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Book Review: Sparrow Migrations NOT Just the Story of One Autistic Boy


Sparrow Migrations

Last month I “met” (online) Cari Noga, author of Sparrow Migrations, while she was running a special promotion for Autism Awareness Month. Cari listed her book for $1.68 on Kindle for the whole month of April to reflect the new CDC statistic release that 1 in 68 children are affected by autism. Cari’s son, Owen, is among those numbers.


After briefly reading the description of Cari’s novel, I grabbed it, and would have with or without a sale! , I knew I was not going to be able to read it immediately because I was in the middle of reading the Mortal Instruments Series, and I cannot read more than one book at a time, but Sparrow Migrations moved to the top of my reading list.


What made me pick this book?

Read the first line of the description from Amazon:

“Robby Palmer, a 12-year-old boy with autism, witnesses the “Miracle on the Hudson” from a sightseeing ferry and becomes obsessed with the birds that caused the plane crash.”


If I stopped reading there I would have purchased it.  Being from NYC, I was glued to my television set during the coverage of the “Miracle on the Hudson,” where a pilot was able to make an emergency water landing in the Hudson River saving every passenger on board, and likely many on the ground had that plane crashed down into the city.

Sparrow Migrations is a fictional story of an autistic boy who witnessed this event, which was the catalyst for a life-altering special interest! Special interests, as many of you know, are near and dear our Aspie hearts! “Our (special) interests allow us to decompress, calm down, focus our energy, and gives us a reason to be excited about life— a purpose.”  ~ Twirling Naked in the Streets

I smiled all the way through Sparrow Migrations as Robby discovered, pursued and often exacerbated his parents with his all-consuming interest in the birds that caused the plane to “crash.” (Crash is probably not the right word since the plane made a successful emergency landing, but digress.) Of specific interest to me was the way Robby’s parents felt about their lives, and Robby’s future.  I had never considered the topics of parental fears, or guilt over their children with autism likely because autism, for me, is “normal.” It is my every day life. My children with autism are like I am, so I have not really experienced fear about their future. Although, I am beginning to experience of fears over the Tot’s recently, who seems affected in some areas more severely than my two older ASD boys. Now that I think about it, that is likely the reason this aspect of the story jumped out at me.

Sparrow Migrations is not just about Robby’s story; the author weaves three stories into one. Three families whose life trajectories were irrevocably changed that day on the Hudson River. The characters are interesting, the stories page turning, and their fates all intertwined.  I absolutely loved it!

My only complaint–

I could not put the book down!

I picked up Cari’s novel and could not put it down, which surprised me because I usually have my nose in either a text-book, a writing book, or some type of fantasy novel.  I usually love YA fiction because its fast-pace keeps me from getting bored or easily distracted.  I read all night long, and finally forced myself to close my Kindle at 5 a.m., and take a nap. At hat point a nap was all I was getting before the baby woke at 7!  Fed the little guy, and then sat him on the sofa next to me with Kindle in hand; I had to finish reading the story.

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book to you!  Grab a copy, you won’t be disappointed.



“Why do I write what I do? Easy answer for SPARROW: It was therapy. My own son, Owen, was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in May 2010, about six months before I started writing it. He was four and a half then. Writing the novel was a way for me to process the emotions that accompanied his diagnosis. Uncertainty and fear about our future ran high, since autism is a lifelong, largely unexplained condition that varies significantly by individual. By creating the character of 12-year-old Robby Palmer, I could project my hopes and prayers for our future as a family.”


I’ve invited Cari to visit here and write about her creation of Robby’s character, and about her own experiences as an autism parent. Grab the book, stay tuned, and don’t  miss her visit!


Have questions for Cari?

Leave them in the comments section, and I will ensure she gets them.

Happy Reading!

Jeannie Davide-Rivera

Jeannie is an award-winning author, the Answers.com Autism Category Expert, contributes to Autism Parenting Magazine, and the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. She lives in New York with her husband and four sons, on the autism spectrum.


  1. Pingback: Guest Post: Autism Mom and Author of Sparrow Migrations—Cari Noga - Jeannie Davide-Rivera

  2. Thanks for the review and recommendation, Jeannie, and sorry about inducing insomnia! (OK, actually that’s gratifying to hear.) I look forward to answering your readers’ questions in a guest post.

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