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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
If I Could Fly

If I Could Fly

With Characters from "An Island Like You"

Judith Ortiz Cofer

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)


Fifteen-year-old Doris is used to taking care of herself. Her musician parents have always spent more time singing in nightclubs than watching after her. But when her ailing mother goes home to Puerto Rico to get well and pursue a singing career there, and her father finds a new girlfriend, Doris is more alone than she's ever been. Disconnected from her family and her best friends, who are intertwined in terrifying relationships with a violent classmate, Doris finds refuge in taking care of homing pigeons on her apartment building's roof. As Doris tries to make sense of it all, she learns that, just like the pigeons, she might have to fly far distances before she finds out where she belongs.

IF I COULD FLY (Chapter One)
When I come out of my room ready to go to church, I find Papi in the kitchen drinking yesterday's coffee. He's looking perdido, lost, in deep thought as he stares at the newspaper. When he sees me, he announces abruptly,...

Praise for If I Could Fly

“Her [Doris] pain and confusion at her mother's unexpected departure and her bewilderment when her father begins seeing another woman will speak to many teens who have experienced the separation and/or divorce of their own parents.” —VOYA

“Suggest this novel to thoughtful students, particularly those with a bit of the dreamer in them.” —School Library Journal

“The characters shine, particularly Doris, whose quiet, tart sense of humor adds both warmth and edge to her story.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“The musical blend of Spanish and English prose is lush, and an unforced flight motif frames and illuminates this beautiful story.” —Booklist

“It's an elegantly written novel about growing up and becoming independent…and Doris is a relatable character who survives a hard year of learning to find her own way. ¡Viva, Doris!” —Horn Book

“A familiar story of mother/daughter relationships delivered lyrically, simply and inspirationally.” —Starred, Kirkus Reviews

In the Press

Read the Kirkus Review of IF I COULD FLY . Sixteen years after the publication of the Pura Belpré–winning An Island Like You (1995), Cofer returns to the characters of her New Jersey barrio with an affecting treatment of one girl's coming-of-age. - Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads

Judith Ortiz Cofer

Judith Ortiz Cofer is a native of Puerto Rico. She is a poet, essayist, and novelist whose most recent book for young readers is Call Me Maria: A Novel in Letters, Poems, and Prose. She is the Regents and Franklin Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Georgia.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

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