Spring 2020 Kids Indie Next List
“Coo is a brilliant, fresh take on animal fantasy. Among the many things that make this book marvelous, the pigeons have their own set grammar, which greatly appealed to me as a linguistics nerd. The book also takes a stab at answering some pretty big questions, such as what it’s like to experience your own humanity for the first time. With echoes of Julie of the Wolves and Silverwing, this book has moments of human (and pigeon) connection that will sweep you off your feet.”
— Laura Speake, Gibson's Bookstore, Concord, NH
In this exceptional debut, one young girl’s determination to save the flock she calls family creates a lasting impact on her community and in her heart. Gorgeous and literary, this is an unforgettable animal story about friendship, family, home, and belonging. For readers who love books by Kate DiCamillo and Katherine Applegate.
Ten years ago, an impossible thing happened: a flock of pigeons picked up a human baby who had been abandoned in an empty lot and carried her, bundled in blankets, to their roof. Coo has lived her entire life on the rooftop with the pigeons who saved her. It’s the only home she’s ever known. But then a hungry hawk nearly kills Burr, the pigeon she loves most, and leaves him gravely hurt.
Coo must make a perilous trip to the ground for the first time to find Tully, a retired postal worker who occasionally feeds Coo’s flock, and who can heal injured birds. Tully mends Burr’s broken wing and coaxes Coo from her isolated life. Living with Tully, Coo experiences warmth, safety, and human relationships for the first time. But just as Coo is beginning to blossom, she learns the human world is infinitely more complex—and cruel—than she could have imagined.
This remarkable debut novel will captivate readers from the very first line. Coo examines the bonds that make us family, the possibilities of love, and the importance of being true to yourself. Fans of Katherine Applegate, Kate DiCamillo, and Barbara O’Connor will devour this extraordinary story.
Features black-and-white spot art throughout.
About the Author
Kaela Noel was born in San Francisco and grew up in New Jersey. She now lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her family. Coo is her first novel.
“Coo made my spirit soar. An unforgettable story of friendship, love, and finding your flock.”
— Erin Entrada Kelly, Newbery Medal-winning author of Hello, Universe
“Noel builds an immersive pigeon culture. . . [and] offers a movie-worthy climax . . . [A] story that will appeal to a wide range of readers.”
— Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
“[A] whimsical, wonderful debut . . . Readers will lose themselves in this high-flying story of friendship and home.”
— BookPage.com (starred review)
“A heartwarming story of finding family . . . A unique approach to adjusting to a new culture and language . . . Coo is endearingly strange, and her perception of the human world is fresh and humorous.”
“The story conveys powerful messages about love and friendship, compassion and belonging. . . . Noel has written a debut replete with hope, humor, and heart.”
— Publishers Weekly