National Poetry Month 2015: Celebrating BLUE BIRDS by Caroline Starr Rose

The second book in my National Poetry Month feature and giveaway is the verse novel BLUE BIRDS by Caroline Starr Rose. I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of BLUE BIRDS at a conference from a Penguin Random House representative and I loved it. Here are details about the book via Goodreads:

It’s 1587 and twelve-year-old Alis has made the long journey with her parents from England to help settle the New World, the land christened Virginia in honor of the Queen. And Alis couldn’t be happier. While the streets of London were crowded and dirty, this new land, with its trees and birds and sky, calls to Alis. Here she feels free. But the land, the island Roanoke, is also inhabited by the Roanoke tribe and tensions between them and the English are running high, soon turning deadly.

Amid the strife, Alis meets and befriends Kimi, a Roanoke girl about her age. Though the two don’t even speak the same language, these girls form a special bond as close as sisters, willing to risk everything for the other. Finally, Alis must make an impossible choice when her family resolves to leave the island and bloodshed behind.

A beautiful, tender story of friendship and the meaning of family, Caroline Starr Rose delivers another historical gem.

Published March 10th 2015 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers.

There is a great deal to love and appreciate in Caroline's book. The setting, the historical context Caroline uses as a jumping-off point for the story, the main characters, that it's written in verse is a bonus and I particularly admire how Caroline creates a sense of tension and urgency as the story progresses toward its crisis and resolution. I didn't want to stop reading it, yet I didn't want it to end. Here is a poem that, to my mind, is representative of the books lovely cover art and also gives a good sense of the two strong, diverse voices of Kimi (on the left) and Alis (on the right).  

Page 95 from Blue Birds by Caroline Starr Rose. Used with the author's permission.

(Edit: Not everyone is able to see the poem above as it is in the book, so I'm inserting the text from page 95.)


KIMI                                                    ALIS


Her bird rests

in the folds of my skirt.

It has called her here.

It has led me back,


I inch my hand forward,

let it hover over

the inky band about her arm,


She reaches near,

reminds me how Alawa,

entranced with a lizard,

longed to grasp

his glistening blue tail.


I touch the lacy pattern.


She presses a finger to my arm,

pulls her hand back quickly.

Her eyes rush to mine.


Did I expect her skin

to feel like wood or stone?

It is as any person’s would be.


Suddenly, I smile.


I begin to laugh.


I'm happy to share my ARC of Blue Birds with one lucky winner who is currently living in the United States. Simply enter this Rafflecopter giveaway and leave a comment here. The raffle ends at midnight on April 12 and I'll contact the winner after that for instuctions on where to send the book.  


UPDATE: The Raffle is over - Buffy Silverman is the winner of Blue Birds! Congratulations, Buffy!


Good luck, and thanks for stopping by!

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Reader Comments (8)

Wonderful book giveaway. I didn't do the rafflecopter, but would love to be entered if that's still possible. Have a great weekend!
April 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBrenda Harsham
This book would be perfect for my fifth-grade class when we start learning about Colonial America.
April 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer O.
Putting this on my to read list--thanks for reviewing it!
April 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBuffy Silverman
Sounds like a *wonderful* book--but I don't see the poem?
April 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLaura Purdie Salas
Not sure what happened to your poem link, Tamera, but I'll stop by later hoping that you can fix the problem. I have been looking forward to reading this verse novel!
Thanks for stopping by. Sorry for the technical trouble with the poem - not sure why it's not showing for everyone. I've inserted the poem text above. The font doesn't do the poem justice, but the meaning is still as strong.
April 10, 2015 | Registered CommenterTamera WIll Wissinger
You don't need to enter me into the contest -- I've read it and LOVED it.
April 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMary Lee Hahn
Hooray! I love giveaways....especially for poetry! Every book that is given away is given away again to just the right reader by Teacher Librarians like myself. Lovely excerpt above.....I know this book will be in my library asap!
April 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Mitchell

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