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Author: Rose, Caroline Starr
As tensions rise between the English settlers and the Native peoples on Roanoke Island, twelve-year-old Alis forms an impossible friendship with a native girl named Kimi.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.50
Points: 4.0 Quiz: 173966
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.30
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 66253
Common Core Standards
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Craft & Structure
Kirkus Reviews (01/01/15)
School Library Journal (02/01/15)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 03/01/2015 Twelve-year-old Alis and her parents are among the English settlers who land on Roanoke Island in 1587 expecting to join the colony there. Finding only an empty settlement and some human bones, they struggle to survive on their own. Though they fear the local Indians and that fear quickly escalates, Alis slips out of the settlement repeatedly, makes contact with an Indian girl named Kimi, and befriends her. Gradually they become as close as sisters. When the tension between their peoples turns to violence, Alis takes an unusual path. In an appended author’s note, Rose relates what is known about the Lost Colony and what changes she has made, such as placing a girl among the settlers. Written in blank verse, the first-person narrative alternates between Alis and Kimi, offering insights into both cultures as well as the girls’ characters and their personal stories. The use of different typefaces works well to differentiate the two voices, which occasionally appear in tandem when the girls are together. An imaginative historical novel with two sympathetic protagonists. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 02/01/2015 Gr 4–7—Like Rose's debut novel, May B. (Random, 2012), Blue Birds is historical fiction told in free verse. Set in the late 1580s, the story centers on two young girls who forge an unlikely bond, one which defies the conventions of their respective communities and threatens to shatter an already fragile détente. Alis is a colonist who's just arrived on the island of Roanoke with her family and a small band of English men and women intent on settling the New World. Kimi is a young Roanoke girl who watches the arrival of the white folk with a mixture of curiosity and trepidation. Over time, even as tensions mount and violence erupts between the two peoples, the young women find each other amid the confusion, hatred, and ignorance—communicating through gestures and simple words. Told in alternating voices, rendered in distinct font styles for each girl, the verses allow readers to see their relationship evolve from one of tentative friendship to a deep bond of sisterhood. As the girls become closer, their poems occasionally share a page, the short stanzas working together as meaning and understanding is reached. Rose's writing is accessible and filled with rich details describing the setting: the rough and ragged barracks in which the settlers strive to make a home as well as the vibrant natural beauty of Kimi's village and surrounding woods. Based loosely on the slim evidence surrounding the events of the infamous Lost Colony of Roanoke, Rose takes some liberties with history (explained in an author's note): there was no record of a young woman—other than wives and mothers—being among the group of settlers during that time period. Similarly, the actual whereabouts of the missing settlers is one of history's great mysteries. The tough choices the characters must make are, on the whole, believable outgrowths of their burgeoning bond. The ending, however, may stretch credulity for some readers. VERDICT With two compelling main characters and an abundance of rich historical detail, Rose's latest novel offers much to discuss and much to appreciate.—Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.