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Trying to make sense of humanity’s quirky and often devastating behaviors, birds formed a religion complete with mythology, lore and fissured beliefs.
“This is dangerous territory you place your wings in, my starling friend,” the goldfinch lowered his voice. “I feel something strange in the air ever since you came here. You aren’t usual, and there is an energy growing in the air we breathe -- like a berry on the vine. It’s ripening, and when it’s ready, there will be either a wonderful feast or poison.
The tenuous world-view of birds, and perhaps humans too, is about to be challenged by the coming of a Starling of Prophecy and the truth He is called to discover and ultimately share.
View an interview with Tanya Sousa.
Watch the Book Trailer.
Read an excerpt from The Starling God
Showing reviews 1-10 of 19 | Next
Posted by Unknown on 1st Sep 2015
I truly enjoyed the story and felt sad when I reached the last page as I wanted the book to continue! I will always look at birds differently after reading this. There was such meaning in the way the birds in the story saw and related to humans and the religious references were completely on target. There is a hopefulness about saving our planet from the apparent destructive way we abuse it throughout the book that is quite clear. I look forward to reading more books by this very talented and creative author!
Posted by Nicole Perry on 31st Aug 2015
I just finished "The Starling God" by Tanya Sousa and I am definitely going to look at all birds in a different way. This book pulled me right in and had me wanting to find out what was going to happen next. At times I felt like I was one of them (Especially Sl'an). One of the best parts was when he met the whale. I absolutely will be recommending this book to my friends. It was a pleasure. Thank you Tanya and Trevor!
Posted by Diane Clowery on 11th Aug 2015
I thought this book was beautifully written and I loved the underlying theme of Messianic threads that streamed from a bird's view of love,loyalty,kindness and reverence for different birds of a feather. The principles that he stood by helped him to overcome evil and continue on with his quest to be a leader and founder of a new way of life.
Posted by Denise Brown on 29th Jan 2015
"In THE STARLING GOD, a beautifully written novel reminiscent of the best-seller WATERSHIP DOWN, Tanya Sousa displays not only a lifetime of keen and reverent observation of the natural world, but a philosophy that stresses the interconnectedness of all living things and a love for the Earth we all share. In this novel, the birds talk -- they offer comfort to one another, hold conversations on the activities of the powerful bipeds they regard with awe, and reflect on their place and purpose in the grand scheme of things. And as we listen in, we as readers learn much about ourselves. A prolific and passionate writer, Tanya is not only an articulate champion of the animals she so clearly loves, but a compassionate commentator on the most invasive species on the globe: humankind. Readers will be carried away with the story, and find her message, as told through a young starling’s search for answers, wise, affecting, and profound."
Posted by Karen Zaun Kennedy on 29th Jan 2015
Using The Starling God in my high school literature class allowed for an interdisciplinary approach to education. Using this environmental story, told from a bird’s eye point of view, I was able to incorporate many scientific articles about the perils birds face today, study the science of murmurations, access local nature trails, invite an ornithologist from the nearby college into the classroom, explore the art of music through bird song, create scientific drawings, and so much more.
Sousa shows us intelligent and complex creatures, forcing us to ask ourselves what we truly know about other species and allowing rich classroom discussions to take place. Students considered such essential questions as what are we responsible for as citizens of the world? And do advances in science and technology result in progress?
Many of the themes encountered in Sousa’s delightful tale are relevant to high school students today - challenges faced when different cultures come together; respect for the environment; the value of friendship; the search for truth; prejudice and stereotypes. . .
The Starling God proved to be a multi-faceted teaching tool and engaged young readers.
Posted by Karen Struss on 13th Jan 2015
"I really enjoyed this delightful book by Tanya Sousa. I've always felt there is a connection between all living things, and this book put voice to my feelings in a way I could not. Thank you Tanya, for such a delightful account of what we might hear these lovely little creatures saying, if only we were in tune enough to understand their words."
Posted by Beth Waltz and Brian Currie, Northlake, IL on 24th Aug 2014
An all-encompassing Buddhist doctrine set in the animal world runs against the pitfalls described in Plato's "The Cave." The ending is rather ambiguous - will SL'an's endeavor to bring his enlightenment to the humans, whom he formerly regarded as "Gods", ultimately be ignored? (We certainly hope not! :)
Posted by Andree Sanborn on 23rd Jul 2014
I am not usually a fan of books with talking animals (I've never read "Watership Down"). However, the theme that I saw unfolding in "The Starling God" compelled me to continue reading.
"The Starling God" is a fable and it tells of the evolution of Christian thought. There are birds who blindly believe in the theology of the birds, birds who quietly question the belief of damnation and divine punishment for their sins, and even birds who anticipate the coming of the Messiah. This Messiah does come — in the form of a special starling, SL'an. This young starling is trained by doves before being handed over to the starling flock for training from SL'an's own kind. SL'an is observant and questioning, and even questions his own role as the Starling God. After a coming of age quest, SL'an realizes he is not a Messiah. He is a bird with the ability to show other birds a more fulfilling way of life; a better way to view the world about them. In effect, SL'an gave birds a new paradigm for a world in which good creatures may do bad things.
There are very obvious parallels to the life of Christ here. But there came a time in the book when I thought that Sousa had lost this ancient narrative and was striking out on her own, in a different direction. The story stopped following the ancient tale of the life of Christ. I was not sure what Sousa's point was going to be. Was this going to be an atheist or an anti-Christian (both very popular points of view lately) polemic? My curiosity is why I continued to read.
Suddenly, as I read what SL'an saw and learned on his quest, as I watched him gather his disciples, I realized that I had heard these same controversial ideas of SL'an in the writings of Marcus Borg, a liberal Protestant theologian. Was Christ the Messiah? What was Christ's goal in establishing the Christian church? Borg says that Christ established The Way: a new way of living and viewing the world; a new paradigm that eschews the angry and punitive New Testament God that we know. The Way is inclusive, forgiving and gentle. The Church was not meant to be the organized, hierarchical entity that has disenfranchised and judged, thus repelling, people.
We never learn whether SL'an was crucified for his teachings. We are hopeful that in our era he will be safe to find more disciples to help spread The Way. He certainly has the means to keep himself safe: his wings. But Jesus had his feet and could have escaped his fate. Why didn't he?
If you are curious (and are not faint-hearted), read Borg's work. I continue to return to his writings regularly because I simply cannot digest all there is. "The Starling God" is a marvelous, painstakingly crafted, exposure to the ideas and consequences of The Church and The Way. Humans need fables to digest very difficult ideas. This is the fable for The Way.
Posted by Casey Boyle, Irasburg, VT on 19th Jun 2014
It has been several weeks since I read Tanya Sousa’s book, The Starling God. Her message and story does not fade as time passes if anything it grows and prompts continual reflection. Why do writers’ write, and why do readers read? Writers write because they have something they want to share. As a reader I like to learn and to enjoy the journey that is within the book. The Starling God provides both many lessons and a great journey through the lens of SL’an – the Starling. Tanya has created a well written book that keeps the reader engaged in the life of this Starling. She has also conveyed a message of importance to all that each day our actions have an effect on all aspects of our environment and those who live in it. The lingering effects of her well-crafted story is one that provokes a new interest in birds and all manner of life around me, as well as a deepened sense of responsibility to our environment. Her story and her message is a great vehicle that can and should encourage dialogue for all ages. I highly recommended her book.
Posted by Peter Murray on 31st May 2014
In 7th grade, I read one of my favorite books, Richard Adams Watership Down. I was thoroughly enthralled with the world of Warren's and rival Warrens. Bigwig and Fiver were my heroes. Ever since Watership Down, I look at rabbits differently and came to learn that the animal world is a world different from our own, but we are connected. The Starling God, is the Watership Down of our times and like that book, I now find myself looking at birds the same way I look at rabbits.
Tanya Sousa's brings to life a part of the animal kingdom I think that we take far too much for granted. It is a world of beauty, poignance, and sometimes predatory dominance.
The book tells the story of a Starling bird, named SL'an raised by a human, who rehabilitates SL'an after an injury. SL'an comes to believe that she is his mother. Once SL'an is healed he is released into the wild, to take his place among other birds, not far from his home, which he calls God's Place, as he and the rest of the bird's refer to human's as Gods, because of the gift oh food and shelter. He meets a group of Doves, L'al and L'in who he becomes close friends with and they think upon SL'an as family. After a short time the Doves realize that SL'an must be with his own bird kind and L'al meets up with Bard, the leader of the Starling flock and lets him know of SL'an's existence. Bard finds SL'an and insists he must join his flock and he must never associate with other birds as he believes SL'an is the Starling God of prophecy. Although, happy to learn being among his own, SL'an has other plans for himself, he sees himself as a teller, a wise bird who shares his wisdom and a seeker, one who seeks out knowledge. It is unheard of to be both in the bird world, and SL'an's restrictions causes him to rebel against the flock and seek his own knowledge about humans or the God's. What SL'an learns changes his outlook on the God's, and the world around him and he decides it is up to him to exact change.
Once I picked this book up, I couldn't put it down. I think you will do the same.
Showing reviews 1-10 of 19 | Next
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