There were two things that piqued me about Flexible Wings by Veda Stamps. The first was the picture of the hummingbird on the cover. The second was the multi-racial background of the central character which seemed to promise a rich psychological experience, over and above what most children’s books offer. It was gratifying to find that Summer, the protagonist, was just as fascinated by hummingbirds as me, and as wonderfully a complex character as I expected.
Not that this complexity will deter young readers from identifying with Summer. In fact, they will find it easy to relate to Summer and her life. A multi-racial child of military parents (African-American, Japanese and “other stuff”), she experiences frustration at having to move constantly, deals with mean kids and those who want to touch her hair, tries to excel as part of her swim team, and has very real relationships with her family. Any child, from any background will surely find something here that reflects the realities in their own life. I, as an adult, found myself connecting some aspects of Summer’s life with my own childhood.
The writing is funny, empathetic, and light. I especially appreciate the grace with which the author is able to deal with complex issues like racial identity, PTSD, bullying etc, in a way that can be a conversation starter between children and their parents, without it making the narrative heavy or too serious for a children’s book. There is just enough maturity in the writing and the characters for it to be a great reading experience.
FTC disclaimer: I received a e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for this honest review.
Author Bio: http://www.vedastamps.com/