Wild Wings by Gill Lewis
Realistic Fiction – 283 pages for middle grade readers – and anyone who loves a great story and writing
I set a goal to read a book a day all summer. I’ve done that – some picture books, poetry, chapter books and novels – both children’s and adult, and professional books too. I’ve read great books that I’ve shared on our blog and others that I’ll just share in our classroom. I loved the charaters of Zulaikha, Diamond Willow and Ha. I want to become as thoughtful and generous as the Gail Halvorsen and Dr. Gordon Sato. I’ve learned lots about teaching. I am looking forward to sharing what I’ve read and what I’ve learned when the school year begins.
Yesterday, though, I finished my summer favorite, Wild Wings by Gill Lewis. Set in Scotland, Iona and Callum join together through their passion for the wildness and beauty of nature. We first meet Iona standing in a freezing river, fishing with her bare hands. Callum asks her how she does it and she tries to teach him.
“D’you see them?” whispered Iona. I nodded. “Now run your hand slowly into the water behind them.” I slid my hand into the river. Closer and closer until my fingers were inches from their tails. “Run your fingers underneath and try to stroke behind their gills,” said Iona … “People are like rivers,” said Iona. “That’s what I think.” I sat up and squeezed the water from my sleeve. “What d’you mean?” Iona rocked back on her heels and looked right at me. “You’ve got to learn to look beneath the surface, to see what lies deeper in.”
Thus they become friends and make an amazing discovery – a pair of osprey nesting on Callum’s farm. A nesting pair in the wild is a rarity in Scotland. Iona and Callum make a pact to keep them secret. It is theirs alone, until they must act to save a bird’s life.
This is a story of fierce determination, kindness, loss, community and conservation. It is a story that spans continents by tracking of the osprey’s migration across Europe to the mangrove swamps of the Gambia. The writing flows beautifully as they story is told mostly through Callum’s and occasionally through the osprey’s perspective. Readers, bird lovers and revelers of nature are in for a wonderful treat. This will be an early read aloud our room.