There are traditional youth organizations with badges, bake sales, and award ceremonies. But what about those who don't fit neatly into a group structure? is there a place for them?
Meet four girls who appear to have little in common. Lane DiSanti, artist and instigator, lives with her wealthy grandmother while her parents work out an impending divorce. Ofelia Castillo, aspiring journalist struggles under the watchful eye of over-protective Cuban American parents. Cat Garcia feels pressure from her close-knit family to participate in a local contest. She'd rather spend her time birdwatching. Gourmet chef Aster Douglas lives with her African American grandfather, a researcher and retired college professor. Her widowed mother is overseas.
Pérez has created a fascinating cast of characters. Each girl is unique with her own talents and interests. Each faces her own set of challenging circumstances. Each is a "strange bird" who doesn't fit into established norms.
Aster couldn't help smiling. She liked the feeling of having friends.
The girls come together and meet in a well-furnished treehouse to form The Ostentation of Others and Outsiders, an organization, with its own rules and expectations.
Inspired by Cat's concern over a century-old feather hat revered by the local girl's troupe known as the Flores of Sabal Palms, the foursome formulate a plan to raise awareness of the mistreatment of birds. Their campaign targets the Flores use of the hat adorned with feathers. "Return the Feathers" becomes their rallying cry. They create stickers and affix them to brownies sold at a local festival. Next they blanket the Flores House grounds with plastic pink flamingos displaying information about birds. Eventually, they hatch a plot to steal the Flores hat.
Their schemes are filled with excitement and intrigue. Results are not what the girls anticipated. Activism isn't easy. The girls manage to achieve some of their goals, though not without ruffling several feathers. They learn more about themselves and that trust is a critical factor in maintaining friendships.
Pérez includes a delightful assortment of bonus material that will appeal to a wide range of interests: birdwatching tips, meaning and uses of specific crystals, recipe for baking chocolate chip cookies that have an unusual ingredient: crushed potato chips, suggestions for researching and writing about topics of interest, and instructions for creating your own badges.
Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers is a richly flavored multidimensional tale of friendship and the value of diverse individuals pooling their unique talents and concerns to create positive change. Gracias Celia C. Pérez for introducing young readers to this fabulous foursome. I want to know what happens in the next chapter of their lives. More stories of The Ostentation of Others and Outsiders, please.
Uncorrected copy provided by publisher.
Pub date: September 3, 2019 Publisher: Kolika ISBN: 978-0425290439
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