Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Nest by Esther Ehrlich...

How I Heard About It:  If I remember correctly, I saw this title mentioned a bit on Twitter here and there.  The other day I got an email from NetGalley with an ARC of this book.  I was excited to read the book.  It is always exciting to read something new that you don't know a whole lot about.  

What It Is About:  Chirp lives with her family out on Cape Cod.  She has an older sister named Rachel.  Her father is a therapist and her mother is a dancer.  Life is going along smoothly when Chirp's mother learns she has MS.  Their family life is torn upside down.  They all try to make the best of it, but it isn't easy.  Chirp relies on her love of birds and nature to help her through this difficult time.  She also becomes friends with a boy in the neighborhood and in her class named Joey.  His family is very different from hers, and he has to hide the family secrets from everyone he knows.  Their relationship grows through the school year as Chirp's family becomes more and more torn apart.  After her mother spends some time in the hospital dealing with her "emotional" issues, Chirp's world is shattered by a horrible event.  While dealing with tragedy, Chirp and Joey set off on an adventure of their own.  During this journey they share their strengths and weaknesses and learn what true friends really mean to each other.

What I Thought Of It:  This was a beautifully written story.  I enjoyed reading about Chirp, her family, and life on Cape Cod.  It was also interesting to read about the friendship between Chirp and Joey.  There were some heavy themes in this story and as I read it I wondered how young readers would be able to handle them.  Some of the press I've seen on the book have said it is for readers in grades four through six.  In my opinion it would best be suited for students older than fourth grade.  The story is emotional, heart-warming, heart-wrenching, and at times tough to read.  Underlying all of these things is a message of hope, family, and friendship.  

Who Should Read It:  This beautifully story should be enjoyed by all.  As an adult reader I loved it. I know many other adult readers (teachers and educators) will enjoy it just as much as I did.  As I stated above, I think the novel is geared toward upper middle-grade readers.  Because of the "heavy" nature of the story, I think readers should be in grades five or above.  Depending on your class, this would make for a beautiful read aloud.  It should also be put in the hands of individual readers because they will come to love Chirp, her love of nature, and her friendship with Joey.  I can't wait to see what other readers think of this story that comes out in September.  Happy Reading!!!  

Rating:  5 STARS out of 5 Stars 

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