Cover Image: A Many Feathered Thing

A Many Feathered Thing

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Member Reviews

Thanks to NetGalley and Capstone for the opportunity to read and review A Many Feathered Thing by Lisa Gerlits!
This book tells a story about Clara and how she found her “voice”, gained confidence and built her self esteem. Clara continued to have ear infections when she was a baby and a toddler. When she was two, her parents realized she was having hearing problems, surgery helped with her hearing but she struggled to learn speech and lost confidence because of teasing from others and the frustration of trying to get the sounds right. Clara is reading The Diary of Anne Frank with her class at school. As she learns about Anne and her life, Clara sees parallels of Anne’s experiences and feelings in people she knows and associates with. This healing story inspired me to sketch again and that’s something I love to do but haven’t done for decades. Clara grows tremendously within the confines of this story, all because her self awareness grows and her confidence builds, thanks to the realization that she can do things, she can be brave and the faith that others have in her. Sometimes, all we need to grow is to have a chance to see outside ourselves and get a different perspective on life’s situations. A truly heartwarming story, 5 stars!
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This book is beautiful. Beautiful in a physical sense--the dust jacket, the cover and even the pages--and beautiful in the written sense as well. The story is both inspiring and relatable. A story for both young and old, inspiring artists and those who long to nourish their creative side. I definitely recommend picking this one up.
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Wow, talk about ugly crying. This one was hard to get through at a couple points, but I'm glad I pushed through. The beautiful story of friendship and moving on was one I won't soon forget. I think all kids can learn a valuable lesson through reading, most importantly the need for connection and the importance of trying to connect with people. 

I received an advance copy. All thoughts are my own.
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Let's get this out of the way: the general thrust of this plot is going to be entirely predictable to the average reader. In this case, the events are not really the point. This one is all about the characters and their individual journeys. We struggle along with Clara, feeling her pain and sense of inadequacy, her excitement over finding a mentor and her increasing confusion and complication with Orion. We know, instinctively, that she is making all the wrong choices. We even get the sense that she knows it as well. And yet, her choices seem inevitable, a necessary part of adolescence. It's a very realistic journey, painful and awkward, as Clara's lessons in art teach her more about interacting with other people. Gerlits has managed to create a straightforward story that can relay a number of lessons to the reader, one that will hold up to repeat reads.
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The Journey Begins
When eleven-year-old Clara, whose real name is Clarity Kartoffel, and her friend Orion break their neighbor’s glass gazing ball, it is a bigger problem than you might imagine. Why? Because rumors fly about the scary old man who lives in the house that once was adorned with an intact gazing ball.

Clara, a budding artist, has researched and feels most “real” artists live a tough and tortured life. Even before the accident, she has determined that her present life isn’t nearly tortured enough.

So what’s a non-tortured budding artist to do? Why suffer like a true artist and trudge up the scary walkway to the scary old house.

She will apologize for the accident and see what she can do to make things right. But what Clara discovers inside old Mr. Vogelman’s house surprises her and leads down a real journey.

What’s The Deal?
To pay for the broken glass ball Clara and the old, sometimes scary Vogelman strike up an unusual deal.. You see, Clara has stumbled on the fact that her reclusive neighbor is an artist. And he challenges her to throw away her eraser and draw what she sees, not what she wants to see.

Huh? Do you have to be an artist to understand that?

. . . And Other Stuff
As if paying off a broken glazing ball isn’t enough, Clara gets paired up on a project with a new girl in her class, and Orion and Clara meet a new challenge regarding their friendship.

And The A Real Tragedy Comes Crashing Down
Life is always full of opportunities to grow and learn. In this book both Orion and Clara allow you to amble down their eye-opening, wonderful journey that starts with a broken gazing ball and ends with a challenging sadness.

My Thoughts

Though this is not labeled an adult book, it drew me in almost immediately. And it wasn’t just the story, but the believable, unique characters. Not one or two, but all of them stood apart yet felt true to their age, and surroundings. Their relationships with each other melted my heart. And the author had a way of lacing this beautiful story. with inspirational thoughts, but at no time did the story ever feel didactic.

It is a journey of growth and understanding for all of the characters.

And for teachers who are studying Anne Frank in classrooms, consider reading this book aloud to the class. There is so much to be gained by it since the life of Anne Frank is included in this book.

I would easily recommend this to adults. In my opinion, it’s not just for 9 – 14 year-olds.

This is a story that will touch your heart in so many ways. If you are like me, the characters will remain in your thoughts long after you close the book. This is a story of growth, death, friendship, pride, anger, forgiveness, and much more.

My thanks to Capstone and NetGalley for this ARC and the ability to express my true feelings regarding this book.

What Concerned Me
Nothing at all.

What I Liked Most
I was extremely impressed with the author’s insight into each character’s actions and emotions.
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There is always something special about a debut. The sheer delight of the author shines through in every page, and we all get to share in the excitement of discovering this great new thing that has been brought into the world. Lisa Gerlits offers us a debut that is more than special. A Many Feathered Thing is finely crafted, wrought with tenderness and care, and I highly recommend it.

First it must be noted that the book is beautiful. Rosanna Tasker's cover and illustrations are perfect and worthy of their own moments of celebration. Especially for readers who love birds (and there are many of us), the cover will do the important work of helping this book get seen, so it can then be read. And oh, it should be read.

Gerlits introduces us to Clara (or Clarity or CT), 11-years-old and feeling the tumult of being in the middle of her older sister and baby brother, of everything changing while everything stays exactly the same, and of figuring out how to be the artist she is made to be. There's no easy way to reduce Clara to a sound bite, and no good reason to reduce art to a synopsis. Through showing up to do all the hard things, especially the first one of meeting Mr. Vogelman, Clara learns to trust herself and her vision and her voice.

There are hard times because Clara and the people around her are real, and hard things happen to real people. But there is hope. And that is why we are all here.
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“I would have talked about the wings. His and mine and everybody’s.”

In order to become tortured enough to consider herself to be a real artist Clara decides she needs to do hard things. She begins by doing the hardest thing she can imagine, talking to a stranger, Mr Vogelman, who is rumoured to collect teeth. 

Knocking on Mr Vogelman’s door isn’t the only scary thing Clara needs to face. There’s a new girl in her class, her friendship with Orion (who she’s known her entire life) is changing and, possibly scariest of all, she needs to find her voice so she can deliver a presentation at school.

“Drawing had saved me where my voice failed.”

I had planned on reading this book sooner but put it off for several weeks. From the first sentence I knew that no matter what else I found in this book, an ugly cry was certain and I wasn’t in the right head space at the time. Now I’m on the other side of my ugly cry and I can say that although there were several times where it hurt to read this book, hope was also threaded through it.

I loved Clara’s best friend, Orion. His integrity and loyalty endeared him to me and I wanted to watch him as he focused on making things and worked on his intricate knots. I liked Clara most of the time but was anxious for her to pay more attention to other peoples’ struggles and be a better friend. I’d like to spend more time with Elise, the new girl in Clara’s class, who sometimes behaved as though she was much older than eleven.

“You’ve got to have something inside you that no one can take away”

Birdman, as we come to know Mr Vogelman as, teaches Clara about much more than art.

“Every effort is valuable. We must not rub out our failures. They are most important to our success.”

Although I managed to catch a few glimpses of his life outside of his friendship with Clara, I would have liked to have learned more about him. He had a complexity that I wanted to be explored further. 

While I understood why this was the case, Frouke’s character felt two dimensional until very near the end of the story. Even now I’m not entirely sure what her relationship was to Birdman … Housekeeper? Friend?

At its heart this is a book about friendships and having the courage to face the hard things. It’s also about finding ways to connect with people, even if it’s through failed  knock-knock jokes. It’s about tying knots and unravelling them. It’s about seeing, truly seeing, by looking deeper and continuing to look even when you think you’ve understood all there is to see. It’s about hope and love.

“Love is not one shape. It is not always a red heart. Sometimes it is a tree. Or a bird. Or a bicycle bell.”

I’m always drawn to books where children connect with and learn from older people. I’m especially keen when I get the opportunity to peek into the lives of the people who live in the neighbourhood’s scary house. You know the one. It’s the house that children avoid on Halloween. There are rumours about the horrors that may befall you if you wind up on the wrong side of the door. The outcasts, the recluses, the mysterious. Birdman is one of those people. I dare you not to fall in love with him.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Capstone Editions, an imprint of Capstone, for the opportunity to read this book.
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I fell so in love with this book that I read it cover to cover! It is a book about friendship, accepting the differences in people, growing up, being brave when you don't feel brave, finding your way and your voice, and learning that sometimes, life can be pretty complicated.

Utterly charming, this book has it all - a good plot, realistic characters, and true to life situations. It is a joy to read. Written for the 9 - 14 age group, I highly recommend it to people of all ages!

Many thanks to NetGalley and Capstone for allowing me to read a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. All opinions expressed here are my own.
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The entire time I read this book I thought of my son, the artist. I haven't come across many chapter books that describe the art process in this way. 
A damaged piece of property brings two artists together. The first an elderly painter, the second an eleven year old girl who sketches. While Clarity jumps feet first into this mentorship, she starts to ignore another friendship. A friendship between her, a girl who is terrified of hearing her own voice and her friend Orion, an anxious boy who has issues with broken promises. Clarity is longing to belong and fit in but doesn't realize she already belongs and fits in somewhere. 
As a reader you're privileged to witness a journey of the "girl who draws" turning into a real "tortured" artist. 
If every book gives us a little something this book left me with a warm feeling, like hot chocolate on a snow day. I want to go into this book. I want to walk down Clarity's dead end street and look up at the birds in the trees. Children ages 8 - 13 will want to pick up a paintbrush or pencil by the time they finish this book.
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If you know me at all, you’ll know that I absolutely adore middle grade books. This book is so sweet, and so filled with hope that it made me want to reach inside of the book and hug its characters.

We start off with Clara (Clarity) Kartoffel and her friend (and neighbour) Orion being kids, and they accidentally break an ornament on old Mr Vogelman’s property. Clarity goes to apologise, and in exchange, she is to work off her debt for breaking the object.

But this is perfect for Clarity, who is an artist, just like Mr Vogelman is.

The pair form an unlikely friendship as they work together creating different types of art that Clarity hadn’t considered before.

Mr Vogelman, later dubbed Birdman by Clarity (internally, not to his face) teaches Clarity about seeing the essence of things, and always, always, finding the hope in whatever she sees.

I adored their friendship so much, and I especially loved seeing Clarity realise things that she might not have even thought about before.

This book is so soft and warm and lovely, and teaches the reader to not only find hope in everything they do, but to also appreciate the friendships and people they have in their lives.

Even though this book is aimed at 9-11 year olds, I recommend it to anyone who just wants a lovely, sweet read about friendship and finding hope when everything seems hopeless.
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Thank you NetGalley and Capstone for this digital copy in exchange for an honest review.

Eleven-year-old Clara is known as the "girl who draws," but she's not tortured enough to become a real artist. Her only suffering, besides embarrassment over her real name Clarity Kartoffel, German for Clarity Potato is a crippling inability to speak in public. When Clara and her oldest friend, Orion break their neighbor's glass gazing ball, Clara decides that in order to suffer like a true artist, she will do every hard thing in her path . . . starting with knocking on scary old Mr. Vogelman's door. That's when she meets "Birdman." That’s when she sees his swirling painting. And that's when everything changes. To pay for the broken glass ball, Clara begins working for Birdman in his atelier. He challenges her to throw away her eraser and draw what she sees, not what she wants to see. But as Clara discovers, seeing, really seeing is hard. Almost as difficult as befriending the new girl at school, or navigating awkward feelings for Orion or finding the courage to speak in front of the entire class. But little does Clara know, the biggest challenges are yet to come. To cope with tragedy, she will have to do more than be brave. As Birdman teaches her, she will have to "bring the hope."

Beautifully written, captivating. Was hard to put this book down. Watching her self discovery and creativity with art was lovely.
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This was such a heartwarming read for me. I loved every bit of it. It was the best book I read this month. From the cover, this book had caught my eye, it was unique, it was different. When I started with the book, it told the story of this girl Clarity Anne Karoffel. She sufferred from a delayed speech and was made fun of by her peers. She had very few people to confide in, Joselyn his elder sister was her first best friend, but with time she grew apart. 

She then met Orion, her neighbor and her childhood friend, with whom she shared even comfortable silences, he understood her silences and she understood his knots. While playing, Orion made the ball hit Mr. Vogelman's window.

This hitting the window was a mistake by Orion but it opened doors for Clarity when she found out Vogelman was an artist. For Clarity, since words didn't come easy, she channeled her feelings through art. And there, developed a new friendship with Vogelman, her birdman who guided her with art.

Its a beautiful story about how Clarity grows and evolves, how she learns to express herself and how she learns art. 
Will totally recommend this to anyone or everyone who wants to read a beautiful story of innocence, friendships, and self discovery. Lisa Gerlits, the author has done  wonderful job. And I thank the publisher and Net Galley for making it available to me.
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I received a copy of this arc from NetGalley for an honest review. This book was beautifully written and difficult to put down. I story about being different, growing up and loss.
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