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Be Light Like a Bird
Be Light Like a Bird
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Award Winners Reviewed Titles

Be Light Like a Bird

After the death of her father, twelve-year-old Wren finds her life thrown into upheaval. And when her mother decides to pack up the car and forces Wren to leave the only home she's ever known, the family grows even more fractured. As she and her mother struggle to build a new life, Wren must confront issues with the environment, peer pressure, bullying, and most of all, the difficulty of forgiving those who don't deserve it. A quirky, emotional middle grade novel set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Be Light Like a Bird features well-drawn, unconventional characters and explores what it means to be a family—and the secrets and lies that can tear one apart.

PublisherCapstone Young Readers
Age Level8-12 Years
Reading LevelGrades 3-7
GenreRealistic Fiction
Trim Size5 1/4 x 7 1/2
Page Count240
Paper Over Board



New Moon Girls, "Lacey Recommends"

"Sometimes emotions can be hard to talk about, even for adults. In Be Light Like a Bird by Monika Schroder, Wren’s mom won’t talk to her about her feelings after Wren’s father dies. When her mother insists that they move, connecting becomes even harder. But in her new home in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Wren must learn to cope with her grief and find out who she is without her father by her side." - New Moon Girls, "Lacey Recommends"

November 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews

"A young girl’s first-person narrative of her journey through grief to acceptance. ...the maudlin is averted by Wren’s authentic voice and the inclusion of engaging characters and substantive issues, ranging from peer pressure and bullying to infidelity and environmental concerns. Skillful characterization carries this quiet novel along." - Kirkus Reviews

July 1, 2016


VOYA - Matthew Weaver

"Younger adult readers who have experienced a loss in their family will be able to relate to Wren’s grief and confusion in the wake of her father’s death and her mother’s reaction. The story is very simple, told with engaging characters." - VOYA

October 1, 2016

Booklist - Melissa Moore

"This quiet, introspective story focused on grief and the environment reminds one of a serious Carl Hiaasen novel. The setting is beautifully rendered. . . .Wren is a likable young girl with more wisdom than the typical 12-year-old...this thoughtful tale still delivers an important message about caring for others." - Booklist

July 1, 2016


School Library Journal - Jenny Berggren, Longfellow Middle School, Berkeley, CA

"In this book, readers experience the many different forms that grief can take and the varied effects it can have on people. Despite the heavy theme, the story is not mired in mourning, and the empowerment that Wren and Theo begin to feel as they work together is uplifting. . . .this is a thoughtful novel. A moving and ultimately heartwarming journey through loss." - School Library Journal

July 1, 2016

Skipping Stones

"Wren, 12, has just lost her father. Her mom won’t talk about him, and she seems more angry than sad. Her father’s belongings are thrown away without Wren’s consent, and her mom keeps moving them to different towns, getting a new boyfriend in each one. She must find a way to deal with her grief and express her feelings." - Skipping Stones

January 1, 2017


Imagination Soup - Melissa Taylor

"I found this beautiful chapter book story so compelling. . . .It’s a story of grief, redemption, forgiveness, and ultimately, hope, and is one that will stay with you." - Imagination Soup

January 10, 2017

Publishers Weekly

"In a quiet but potent novel about grief, Schröder (My Brother's Shadow) gently traces Wren's struggles as she comes to see both of her parents in a different light. Readers should be easily drawn into Wren's honest, thoughtful narrative as she carries her father's words with her, remembering her past even as she opens her eyes to the future." - Publishers Weekly

September 30, 2016



ABC Children’s Group, American Booksellers Association

2016 ABC Best Books for Young Readers

September 1, 2016

Foreword Magazine

2016 Foreword INDIES Book Award, Honorable Mention for Juvenile Fiction

March 1, 2017

Monika Schröder

Monika Schröder

Monika Schröder writes novels for middle-grade readers. Her books include My Brother's Shadow, which was nominated for the 2014 New York State Reading Association's Charlotte Award; Saraswati's Way, a Story of an Indian Street Child, which Bank Street College named one of the best books of 2011; and The Dog in the Wood, which earned a starred review from Kirkus and was chosen by Voya as "Top shelf fiction for middle school readers." Monika grew up in Germany but has lived and worked in Egypt, Oman, Chile, and India. She brought an Indian Street dog, whom she calls Frank, from New Delhi to her current home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. When Frank isn't demanding her attention, Monika invents vegetarian dishes, bakes cheesecakes, and tends her garden.

Go to the Author’s Page →