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
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Posted by Marsha Downs on 20th May 2014
Review for The Starling God
As a child, entering the world of other creatures was a part of life. Sensing their feelings, wondering about their thought process, and what their sounds communicated to each other was intriguing to me. The belief was always held that there was a social networking among other species just as with our own. I saw them as sentient and intelligent and with as many complex feelings as any humans. Tanya Sousa has written a wonderful book entitled, The Starling God, which allowed me to enter this world through the eyes of one of my favorite creatures - birds.
The wonder of finding truths in a confusing world, the emotions felt, the pain and the pleasures, the growing up of a bird that felt he had a purpose is something many can identify with. This book brings all of these things to life; the world seen through the eyes of a starling that felt separate from the rest, but also discovering the oneness through the murmuration of his kind, leading him to discover the real meaning of life by being drawn to an unlikely mentor.
His quest is not unlike so many of our own. He wanted to make a difference and make sense of the “truths” others of his kind accepted and lived by, though they were often opposing. Most turned away from seeing the truth of their illusions, blindly believing. Then others, ready for truth, were able to see through the illusion they had been living with through his discoveries.
Tanya wondered if some would find it too anthropomorphic. Some may feel that way, but even if animals are not human, they still have social systems, complex communication, intelligence, and most importantly, love and a desire to learn. Watch any mother with her young from another species and it is not un-humanlike. They protect and nurture as we do. And don’t animals from dolphins to dogs to chimpanzees, and yes, even birds, like to learn and show intelligence in doing so? We are all animals in different guises. We are the ones that forget we are a part of the food chain, though humanity likes to hold power over it.
I believe, given the way the book is written, that it will be very appealing to many age groups. And perhaps in the reading of it, you will come to the same truths as SL’an, the starling god. It is very well written and very engaging. There are times when you will cry, times when you will laugh, and times you might find yourself sharing SL’an’s own naiveté as he discovers more and more of the truth of life, the soul, and the world we all share. I loved this book and highly recommend. If you love nature, and especially birds, it is a must read. And after seeing the trailer for this book, I am certainly hoping Tanya gets to write a screenplay!
Posted by Amanda G. on 17th May 2014
I'm terrible at writing reviews, but will say that this was an excellent read. Definitely worth the 5 stars. It's an intriguing story about the way birds see the world and how all beings are connected. Also, the cover design is lovely. I look forward to reading more books like this by Ms. Sousa.
Posted by Beth Kanell, Author of "Darkness Under the Water", Owner of Kingdom Books on 12th May 2014
It's been a month or so since I finished reading THE STARLING GOD, by Coventry, Vermont, author (and sometimes publisher) Tanya Sousa. And I've read so many books since that one ... but every time I go outside, something from Sousa's novel comes to the foreground. I can't listen to a songbird, watch hawks and vultures hunt, or even see an empty bird's nest without realizing that my way of responding to all of these has shifted.
And that is an amazing effect for one novel….
Sousa's plotting and dialogue reveal a gifted storyteller who's embraced her own message of Seeking and Telling. The path of the Starling God -- if that's what he is! -- doesn't require quite as much terror as the Watership Down rabbits endure, but the sense of flock and community is strong and vibrant. The book comes through on all of its promises, and is a welcome addition to the parables of our time."
~ Beth Kanell, Author of "Darkness Under the Water", Owner of Kingdom Books
Posted by Tena Starr, Journalist/Reviewer for the Chronicle on 21st Apr 2014
Tanya Sousa’s The Starling God is part allegory, part adventure story, part coming of age tale, and very much a social commentary. She tackles the interconnectedness of species, the dangers of both conformity and superiority, and the pitfalls of blind and unquestioning adulation — for starters.
A good story has a memorable character, and SL’an is that. He’s a plucky little fellow, charming, honest, and loyal…the book moves along like an adventure story, with moments of tragedy, joy, grief, and tension. It’s reminiscent of both Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Watership Down.
As a story, it works. The characters are rich and well drawn. Although they are given human thought and reactions, they also retain the qualities of their species.
Tanya Sousa has written a thoughtful story here, one with a message that yearned to be told.
~Tena Starr, Journalist/Reviewer for The Chronicle
Posted by Jacob L. Grant on 20th Apr 2014
"The Starling God" is a brilliantly crafted reminder that we share this world with a great number of species and that in whatever ways we are connected we are just that... connected. And that is no small truth, rather it is an important part of daily living that is, as the book suggests, a tragedy to forget.
The story follows a little starling bird who sets out to learn the truth about this connection after being told he is "The Starling God," a bird destined to help other starlings be more like the humans they revere. The truth he discovers, however, is a much more important one, relevant to all readers.
Tanya Sousa needs to write more fiction like this. I've been familiar with her children's books for years, but this is the first of her novels I've read and it is a beautiful work of prose and storytelling.
Posted by Lynda Graham-Barber, Award-Winning Children’s Book Author on 11th Nov 2013
"An amazing accomplishment."
Posted by Darryl Duffe, Green Builder on 11th Nov 2013
The challenges and plot twists take the reader through various experiences, both joyful and tragic, through the eyes of other species – feathered and sometimes even furred. The tale is woven with deceit, treachery, some violence, a lot of curiosity, honest discussion and debate, romantic partnership, individual friendships, family relationships and social structure…. the main character's quest is for meaning and understanding. The journey takes the young starling (and the reader) into a new, constantly changing mature realization that neither people nor any particular species are 'gods' but rather that all life on this planet, including human, has an interspecies connectedness.”
Posted by Ken Foote, Masters in Environmental Science on 11th Nov 2013
“Recent research has discovered that wolves howl from loneliness for specific others, orangutans plan their trips ahead of time, elephants weep from sadness, and dolphins have names! It is a world of wonders we live in, with so many yet to be explained. The Starling God takes the reader to a special place where the world seen is from a bird’s eye view, literally. In it we follow the life of SL’an, a starling, rescued from death as a newly hatched chick, grown from fledgling to a young bird, discovering his purpose in life. Along the way we experience the excitement of discovery, how to find our place in the world we live, and yes, the pain of loss and sorrow. The Starling God is a wonderful adventure that offers a glimpse of hope to a world sadly in need of it.”
Posted by Howard Frank Mosher on 30th Oct 2013
In an era when entire ecosystems the world over are under unprecedented assault, the acclaimed children's and adults' author Tanya Sousa has written the perfect story for our times. Part fable, part natural history, and beautifully written throughout, THE STARLING GOD places animals, especially birds at the center of the world. With great energy, scientific exactitude, imagination, and reverence for all living things, Sousa reveals how, in nature, there is indeed much more in the world than is dreamt of in our self-centered religions and philosophies. Adults and children alike will love THE STARLING GOD equally.
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