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Cover for If I Could Fly

If I Could Fly

With Characters from "An Island Like You"

Judith Ortiz Cofer


List Price: 25.99*
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If I Could Fly is a standalone novel based on characters introduced in Judith Ortiz Cofer's bestselling short story collection, An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio, which won the inaugural Pura Belpré Award.

Fifteen-year-old Doris is used to taking care of herself. Her musician parents have always spent more time singing in nightclubs than watching after her. But when her ailing mother goes home to Puerto Rico to get well and pursue a singing career there, and her father finds a new girlfriend, Doris is more alone than she's ever been.

Disconnected from her family and her best friends, who are intertwined in terrifying relationships with a violent classmate, Doris finds refuge in taking care of homing pigeons on her apartment building's roof. As Doris tries to make sense of it all, she learns that, just like the pigeons, she might have to fly far distances before she finds out where she belongs.

Praise For If I Could Fly: With Characters from "An Island Like You"

“Her [Doris] pain and confusion at her mother's unexpected departure and her bewilderment when her father begins seeing another woman will speak to many teens who have experienced the separation and/or divorce of their own parents.” —VOYA

“Suggest this novel to thoughtful students, particularly those with a bit of the dreamer in them.” —School Library Journal

“The characters shine, particularly Doris, whose quiet, tart sense of humor adds both warmth and edge to her story.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“The musical blend of Spanish and English prose is lush, and an unforced flight motif frames and illuminates this beautiful story.” —Booklist

“It's an elegantly written novel about growing up and becoming independent…and Doris is a relatable character who survives a hard year of learning to find her own way. ¡Viva, Doris!” —Horn Book

“A familiar story of mother/daughter relationships delivered lyrically, simply and inspirationally.” —Starred, Kirkus Reviews

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 9780374335175, 208pp.

Publication Date: May 24, 2011

About the Author

Judith Ortiz Cofer is a native of Puerto Rico. She is a poet, essayist, and novelist whose books for young readers include Call Me Maria: A Novel in Letters, Poems, and Prose. She is the Regents and Franklin Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Georgia.