The Arctic Tern

An excerpt from one of he most moving young adult novels I have read. A lonely boy finds himself in a picture.

Underneath the glass was this book. A huge book. A huge, huge book. Its pages were longer than a good-size baseball bat. I’m not lying. And on the whole page, there was only one picture. Of a bird.

I couldn’t take my eyes off it.

He was all alone, and he looked like he was falling out of the sky and into this cold green sea. His wings were back, his tail feathers were back, and his neck was pulled around as if he was trying to turn but couldn’t. His eye was round and bright and afraid, and his beak was open a little bit, probably because he was trying to suck in some air before he crashed into the water. The sky around him was dark, like the air was too heavy to fly in.

This bird was falling and there wasn’t a single thing in the world that cared at all.

It was the most terrifying picture I had ever seen.

The most beautiful.


Gary Schmidt. Okay for Now. (New York:Clarion, 2011) p. 19.



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