Nest by Esther Ehrlich Can Be Categorized As A Book For Children, But All Ages Will Love It

Nest by Esther Ehrlich can be categorized as a middle-grade book but I would not hesitate to say that it’s for all ages. The fact that Naomi (Chirp) Eva Orenstien, the protagonist, is an eleven year old Jewish girl living in Cape Cod doesn’t limit Nest’s age group to readers of eleven years of age or to those of Jewish heritage and religion. Nest is surprisingly as adult-like of a book just as it is one aimed for young readers.

An Image of a duck, reminiscent to Esther Ehrlich's Nest, a middle-grade book that is about the experience of growing up. | The Black Lion Journal | The Black Lion
An Image of a duck, reminiscent to Esther Ehrlich’s Nest, a middle-grade book that is about the experience of growing up.

As we begin to read and experience the story through Chirp’s youthful lens, we begin to see that despite Chirp’s age, she is in the cusp of maturity. She is constantly seeking ways in which she can return to a younger time when all things were different. Her biggest lesson is understanding that life, at times, has a cruel way of forcing one to move forward. This forward expedition can be unwanted—but time always lends a helping force in the form of a good friend. Joey Morell, an eleven year old boy from school and a boy whom Chirp’s dad, a psychiatrist, says comes from a family with significant issues, is that good friend.

Joey is a friend that always makes an appearance in the story when Chirp needs him the most. He is her nest and her comfort when family situations become dire. Chirp understands her family’s struggle, but sweetly denies her worst fears. Joey, and her birds — their nests — become a place of familiarity and a place where she can mature.

Set in the summer of 1972, Nest ends with readers knowing that Chirp and Joey will have the comfort of their friendship and each other in overcoming harsh, and sometimes cruel, realities. I hope that Ehrlich has plans to develop another story with an older Chirp and Joey — I would love to see their characters develop into a strong Young Adult relationship.

Author WebsiteIllustrator WebsiteBuy Nest

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