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Kaela Noel and I discuss in detail how she trained to become an author, found a literary agent, rewrote her book until it was salable, and is now celebrating the release of her debut novel. We talk about worldbuilding and the pigeon research required to add authenticity to COO, as well as creating compelling characters in the story and the surety of being age 10. I ask her thrilling questions about the design and print layout of her book. We agree that both libraries and flying saucers are important and awesome.
Kaela Noel was born in San Francisco and raised in New Jersey. She now lives in Brooklyn, New York where she works as a proofreader and editor. Coo is her first novel.
In this exceptional debut, one young girl’s determination to save the flock she calls family creates a lasting impact on her community and in her heart. Gorgeous and literary, this is an unforgettable animal story about friendship, family, home, and belonging. For readers who love books by Kate DiCamillo and Katherine Applegate.
Ten years ago, an impossible thing happened: a flock of pigeons picked up a human baby who had been abandoned in an empty lot and carried her, bundled in blankets, to their roof. Coo has lived her entire life on the rooftop with the pigeons who saved her. It’s the only home she’s ever known. But then a hungry hawk nearly kills Burr, the pigeon she loves most, and leaves him gravely hurt.
Coo must make a perilous trip to the ground for the first time to find Tully, a retired postal worker who occasionally feeds Coo’s flock, and who can heal injured birds. Tully mends Burr’s broken wing and coaxes Coo from her isolated life. Living with Tully, Coo experiences warmth, safety, and human relationships for the first time. But just as Coo is beginning to blossom, she learns the human world is infinitely more complex—and cruel—than she could have imagined.
This remarkable debut novel will captivate readers from the very first line. Coo examines the bonds that make us family, the possibilities of love, and the importance of being true to yourself. Fans of Katherine Applegate, Kate DiCamillo, and Barbara O’Connor will devour this extraordinary story.