ISBN: 0142405442
ISBN 13: 9780142405444
By: Angela Johnson

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7th Grade Books African American Currently Reading Fiction Realistic Fiction Teen To Read Ya Young Adult Young Adult Lit

About this book

Devastated by the loss of a second father, thirteen-year-old Bird follows her stepfather from Cleveland to Alabama in hopes of convincing him to come home, and along the way helps two boys cope with their difficulties.

Reader's Thoughts

Richie Partington

31 May 2004 BIRD by Angela Johnson, Penguin Group/Dial, October 2004, 132 pages, ISBN: 0-8037-2847-6"People struggle, people fightFor the simple pleasures in their livesThe trouble comes from everywhereIt's a little more than you can bearI know that it will hurtI know it will break your heart the way things areAnd the way they've beenAnd the way they've always been"--Natalie MerchantBIRD is an exquisitely crafted tale, expressed in the trio of young voices through which Angela Johnson explores matters of the heart--both metaphorically and literally."And I wonder what the farmhouse people would do if I just walked up to them and said, 'Hey.' "Thirteen-year-old Bird is the first of those narrators. Brokenhearted, she has run away from her home in Ohio in hopes of retrieving her departed stepfather, Cecil."Ethan holds his chest when he talks and Jay talks like his heart is in his hands."Ethan and Jay provide the story's two other voices. After having taken a bus to Alabama, Bird has found shelter in the old shed outside of Ethan's home."Even in this little town I don't think they know each other."Ethan had almost died. But the death of a boy in his town gave Ethan a new lease on life. That boy who died was Jay's brother, Derek.But why has Bird chosen to come here?"I miss my mom."I even miss the people here that I can see every day if I want.'Cause they aren't mine. All these people going in and out of their houses in this place I'm gonna leave anytime--they don't belong to me."I'm borrowing them until I get what I came for."Hope it's not wrong to borrow them. It doesn't mean I don't like them or care about them. I'm only passing through and borrowing." Bird's quiet alightment in the boys' town brings heart to all those with whom she comes in contact."My arms are lighter when I walk back to the house."Beautifully written and ending all too soon, Angela Johnson's bittersweet story of love, life, and loss is one that is sure to touch readers.Richie Partington, MLISRichie's Picks http://richiespicks.comBudNotBuddy@aol.comModerator

Louisa George

Wow. I really enjoyed this book. I loved the style of writing and the fact that the book jumped from the three points of views. In the end I was torn because it was so unexpected and I almost wanted all three of the main character's lives to converge and face each other...but it didn't end that way! And honestly I decided that I'm ok with that. The moment when Jay breaks down was so powerful for me, partly I think because I didn't see it coming. I love that Angela Johnson doesn't spell everything out for the reader when it comes to her characters feelings and emotions. It was so beautifully told and I loved the subtle yet powerful way that everything was presented. It felt very real to me. I loved it.Violence = 0Sex = 0Alcohol/Drugs = 0Language = 1, few minor swear words here and there

Brooke Skouson

This book was very short, thankfully, and was a fast read, but I just could not get into it at all. I was slightly confused from page one, and it continued until the last page. First, I couldn't figure out the time period this book was set in, and then I really couldn't figure out why a little girl would go hunt down a step-father who wasn't that great of a father to her. The girl hides out in Alabama for about a month, finds her step-father and realizes that he is not the man she wanted him to be, so she ends up going home. I have a high expectation for books, and this one fell flat for me.I would give this book to a thirteen year old who didn't really like to read, but needed to read a book anyway. This book does have messages hidden throughout, and they would be good for a young teenager to read, but for anyone over fifteen, they will be bored to tears.Violence: noneSex: noneLanguage: very, very mildDrugs: noneRock and Roll: none

David Despain

I can honestly say I really enjoyed this book. Honestly, the jury's still out on whether it is a favorite. I love books about connections between people. I am a strong believer in the fact that all people are interconnected. AS short as it is it is a beautifully written novel. I love how all the lives of the character are woven together in both predictable and unpredictable ways. I heard complaints about the ending of this books but I thought it was really good. This is a book with more depth than appears on the surface,I feel like a could read it again and gain something from it. In fact, that I would read it again indicates how much I enjoyed this book. It is one that I am still mulling over in my mind, there is just so much there. Language: Mild swearing D--n, G-d, etc. Sex: None, unless a missed something.Violence: Actually despite some moments of thievery.

Hannah Nelson

This was a really cute book! It was interesting because it was told from the first person point of view from three different characters who ended up being connected in some way. The first chapter was Bird, then Ethan, then Jay, then Bird, Ethan, ... It was a cool way to tell a story. The story kind of revolves around Bird though. she is a 13 year old girl who runs away to find her step father who left her mother and her recently. She secretly lives in the shed out back of Ethans house who you find out is her stepfather, Cecil's, nephew. Ethan is also a little boy was really sick every since he was very young and finally had a heart transplant. Jay is the older brother of the little boy who died and gave his heart to Ethan. They live in the same town and each is going through some hard issue in life. It is a very sweet little coming of age story of real life problems and of friendship between these struggling kids. I really enjoyed it!


The story follows 3 different kids-Bird is an exciting girl trying to find her dad to bring him home after he deserted the family for another family. Ethan is the perfect "best friend" sort of a guy. He has a new heart from a boy who died and he faces those challenges. Lastly, Jay is the rebel, but only because he’s friends with the trouble makers and is struggling with his brother’s death. Readers will find someway to relate to at least one character in the book. I thought the book was alright. I rated it a 2 stars because i felt like..."okay..suck it up." But that's probably because i've been through some of the stuff the kids have been through. I felt like the story dragged on needlessly and although it was cute it was just boring. and i got sick of the description that the houses smelled "lemony" ...did anyone notice that? Gee- get a little more creative. I sound super harsh- but in reality it was alright. Language- TINY bit. violence- nosex- nodrugs/alcohol- nope


Bird was a girl who ran away from home to find her step-father. On the way, she meets two boys named Ethan and Jay and all three of them have completely different lives, but they are all interconnected somehow. Bird touches the lives of these boys and even learns about herself. I thought this was a very sweet short story and I loved the details of how the three related to each other and how Bird lived her life. I couldn't help but want more and to see all three of them meet, but it never happened. It was a heart felt story, but I felt it cut off short and it took me a bit to understand that it was over.Violence: NoneLanguage: MinorSex: NoneDrugs and Alcohol: None

Jason Allen

This book is a very interesting one, because it explores several issues in a very careful way. I especially enjoyed the way that Johnson casually moved from character to character, which if not done correctly I typically find very distracting. In this instance however, I thought that it was done very well and that it added an interesting level to the story. I also thought that each of the characters moved well through the story and that each character's resolutions were relatively satisfying. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading. I thought that it was well written and that the stories were very interesting. I think that this story would be good for those who have issues at home, or with feelings of abandonment perhaps. More specifically, I think that this book is good for younger readers, because it isn't too complex or overly long, but it does still feature an interesting story and excellent writing. I think that this book is good for virtually anyone, and I would also recommend it to more advanced readers who are searching for something relatively simple. WarningViolence: Nothing to worry about.Language: Nothing to worry about.Sex: Nothing to worry about.Rock and Roll: Nothing to worry about.


This book was pretty good, i liked my last book better though. This book is about a girl named bird running away from her mom to find her step dad cecil. My favorite part would have to be when she decides to go back home. There are two other major characters you should know about Ethan and Jay they are also important. I recommend this book to middle schoolers mostly because it was very easy to read.

Amanda Peterson

This was a nice little book to read. Not too short, but not too long. I believe that Angela Johnson produced a great book within a short page count. One thing I liked about this book, was the fact that it had several different stories going on at the same time-at sometimes it got confusing differentiating the stories from one another. I think this book would be a great book for readers who cannot read very well, but can still be relate-able. Spoiler Alert: I was pretty disappointed with how the book ended, because I wanted her to go and and at least talk to Cecil, but she never did, so that is why I gave this book three stars instead of four (if I could I would give it 2.5 stars). all in all it was an okay book to read. Warnings:Jail: Googy does go to jail, and Jay is under house arrest.Car Hijacking: Googy and Jay do steal a car for a joy ride.Run-a-way: Bird does run away and ends us living in a shed.

Mira Lamb

I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. When I had picked it up, I hadn’t really been expecting much, but I really fell in love with the kids in the story. I was impressed with how Johnson wrote this because the story followed three different kids, but their stories intertwined. The diction was really great, and it all flowed really well. It was a super quick read – it only took me an hour and a half to read it. I read it in between two classes, but despite its length, it was really great. I really felt like Johnson broke a barrier with the characters in this book because typically, kids who as young as the characters in Bird are 2D and stereotypical children who are silly and immature and don’t have any cares in the world. Johnson’s characters are deep and beautiful, and I think that is how real children are. I think too often, authors are condescending to their younger characters and don’t give young people enough credit. I recommended this book to my younger sister who has just recently gotten into reading; it’s quick, it’s short, and the characters are her age. I really think that she will enjoy it. I also recommended this to my other sister -- who isn’t into reading -- because it was such a great but easy read. Violence: noneSex: noneLanguage: very, very mildDrugs: none

Anna Knox

I don't really know how to feel about this book. Maybe it was because the main character was just so young. Bird is only thirteen years old. She is more of a child then anything else, and the thought of her living on her own just makes me uncomfortable. I just want to tell her to go home. The plight of her step father leaving and her chasing after him is heart wrenching, but I think it distracts from the story I wanted to hear: Jay and Ethan. While Bird's story was just uncomfortable to me, I wanted to know more about how Jay was dealing with his brother's death, and how Ethan could help Jay heal. Bird's narrative distracted from that storyline, and while her narrative was resolved, I didn't get that resolution from Ethan and Jay, at least not the way I wanted. Also, I hate switching perspective stories, they make it harder for me to connect to the characters. Very rarely have I seen it pulled off well, and this was not one of those situations. sex- nonedrugs- noneviolence- nonelanguage- none that I can remember


Summary: Bird is a fiction book by Angela Johnson about a devastated thirteen year old girl who ran away from her home in Cleveland, Ohio inspite of locating her stepfather. Bird escapes to Acorn, Alabama in pursuit of bringing her stepfather, Cecil, home. Cecil abandoned bird and her mother but she still wants to find him because she loves him dearly. Bird hides behind a family’s farmhouse in Alabama. Little did Bird know that she was going to form friendships that help her cope with her problems during this mission, because there, she meets a boy named Ethan and Jay. Ethan lives in the farmhouse. Ethan doesn’t tell his family about this runaway in his backyard because he is excited to have a friend. It turns out that Bird and Ethan have a lot of things in common. Then, on a trip to town, Bird meets a boy named Jay. Jay has just experienced a family death. Both Jay and Bird are sad and instantly become friends because they feel each others pain. Bird also met a lonely old lady named Mrs.Pritchard who lends her home to Bird. Mrs. Pritchard is eager for company since her husband is in a nursing home. Bird and Mrs. Pritchard form a heart-warming bond with each other. I will definatly read more books by Angela Johnson. This book has some comical scenes that made me LOL. She created a great mix of mood to keep you interested!Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book : “There’s one thing about people in Alabama that I’ve never seen before in anybody else. They’ll feed you if they think you’re hungry, guess you’re hungry, or if you aren’t hungry but they are “– Bird; Angela JohnsonShe rocks and says, “You don’t have to know everything in the world. We aren’t supposed to. It makes you boring in mixed company if you can’t be interested and ask questions of other people.” – Bird; Angela JohnsonUncle C.L.-“What up, dog?”Jay -“Nothing,” I say. Uncle C.L.- “Nothing, huh?”Jay -“Yep.”Uncle C.L.-“hmm. I swear nothing must be going on with millions of thirteen-year-old-boys. At least if you ask them, that’s what they’ll say.” – Bird; Angela Johnson


There wasa a girl who didn't have a home.She lived ina shed behinde someone's house.An this boy would come out and give ger food.When he didn't have time to feed her, somehow she would get into the house and eat theri left overs.Her uncle use to run for hours so she wonderd what it would be like.So she left the shed and wrote bye in thesand.Usally she would fold her covers and stuff and write a note where she went. But this time she didn't she just left.She found a home where there3 was a lady named Victoria Patric.An she treateed herlike a mother should.The boyslept on top of the the roof waitting for her to come back and he wonder where she could be.Sooner or later she came back to visit and she told him where she had beeen and why.I thought this book was excitting , sad and UDERstaNDABLE BUT IT WAS A GOOD BOOK TO READ


There are three narrators in this story- Bird left her home and travels into the unknown to find her stepfather, Cecil, who has run away. She lives in the shed behind a farmhouse and is hiding there hoping Cecil will show up in town. Ethan lives in the farmhouse. He helps Bird by giving her food and blankets. Jay is heartbroken about the death of his brother. He won't allow anyone to touch any of his brother's things. He faces quite a few challenges and stupid choices of his own throughout the book. The three stories are woven together in this storyThis book has a lot of potential and initially was quite interesting. The way the characters relate to each other is also fascinating. However the rest of the book left me feeling that it was incomplete. I feel that only one story has much progress, and even that is unfulfilling. I wish that only one story had been focused on, or the book had been longer and more developed. I closed the book and asked... is that it?

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