Erin Kelly’s Blackbird Fly Inspires – A Review by Ayesha F. Hamid

Typically a reader of adult fiction and nonfiction, I didn’t think that a middle grade novel would interest me as much as Blackbird Fly did, yet I found myself quickly flipping through the pages to find out what would happen to the book’s protagonist, Apple Yengko.

Apple and her mother left the Philippines for the United States when Apple was four; the death of Apple’s father caused the family to immigrate to America. Now attending a middle school in Louisiana, Apple is ostracized because of her ethnic background. She feels that she doesn’t have anyone who understands or relates to her. Nevertheless, Apple still has hopes and dreams. She loves music and wants to learn guitar, so she can become a rock star.


Blackbird Fly is an inspiring read for both children and adults alike. Erin Kelly has created a convincing world in which children isolate each other for insignificant and arbitrary reasons. In this world, we witness, through Apple, the resilience of the human spirit. This book shows children, who may be left out or bullied, that it is vitally important to keep hope alive. On the other hand, adult readers, like me, will root for Apple and in so doing give some closure to their own childhood trauma.

Blackbird Fly is published by Greenwillow Books and is available here:




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