Rare Birds (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

A story about the life-changing magic of friendship and family, both the one you're born into and the one you find. Will this book make you cry? Yeah, probably. Will you love all the characters? Definitely. Warnings for bullying and illness.

— From Kids & Teens

January/February 2023 Kids Indie Next List

“A coming-of-age story where a young man sees there are things bigger than himself. How better to learn the value of life than a new friend and a rare bird? A nice middle grade with the right amount of wonder, turmoil, adventure, and self-love.”
— Tina Greene-Bevington, Bay Books (MI), Suttons Bay, MI


Jeff Miller's heartbreaking, coming-of-age middle-grade novel--inspired by his personal experience living through his own parent's heart transplant--invites readers into the world of a twelve-year-old birdwatcher looking for a place to call home and a way to save his mother, even if it means venturing deep into Florida swampland.

Twelve-year-old Graham Dodds is no stranger to hospital waiting rooms. Sometimes, he feels like his entire life is one big waiting room. Waiting for the next doctor to tell them what's wrong with his mom. Waiting to find out what city they're moving to next. Waiting to see if they will finally get their miracle--a heart transplant to save his mom's life.

When Graham gets stuck in Florida for the summer, he meets a girl named Lou at the hospital, and he finds a friend who needs a distraction as much as he does. She tells him about a contest to find the endangered Snail Kite, which resides in the local gator-filled swamps. Together they embark on an adventure, searching for the rare bird . . . and along the way, Graham might just find something else--himself.

Jeff Miller crafts a heartfelt story about what it means to live in this unforgettable middle-grade novel. Rare Birds is a rare find that will resonate with fans of the Carl Hiassen's Hoot and Melissa Savage's Lemon. For readers looking for novels with literary appeal and classic themes of family, friendship, and the meaning of life, Rare Birds is a perfect pick.

Hardcover with dust jacket; 288 pages; 5.5 x 8.3 in.

About the Author

Jeff Miller is a middle-grade author and former camp counselor originally from Kent, Ohio. He loves snow, coffee, and visiting schools to connect with young readers. His mom, a 2018 heart transplant recipient, has always inspired him to face life with humor and heart. He is the author of The Nerdy Dozen series, middle-grade books about video games, friendship, top-secret aircraft, positivity, and ostriches. His latest middle-grade novel, Rare Birds, is authentically inspired by his personal experience of living through his own parent's heart transplant. Miller currently lives in Chicago, where he keeps asking his cats for writing advice.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781454945048
ISBN-10: 1454945044
Publisher: Union Square Kids
Publication Date: January 31st, 2023
Pages: 288
Language: English