Calvin Can't Fly: A Book Review

Even though it may not have been the author's intention, Calvin Can't Fly by Jennifer Berne is a story about a highly sensitive little bird.

As soon as I started to read this book to my kids before bed, I couldn't help but feel like the story was about my own little starling, my highly sensitive boy.

Calvin was different than all his brothers and sisters, as well as his sixty-seven thousand four hundred and thirty two cousins. He stood out in every way a bird could. Instead spending time looking for worms, splashing in water and learning to fly, all Calvin ever wanted to do was read.

Sure enough, poor Calvin was eventually teased by his starling cousins for being so different, being called things like "nerdy birdie" and "bookworm". It hurt Calvin's feelings to be mocked by his family, but he kept on reading nevertheless.

When fall came, it was time for all the starlings to fly south, and although Calvin knew all about migration since he'd read about it, he'd never learned to fly.

I thought it was lovely how the author makes Calvin the hero who saves the day at the end of the story because he's different, and because he had something to offer than no one else did. I can only hope that even in reality, those little ones who stand out from the crowd and are inevitably teased for it, do at one point or another shine the way they deserve to.

My heart broke for Calvin because I have a Calvin of my own, for whom my heart broke a few years ago. My Calvin was also different from the day he was born; he stood out from every crowd; he wasn't interested in the things other little girls and boys were interested in. Some of his teachers and caregivers thought we should worry about the fact that he wanted nothing but to spend time alone with his books.

We thought it was wonderful he was so hungry for knowledge, so inspired by stories, and so willing to take it all in. And eventually, so did everyone else.

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