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Bird
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"In my house we wield silence like shields and swords: We use it to push people away or injure them." Ever since 12-year-old Jewel's brother died by jumping off a cliff on the day she was born, her grandfather hasn't uttered a word. He's the one who gave his grandson, John, the nickname "Bird" and told him that, one day, Bird would fly. Jewel's Jamaican grandpa and her dad believe in duppies, or harmful spirits, and think grandpa's nickname attracted one. Now, Jewel is living in a house of fear, silence, and guilt. Jewel returns to the cliff where her brother died in order to connect with him and feels the place, unlike her family, speaks to her. When she meets a boy in town for the summer, she, a geology lover, and he, obsessed with space exploration, become friends. But this boy has secrets of his own, and, eventually, someone is going to have to talk. This is a slow read—­thoughtful and introspective about the dynamics of a grieving family—and contemplative readers will be rewarded by Jewel's journey. Grades 4-7. --Ann Kelley --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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