February 24


A Nerdy Birdy Invitation by Kirby Larson

In May, a book that changed my life, Catherine Called Birdy, will celebrate its 20th anniversary. Birdy not only opened a new door on what historical fiction could look like, it took the hinges clean off. Though grounded in thoughtful and thorough research, this novel was all about character. And what a character! Catherine/Birdy is the daughter of a medieval manor lord who struggles to perfect her signature oath (“God’s thumbs”) and is outraged when the weaving tools found in the privy are suspected to be hers. She is also determined not to be married off to Shaggy Beard, the man her father has picked out for her. But girls of her time and place had little choice in such matters. Or did they?

Karen Cushman’s work inspired me to pursue my passion for historical fiction, and I know it has touched other writers and readers in similarly powerful ways.

Because I so admire Karen and Birdy, I’ve begun gathering reminiscences from writers, teachers and librarians and other readers about how that spunky medieval maid affected them. My plans are to share them in a blog post, but perhaps in a larger forum as well.

I would very much like to hear from you about how Birdy affected you! Please share your experiences with me at Kirby@kirbylarson.com and I will compile them to share with the kid lit world.

Additonally. Vicky Palmquist, of Winding Oak, vicki@windingoak.com, is collecting greetings, memories of reading the book for the first time, short essays, impressions of Birdy, Birdy-related poetry, a photograph with greetings, and video greetings for Karen’s What’s New? blog and social media. Please contact her with items you’d like shared on Karen’s blog.

Kirby Larson is the author of the Newbery Honor book, Hattie Big Sky. Her latest novels, both historical fiction, are Hattie Ever After and Duke. She owns a tiara and is not afraid to use it.