Have you ever wanted to read a book that dreams about becoming a Studio Ghibli film? Well now you can. Given to Fly is the 13th book by Puerto Rican indie author JD Estrada and his first full length middle grade fantasy novel. But more importantly, it’s a book with a lot of heart and no violence.
If you see movies, TV, video games, or the news at any given moment, it’s almost as if violence is a required ingredient in whatever medium we enjoy. Given to Fly is a book that avoids the use of violence even when it talks about real issues like death, financial and professional struggles, and life in general in favor of finding joy and life lessons through the fantastical.
At 11 years old, John Rivers is a kind hearted kid who dreams about flying. He’s just moved to the Pacific Northwest with his family to a house that although it’s very lovely and very cozy, it’s not exactly magical. What he doesn’t know is that magic is actually closer than he thinks.
After strolling up a hill near his house, he finds a cliff with a cove at the bottom and a huge tree growing over the water. What’s special about this particular tree is that it currently serves as the resting spot for a house that defies logic while embracing the amazing. As curious as he is kind, one look at Od Manor would have been all it takes for him to consider heading into the sideways house, but when he sees a shadow inside, he climbs down to make sure no one is in trouble. Once inside, he discovers that no one is in trouble but that the term living room has never been as literal as when an ottoman starts asking questions. The house’s owner is called Fäet Odstein, which would be odd enough if he weren’t also the literary persona of JD Estrada. Adventure ensues as Fäet discovers that John dreams about flying. Intent on helping the boy out, they seek the help from a library pillaging bookworm, angels, spiders, and even take a moment to contemplate at the meaning of life in the linen lagoon as they try to discover what it takes to fly.
Apart from a whimsical adventure that feels like a lover letter to works by Hayao Miyazaki, Given to Fly is also the first of what will be a series of stand-alone middle-grade novels with Fäet Odstein as one of its protagonists. The purpose of these books shall be to offer stories without violence that hopefully get more children to read and dream.
Influenced by Hayao Miyazaki, Peter Pan, and dreams of flight, Given to Fly is a book full of heart that skips the violence in favor of the fantastical.
This is not the first time JD Estrada has written middle grade fantasy stories. His Daydreams on the Sherbet Shore have been described as whimsical bedtime stories with a lot of heart. That same heart was the main driver for this story. Like most of his works, Given to Fly was written longhand in one of the best gifts Estrada has ever received in his life. A long time ago, his wife gifted him a hard cover notebook. The image on it was particularly special to him. She had asked him what image meant the most to him. Without batting an eye, he looked up the image to the Pearl Jam single by the same name. A couple of months later and with misty eyes, he had a hard cover notebook with that same image and the name could only be Given to Fly. But what to write about…
The question lingered in the air and rumbled in his brain until a trip to Orlando had him and his wife going to Epcot Center and getting on the Soarin’ ride for the first time. As sights, sounds, and smells washed over him in the beautiful flight simulator, an idea was born and by the end, he had soared right into an epiphany. “It’s going to be about a boy who dreams about flying,” he told his wife through tears of joy after getting off the ride.
Several years have passed after that ride and finally Given to Fly is ready for you to read. It is a tribute to things that bring him joy and a song that makes his soul smile.
In honor of the band that has inspired his life so much, all proceeds for Given to Fly and all other Estrada books for the remainder of 2018 shall be donated to Actionforjackson.org in support of #EBAwareness. Epidermolysis Bullosa is a family of rare genetic disorders that affect the body’s largest organ: the skin. Eddie Vedder (lead singer for Pearl Jam) has worked hard to support this cause. It is a small token of gratitude for everything the band means to Estrada and aligns with his #Humans4Humans efforts to support different causes and try to make a positive impact through his writing and any other efforts to support good causes that help our fellow humans.
Find JD at:
Website – www.jdestradawriter.blogspot.com
Twitter – www.twitter.com/JDEstradawriter
Instagram – http://instagram.com/jdestradawriter/
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/
Facebook page – www.facebook.com/JDEstradawriter
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard
Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/j-d-estrada