lane.
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Took a little while to get into, not sure if that was because of the introduction of a lot of characters initially and all the various desires. Loved it as the activism kicked in. Loved the handbook in the back. Perfect for a summer read.
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There is so much I love about this book, friendship, birding, great characters (including an awesome librarian). My favorite parts of the book we're when the four lead characters had honest conversations about their passions, their vulnerabilities, and institutional racism.
I loved the friendship dynamics in this book. They are all so different but learn how to make their differences work together. Great book for tweens who feel out of place and out of sorts while growing up.
A cute story, nice characters, and an easy read.
I love the message the book delivers about activism and how the characters interacted. It's not because they're 4 loners that they instantly become friends or have the same personality.
Krissy Neddo
Sep 13, 2019 rated it liked it
A bit slow, but I liked it. But probably not a first purchase for my elementary library. Vocab is a bit high and too long. Felt old fashioned to me. For a strong MS reader who loves reading Newbery winners and friendship stories with unique characters.
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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.
“She could see that familiar look on her mom's face. It was her I'm-just-making-conversation-but-really-hoping-you'll-share-something-important look.” 0 likes
“Friend love and bird love forever.” 0 likes
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