Sleeping with the Blackbirds

Children - Fable
180 Pages
Reviewed on 08/20/2015
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Alex is a slightly shambolic and extremely short-sighted advertising copywriter living in NW London. He's married with two children both of whom are far smarter and more sensible than their old man.
Alex is quite possibly the only human being on this planet to have had the misfortune of being inadvertently locked in a record shop on Christmas Eve.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lisa McCombs for Readers' Favorite

Wow, wow, and wow! Sleeping With the Blackbirds by Alex Pearl encompasses the charm of classics such as The Velveteen Rabbit and The Secret Garden. In a lively British voice, Pearl weaves a tale of social conflict when eleven-year-old Roy Nutterley finds himself at the mercy of school bully Harry Hodges and his cronies. Between the caustic atmosphere of fighting parents at home and the insecurity of the school yard, Roy finds solace only in his garden of ever growing bird houses. Roy is at peace among his bird friends and their comforting song. When his mother cleans the garden of his treasures, the affected blackbirds, tits, and magpies come to Roy’s aid in a surprising and awe-inspiring manner. The birds need Roy as much as he needs them. Not only is Roy rewarded for his loyalty to the birds, but Harry Hodges also learns the valuable lesson of right and wrong when he finds himself homeless and living on the streets.

I love, love, love Sleeping with the Blackbirds. I couldn't put it down. The strength of the author's voice held me captivated long after turning the last page. With the wit of JK Rowling, Alex Pearl has definitely earned his place in the young adult fiction hall of fame. His fantasy broaches the subjects of homelessness, child adoption, bullying, injustice, and the cruelty of abusive parents, all issues with which the youth of today live. There is a moral lesson for each of Pearl’s characters to learn. Through a marvellous turn of events, each character is rewarded with the right ending. Bravo, Alex Pearl!

Meghan - The Gal in the B

I'm a big believer in taking the time to read a chapter a day to children before (and even after) they're able to read. It not only teaches them whatever the moral of the story is, but also teaches them words (how they sound and what they look like) and gives you quality time with no distractions except your imaginations. THIS is a great chapter book to share with the younger generations, especially since it touches on both bullying and feelings when parents fight a lot at home.

Those are the two things that Roy has to deal with on a daily basis. The bully (and his gang) are mean - and the parents argue so much and so loud that the neighbors even hear it. Not only do they fight a lot, but they don't seem to notice Roy at all. The one thing that makes him happy is the birds in his backyard - he even makes brightly colored homes for them. His parents may not notice him, but the birds sure do. And that's all I'm going to tell you about the story. You need to read it to find out the rest. :)

The end is a beautiful and unexpected ending to a very colorful story and one I will definitely be sharing with the little kids in my life. :)

Patrick Hodges, author of

Eleven-year-old Roy Nuttersley has the worst of both worlds. He lives under the same roof as his two loathsome parents who do nothing but abuse each other and ignore him. He goes to school only to be tortured by Harry Hodges, the school bully. The only solace he has is the kinship he feels with the birdlife of London, and the construction of the houses that he gratefully hangs in the trees for them. And the birds are grateful.

In fact, the birds are so grateful that they decide, en masse, to help poor Roy. Together, these flocks of winged creatures form a plan to bring joy back to the live of this caring, unfortunate boy before it's too late.

Beautifully written, poignant and magical, Alex Pearl's writing style flows with the hand of a seasoned veteran. It pulls you in and never lets go. The ending is particularly rich and satisfying, and it shows that even the smallest things can trigger countless events, and no one is beyond redemption.

Well done, Mr. Pearl!


I have so many things to say about this book. Not only was it good, but you can relate to it in some way. And its good at teaching about a tough topic and was done well.

Roy has it tough. Hes got parents at home who are horrible parents to him, and have issues with each other. Then he goes to school and has to deal with being bullied and then go home ad repeat the cycle over and over.

Its a hard subject to write. It can either be done really well or done horribly. In this case, Alex took this and wrote it so well. The details and emotion is strong throughout, and you'll just love Roy. I did love how birds were a big part in making Roy happy. I don't think I've read a book where it was the birds who made the person happy, but I really loved how unique it was.

This is a great story for any age, and its something you could read to kids and learn from together. Really well done, the author did a great job.


A good story is a good story, I don't care who it's written for!This may have been billed as young adult, but I loved it. It's one of those stories everyone will identify with-and enjoy.

Roy, a quiet boy plagued by bullies and self absorbed, neglectful parents, finds his life changing in ways he couldn't have imagined. People around him change as well,and it is all observed...and manipulated by the birds Roy so loves and cares for.

Great plot twists and characters! A thoroughly good read for anyone, and a particularly good book for children who are beginning to observe the world of people,animals and the relationships that develop among them


Such a lovely, magical, story! Like a fairy tale, but better. Poor young Roy--at 11, he has experienced years of misery in a terribly unhappy household, and of course as such, he is an immediate target for overgrown bullies. But Roy is an old soul, with compassion and caring, and fixes what he can, so he builds gently painted birdhouses in the 4 trees in his home's backyard. Luckily he does, because all the birds take a shine to him, and begin to come to his aid.

I reviewed a digital copy generously provided by the author for review and blog tour, without remuneration.


"Sleeping with the Blackbirds" is a uniquely magical, and descriptive tale from author Alex Pearl. Eleven-year-old Roy Nuttersley is fighting personal battles on two fronts - his foster parents don't love him and he is being severely bullied at school.

The plot to this story was OK - I found it a relaxing book to read at night. I particularly loved the birds and the efforts they went to in order to assist this unhappy little boy, even if they inadvertently worsened the situation.

I rated this story a 4 not for its plot but because it was beautifully written and could be used to start a conversation with children. This novel contains topics such as bullying, and how every child needs understanding [not every child lives a happy life].

In addition, I believe the author did an excellent job in making the reader feel sorry for Roy, who is the victim of life's cruelties. On the other hand, Pearl also did a great job explaining the psychology of a bully, and why some kids sometimes participate in the activity of harassment - which I believe is also an important conversation to have with children.

Overall, "Sleeping with the Blackbirds" was an interesting and well - done, topical read. I would definitely recommend it to parents with young kids, older children, and even teenagers.

Chris Chalmers, author

this is the first time i've come across this author and i was most impressed. the story skips along at a lively pace, the characters are lifelike and believable, and it manages to address important issues such as poor parenting, bullying and homelessness in an accessible, non-intimidating way. it would make excellent bedtime reading and the climax in particular is packed full of images which i can imagine staying in a child's dreamy head for a long time. highly recommended!

Shaw's Corner

This is a lovely book written in a really nice, old-fashioned style, so it feels like a classic you might have read in your childhood. Zippy chapters, multi-dimensional characters and a hefty dose of magic realism adds up to a very solid debut. More please!

John Salmon

This is a fantastic novel, superbly crafted, it deals with
many of the human emotions such as love, care, intimidation and relationships. The characters come alive and you see them
play their parts vividly in your imagination. You want to keep turning the pages in anticipation of the next event taking place. A compelling read, highly recommended. I look forward to another book from this author after what I understand is his debut novel.

The Daily Lama

I understand this is the author's first novel. If so, prepare for amazing things because this is a stunning debut. Warm and touching yet at the same time embracing modern-day issues that most children's authors seem to steer clear of.

It's great fuel for kids' imaginations and great for parents to read aloud, too. Highly recommended.


Over the past few years I have started to avoid reading fiction by modern authors as most books seem to be overly arty - style over content - but this is very different. A compelling and rewarding novel that had me not wanting to put it down until I turned the very last page. An excellent read. If you like a good book buy this book today. You won't regret it.


This enjoyable read was an brilliant understanding of the authors writing and story telling. The characters in the story were very well connected with other children of this generation. I would recommend this many times over! Buy it, read it, enjoy it and have an imaginable journey through the book and the words within.


For a long while I thought this read, whilst pleasant, rather unexceptional. However the last 30 pages bring this short tale to a very satisfactory conclusion. It's a very clever, meaningful and well put together finale.
The book would be an excellent bedtime story to read to your children as the chapters are only a few pages long, or perhaps for children who have reasonable reading skills to read themselves, as it's only 120 pages and it wouldn't therefore be too daunting or trying a task for them.
Overall it was a very pleasant & entertaining experience. It doesn't hurt adults to get caught up in a fantasy world now and then!


A wonderful, dreamlike story, that weaves its way around the issues faced by a young lad facing up to his bullies and neglectful parents, with some help from his winged friends. Loved every bit of this book.

Svati Singh

This book took me right back to my childhood, and is definitely one I’ll recommend to my young relatives. I was the kid on the playground who always had my nose in a classic by Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl or C. S. Lewis. I truly believe, this book sits beautifully amongst those classics. What I like most about it though, is that it’s a modern classic, for today’s young people who are clued up on so many more things than I was at their age. There is a sophistication that acknowledges today’s young generation. This book made me chuckle and it moved me as well. There’s tenderness and sweetness laced throughout. And while I don’t at all want to spoil the ending, I hope it’s okay to say I was moved to tears of joy as well. This is a heartfelt read and the thing I love most about it, is that it reminds children of the magic that’s freely available in nature – you don’t need to be wealthy or have the latest computer games or anything like that. You just need to connect with the birds in the trees………. Stunning!

Mummy Knitter

I bought a hard copy of this book and really enjoyed it as did my older two boys. Well written, cleverly observed characters and a plot that is out of the ordinary.

Suitable for 10 years to adult.

Bramwell Tovey, broadcast

Finished "Sleeping with the Blackbirds". Eyes full of tears! Would make great movie: wonderful images & thought-provoking scenes.
Thankyou Alex!

George Layton, author

A delightful fairy story that deals sensitively and compellingly with real, modern-day issues like homelessness, single mums and abusive parents.

What an entrancing story. A real flight of fancy, which will engage children
in the plot and at the same time, increase their understanding of real
human relationships.


Enjoyable and easy book to read. There were some great characters in this fantasy world with humorous overtones. Would recommend.