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Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  476 ratings  ·  115 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 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  476 ratings  ·  115 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!!
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!
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.
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
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
Richie Partington
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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?’
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
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
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 ...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 ...more
Kerry Dunn
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2019
Wonderful middle grade book. If I had first read this book at eleven or twelve it would have become one of my favorites and I would have read it countless times! The embracing of outsiders, the forming of friendships, the encouragement of activism and fighting for a cause that means something TO YOU, this book teaches you all of that through the charming antics of a group of “strange birds” over one summer. A lovely, lovely read.
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 ...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.
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!
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 ...more
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
My 9 year old really liked it and I like all the books she likes and enjoyed listening with her to this.
Dec 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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.
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.
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Celia is a friend, so I am biased here. But I’m pretty sure I would love her books even if I didn’t know her. After the success of her first middle grade novel, The First Rule of Punk, she’s back with Strange Birds, embarking on new territory. Four girls in a Florida town come together as friends, though they’ve each had different upbringings and experiences. The book shows how adolescent friendships can be both expansive and challenging, especially where cultural and class divisions threaten to ...more
Oct 30, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this story, and I suspect I would've liked it better if I hadn't seen a lot of hype for how amazing it was, so that I was constantly comparing it in my head to an impossible ideal. I did like the relationships between the girls, and how they formed a sense of community.

(view spoiler)
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
Jan 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, ya, middle-grades
I liked this book quite a bit, but I didn't love it. I enjoyed Perez' earlier novel "The First Rule of Punk" more--I would recommend that one over this one. HOWEVER, I will note that while I loved that book, I've had two students read it. While one "sorta liked" it, the other thought it was "boring." Maybe it's one of those books written for kids that does what adults think *should* be happening in a kid novel...but kids don't necessarily relate?

So one issue I had while reading this one was a
Rachel Craig
I was recently in the mood for something completely different and outside of my normal wheelhouse of books. I saw this audiobook, narrated by Rebecca Solit, pop up on a list at work and I decided to check it out. What I got was a cute story about female friendships, standing up for what you believe in and transitioning to middle school.

Plot- Ofelia, Aster, Cat and Lane are four very different girls living in a small town in Florida. Ofeila wants to be a journalist a la Nellie Bly, Aster loves
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 ...more
4.5 stars for this wacky and wonderful middle grade/tween novel.
The cause: to get the Floras to ditch an outdated tradition. Boy, did that remind me of some of the youth clubs where tradition and who you were overshadowed any good they might have done. What I liked here was that Perez gave us a cause that was both historical and contemporary, asking us to consider when "tradition" may not be enough to justify continuing something in the face of a changing worldview, yet kept it relatable to its
Shaye Miller
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I adored Celia C. Pérez's The First Rule of Punk (which won the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award and was nominated for both the Pura Belpré Award and Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award), so it's no surprise that I grabbed up Strange Birds as soon as it became available at my library. In this story, four different girls are brought together through a mysterious invitation. Ofelia Castillo is Cuban-American and a budding journalist, Aster Douglas is black and a bookish ...more
Kyra Nay
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Over the course of a steamy summer in Sabal Springs, Florida, four girls discover the perils and promises of standing up for what you believe in.

From different backgrounds, each hiding their own secrets, aspiring journalist Ofelia, artistic Lane, pastry chef extraordinaire Aster, and passionate birdwatcher Cat bond in a shared mission to protest an outdated tradition. The winner of the annual Floras Pageant, a local scouting group, is crowned with a hat decorated with real bird feathers, made
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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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