Early Praise for Extraordinary Birds

Release date for Extraordinary Birds is April 30, 2019, but I’m very excited (and grateful) some amazing booksellers and librarians were able to take an early look!


Sandy Stark-McGinnis’s debut middle grade novel filled my heart with love and made me feel like I have wings. December, along with wonderful supporting characters Eleanor and Cheryllynn, have strong voices and their stories will stay with you long after you close the book. Stark-McGinnis handles challenging topics with a light touch and beautiful empathy. I loved this book.”

-Suzanna Hermans, Oblong Bookstore, Millerton NY


Sandy Stark-McGinnis brilliantly and passionately writes about 11-year-old December’s journey from heartbreaking disappointment to her reluctant and courageous struggle to trust. After bouncing around from one unhappy foster home to another, December has found her own way to cope with the rejection and pain of a devastating childhood. McGinnis delicately writes a sensitive story about family, trust, bullying, mental health, and identity in a way that middle-grade kids can find empathy and relatability to the characters in ‘Extraordinary Birds.’ I’m sure this novel will find its way into many classrooms as part of novel studies and into the hearts of readers everywhere.”

-Sara Ornelas, Blue Baboon Books, Wichita KS


EXTRAORDINARY BIRDS is an extraordinary novel. Eleanor and December are unforgettable characters. I really admired Eleanor’s gentle and supportive connection to December. She is truly a gift to a very damaged child. It was also wonderful to see a transgender child become such an organic part of the story without any fanfare over being transgender. Cheryllynn is a bright shining star of warmth and friendship. This is the kind of book that should be in every classroom. Children who have difficult home lives need to see that there is hope. Children who are bullied or left out need to see that it only takes one act of kindness to find a friend. The bird metaphor throughout the novel really gives “wings” to this profound and beautiful story. Hope really is a thing with feathers.”

– Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior MN


Emotionally moving storytelling along the same lines of Wilson Rawls and Ali Benjamin, Sandy Stark-McGinnis knows how to pluck the heartstrings and touch upon the human experience with her characters.”

-Gerard Villegas, Warwick’s


Extraordinary Birds is heartbreaking and hopeful, refined and accessible, profound and dreamy, full of questions and answers. It’s clear Stark-McGinnis deeply understands how kids experience lots of different feelings in the quest for security and freedom. Such a lovely story.” – Andrew Medlar, Director of BookOps, the shared technical services of New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library


“In Stark-McGinnis’s debut novel, she gives us character December Lee Morgan, whose story will fly right into your heart.  With relatable themes of hope, determination and survival, this character will have readers rooting for her long after they close the book.  A beautiful read.”—Michele Knott, literacy specialist and blogger at Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook


 “Several hints throughout the book strengthen the theme that who we are is not necessarily a matter of choice. We do have a choice in what books we read.  Next spring, choose Extraordinary Birds.” – Stacey Rattner, Librarian Leaps, Castleton Elementary School


Extraordinary Birds captures the hearts of readers with a touching story about one girl’s strength to take flight.  Readers will appreciate the descriptive words about nature and love all the facts about birds.  A genuine story about friendships, trust, and finding a new home.”—Paige Bentley-Flannery, Librarian, Deschutes Public Library


“Growing up is a bit like learning to fly.  It’s also something that happens no matter what we do.  The experiences we collect, the choices we make, and the people who surround us make us who we are.  December, the heroine of Extraordinary Birds, lets us into her wounded self, and takes us on her gentle story as she learns to fly.  Her friendship, with a foster mother and a transgender friend, bolster her so she gains her own power. The relationships are filled with love and reading the book feels like an embrace.  Adults seem more real than usual, which I’m grateful for.”

Kira Wizner, Merritt Bookstore



Posted by Sandy Stark-McGinnis