Flight of the Puffin by Ann Braden

Published by Nancy Paulsen Books

Flight of the Puffin: Braden, Ann: 9781984816061: Amazon.com: Books

Summary:  Vincent lives in Seattle, where he’s bullied at school for being different.  T has run away to from a family that couldn’t accept their nonbinary identity, and is living on the streets near Vincent’s home.  Jack lives in a rural Vermont community, going to a small school in danger of being shut down.  And Libby lives near Jack, creating colorful, hopeful cards to help relieve the difficulties she has getting along with her family.  When Libby starts distributing her cards around town, she unexpectedly finds ways to offer hope to the other three kids.  Her message to each one that they are not alone helps them to find the courage to be themselves while at the same time finding connections to others in their families and communities.  Ann Braden’s acknowledgements mention her organization Local Love Brigade that inspired this story. 240 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  If you’re looking for a feel-good story, you’ve come to the right place.  All four kids face some realistically difficult situations, and the ways they cope with them would make a great starting point for some interesting discussions. An excellent choice for upper elementary or middle school book clubs. And I love that cover!

Cons:  I wish that T’s story, which is brief and told in verse, had been fleshed out more.  There aren’t many nonbinary characters in the world of middle grade literature.

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