The Milk of Birds by Sylvia Whitman

Our Score


When a tree leans, it will rest on its sister.


Fifteen-year-old NAWRA from Darfur lives in a camp for refugees displaced by the Janjaweed’s trail of murder and destruction. She can’t read or write but when an organization called “Save the Girls” pairs her with a girl in the states, she gets her best friend to be her scribe her thoughts and experiences.

K.C., an American teen in Virginia hates reading and writing. But when she receives letters  from Nawra she is forced to look beyond her own struggles.

Through the letters the girls form a bond that bridges two continents. Both girls find that strength is found in numbers and together they can fight for a brighter future.


  • informative book about the atrocities of Darfur
  • Nawra and her experience in Darfur are very relatable
  • addresses issues of learning issues and how it doesn’t mean a person isn’t intelligent just because they don’t learn like everyone else.


  • I found the character of K.C. was written a little stilted (stereotypical teenager)
  • there is rape in the book however the author doesn’t dwell on the details of it.


I was instantly attracted by the cover and the saying on the front cover of this book. It is a book full of rich details about Darfur. It did keep my turning the page although I often found K.C. to be not as full of a character compared to Nawra. If you have teens who want to know more about world affairs and how they can help this is a great book.

Discussion Questions:

There are reading group questions inside. 🙂


Karen deBlieck
Karen deBlieck’s writing reflects the tension of identity and the sense of belonging she struggled with as a black American born in Japan and adopted by white Canadian parents (phew!). From a very young age she found solace in putting her thoughts and feelings down on the page. Writing in poem, short story and novel form her pieces are emotionally and conflict charged. Her stories are written for the general market but she hopes that it challenges her readers to dig further into what True Life is really about.

She was a finalist in The Word Guild’s (Canada) “God Uses Ink”, ACFW’s “First Impressions”, and The Reading Rooms “Aspiring Writers” contests. The short story Talking Drum can be found in “The Story – 2014 Anthology”. Her day job is Awards Director for The Word Guild, a group that supports Christian writers across Canada.

She dreams of travelling through space and time, being sorted into a Hogwart’s house and finding her way to Neverland. When she’s not writing or cooking for her hubby and four kids she enjoys teaching teens about life and words. Check out more about Karen, the current novel she is working on and her blog at

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