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Blue Heron
HarperCollins, 1993
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Blue Heron

The story of a pivotal summer for thirteen-year-old Maggie tells how her fight to protect a solitary blue heron with which she identifies distracts her from dealing with strange new tensions in her family.

Behind the Book

Avi writes: Three experiences helped create this story.

One: Years ago I time-shared a very small cottage on the edge of a lake. In the early morning mists—if I got up early enough—I could see beautiful blue herons walking in stately, mysterious fashion along the shores of this lake.

Second: I once met a man who was very sad because—or so he claimed—he had done all the “right” things during his life, and had become very successful. Then suddenly, though he claimed he had done nothing to bring it on, his whole world collapsed. He did not know what to do.

Third: I met a very lovely young girl who spent eleven months of the year living with her mother, and then one month with her father. All these elements are combined in this story. It’s a rather hushed tale, but over the years it has proved a quiet favorite of many of my readers.

Awards and Honors

ALA Best Books for Young Adults, 1993
Starred Review, Booklist, 1992 (Focus Review)
Pointed Review, Kirkus Reviews, 1992
New York Public Library, Books for the Teenage, 1993


“ … a contemporary family under unusual stress… .The heron, a potent symbol ( … it can mean life or death), has been Maggie's preoccupation and solace; in the end, though Dad's adult problems may defy solution, she manages to transform the belligerent Tucker's perception of the awe-inspiring bird. A thoughtful, beautifully crafted story.” (Kirkus Reviews)

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