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Fact + Fiction = Fantastic: Fiction Readalikes for Moonbird by Phillip Hoose

Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 by Phillip Hoose is one of the finalists for the 2013 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults. If you’ve already read Moonbird and are finding yourself wanting more, you may also enjoy these fictional stories with similar themes, subjects, and elements. Read and liked a bunch of these novels already? Give Moonbird a try!

(Summaries from jacket copy.)

Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
Just when seventeen-year-old Cullen Witter thinks he understands everything about his small and painfully dull Arkansas town, it all disappears….

In the summer before Cullen’s senior year, a nominally-depressed birdwatcher named John Barling thinks he spots a species of woodpecker thought to be extinct since the 1940s in Lily, Arkansas. His rediscovery of the so-called Lazarus Woodpecker sparks a flurry of press and woodpecker-mania. Soon all the kids are getting woodpecker haircuts and everyone’s eating “Lazarus burgers.” But as absurd as the town’s carnival atmosphere has become, nothing is more startling than the realization that Cullen’s sensitive, gifted fifteen-year-old brother Gabriel has suddenly and inexplicably disappeared.

While Cullen navigates his way through a summer of finding and losing love, holding his fragile family together, and muddling his way into adulthood, a young missionary in Africa, who has lost his faith, is searching for any semblance of meaning wherever he can find it. As distant as the two stories seem at the start, they are thoughtfully woven ever closer together and through masterful plotting, brought face to face in a surprising and harrowing climax.

The Ever-After Bird by Ann Rinaldi
Now that her father is dead, CeCe McGill is left to wonder why he risked his life for the ragged slaves who came to their door in the dead of night. When her uncle, an ornithologist, insists she accompany him to Georgia on an expedition in search of the rare scarlet ibis, CeCe is surprised to learn there’s a second reason for their journey: Along the way, Uncle Alex secretly points slaves north in the direction of the Underground Railroad. Set against the backdrop of the tumultuous pre-Civil War South, The Ever-After Bird is the story of a young woman’s education about the horrors of slavery and the realization about the kind of person she wants to become.

Endangered by Eliot Schrefer
The Congo is a dangerous place, even for people who are trying to do good.

When one girl has to follow her mother to her sanctuary for bonobos, she’s not thrilled to be there. It’s her mother’s passion, and she’d rather have nothing to do with it. But when revolution breaks out and their sanctuary is attacked, she must rescue the bonobos and hide in the jungle. Together, they will fight to keep safe, to eat, and to survive.

Eliot Schrefer asks readers what safety means, how one sacrifices to help others, and what it means to be human in this new compelling adventure.

Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby
Thirteen-year-old Joey Willis is used to being left out of conversations. Though she’s been deaf since the age of six, Joey’s mother has never allowed her to learn sign language. She strains to read the lips of those around her, but often fails.

Everything changes when Joey meets Dr. Charles Mansell and his baby chimpanzee, Sukari. Her new friends use sign language to communicate, and Joey secretly begins to learn to sign. Spending time with Charlie and Sukari, Joey has never been happier. She even starts making friends at school for the first time. But as Joey’s world blooms with possibilities, Charlie’s and Sukari’s choices begin to narrow — until Sukari’s very survival is in doubt.

— Compiled by members of the 2013 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults committee

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