Winner of the 2018 Dolly Gray Children's Literature Award * Two starred reviews * A New York Public Library Best Kids Book of 2017 * A Bank Street Best Children's Book of 2017 * Wisconsin Library Association CBA Outstanding Books of the Year selection * 2018-2019 Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award list selection * 2018-2019 Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Award nominee * Young Hoosier Book Award nominee *
The Someday Birds is a debut middle grade novel perfect for fans of Counting by 7s and Fish in a Tree, filled with humor, heart, and chicken nuggets.
Charlie’s perfectly ordinary life has been unraveling ever since his war journalist father was injured in Afghanistan.
When his father heads from California to Virginia for medical treatment, Charlie reluctantly travels cross-country with his boy-crazy sister, unruly brothers, and a mysterious new family friend. He decides that if he can spot all the birds that he and his father were hoping to see someday along the way, then everything might just turn out okay.
Debut author Sally J. Pla has written a tale that is equal parts madcap road trip, coming-of-age story for an autistic boy who feels he doesn’t understand the world, and an uplifting portrait of a family overcoming a crisis.
“Offering a mixture of suspense, mystery, tragedy and humor, Pla’s story captures both the literal and figurative meanings of journey.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Pla gives us a memorable hero in this lyrical and funny book.” —Shelf Awareness (starred review)
Charlie feels safest at home in California, where his family tolerates his obsessive rituals and fascination with birds. But home isn't the same without his journalist father, who is far away in Virginia being treated for a brain injury he incurred in Afghanistan. Charlie hates change and travel, but in order to see his father, he's willing to endure a cross-country road trip with his twin brothers, boy-crazy older sister, and a pink-haired woman from Sarajevo serving as their chaperone. Both eye-opening and revealing, Pla's debut novel showcases some of America's greatest landmarks while tracing a fearful boy's gradual emergence from his shell as he learns to trust strangers and try new things. Through Charlie's perspective (it's implied, though not stated outright, that he has OCD and is on the autism spectrum), readers encounter many natural wonders (including several birds, shown in postcardlike images from McLaughlin), meet fascinating characters, and learn about the connection between the children's chaperone and their father. Offering a mixture of suspense, mystery, tragedy and humor, Pla's story captures both the literal and figurative meanings of journey. Ages 8 12. Author's agent: Taylor Martindale Kean, Full Circle Literary.