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Young Adult Fiction Girls & Women

The Discovery of Flight

by (author) Susan Glickman

Inanna Publications & Education Inc.
Initial publish date
Apr 2018
Girls & Women, Disabilities & Special Needs, Death & Dying
Recommended Age
12 to 18
Recommended Grade
7 to 12
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2018
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2018
    List Price
  • Downloadable audio file

    Publish Date
    Nov 2020
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


Finalist for the 2019 International Book Awards ofr Young Adult Fiction

The Discovery of Flight is a novel in two voices about the relationship between two sisters, the older of whom is disabled by cerebral palsy and only able to communicate with assistive technology (she can control her computer by moving her eyes). It interweaves the fantasy novel sixteen-year-old Libby is writing for Sophie's thirteenth birthday, and Sophie's diary, in which she discusses the deteriorating condition of her older sister. The book's title is also the title of Libby's novel, in which Libby takes the form of a hawk telepathically linked to a girl who, like her sister, is a good artist. Sophie's diary is in fact illustrated with the occasional black-and-white drawing. The sicker Libby gets, the more she retreats into her novel and the less she interacts with the outside world. Though the situation is tragic, Sophie's voice is extremely funny and wry. In addition, through her storytelling, Libby becomes a heroic figure rather than a helpless victim. After Libby's death, the girls' mother presents Sophie with the novel and Sophie writes its final chapter, bringing the voices of the two girls together.

About the author

Born to Canadians living in Baltimore, MD, Susan Glickman convinced her parents to move home to Montreal at the age of one and a half. But that initial sense of being from somewhere never left her. She has lived in England, the United States, and Greece and extensively travelled across Europe, Asia, and America before settling in Toronto. Glickman's love for travel is matched by her love for books. She has worked in bookstores, in publishing, and as an English professor at the University of Toronto. Known for her lithe, rich poetry and brilliant literary criticism, Susan Glickman is the author of five highly regarded poetry collections, including Running in Prospect Cemetery: New & Selected Poems. Her critical study, The Picturesque and the Sublime: Poetics of the Canadian Landscape, won both the Gabrielle Roy Prize and the Raymond Klibansky Prize. Susan Glickman has been described as one of the finest of Canadian authors. She is a confident, gifted writer whose poetry and fiction exemplify beauty, insight, and power.

Susan Glickman's profile page


  • Short-listed, American Book Fest International Book Awards (Fiction-Young Adult)

Editorial Reviews

"A sensitive story of sisters, love, and loss, told via interweaving narratives."
--School Library Journal

The Discovery of Flight provides a compassionate perspective on a family living with a severely disabled child, but it also tells the funny, poignant story of a 12-year-old struggling with growing pains. Author Susan Glickman brings the voice of the two sisters together in a memorable and transformative ending."
--Quill and Quire

"A beautiful sibling duet. This uniquely structured novel is funny, frank, and utterly transporting."
--Kyo Maclear, author of Birds, Art, Life

"The two voices--one sardonic, the other tender--blend seamlessly in this heartbreaking story that will appeal to fans of both realism and fantasy."
--Kit Pearson, author of A Day of Signs and Wonders

"Moving, imaginative, ultimately heroic and highly readable."
--Robert Priest, author of the Spell Crossed trilogy and The Wolf is Back

User Reviews

The Discovery Of Flight

A little hard on the heart at times, but in a lovely story of sisterhood.

The Discovery Of Flight alternates between twelve year old Sophie’s school assigned journal during the year leading up to her bat mitzvah, and her sixteen year old sister, Libby’s secret gift for Sophie, a medieval story about the bond between a girl and a hawk that echoes Libby and Sophie’s relationship.

Sophie’s journal entries have a free-flowing authentic feel, she’s inquisitive, passionate and opinionated, which I loved, she questions religion and her teachers in ways that seem true to her age and thoughtful, she advocates for and adores her sister refusing to tolerate anything less than respect for her, and there’s such a good arc where this socially aware girl comes to realize that she hasn’t be quite as aware of her grandmother and how deep down they are more like-minded than she knew.

Cerebral Palsy has Sophie’s older sister, Libby, unable to communicate in the traditional way, yet through her sister’s journal, and through Libby’s fiction, you discover her as a person, her intelligence and her dreams and how very much alive she is within her uncooperative body, she feels every bit as dimensional as Sophie in the book even though she doesn’t express herself in as direct a manner, the story very much belongs to both sisters, not just the verbal one.

Though a short read, it’s impressive how in so few pages, and in a simple writing style, the contemporary and fantasy segments weave together this fully-realized, heartwarming story of sisters, by the end you feel like you’ve truly known and loved these girls.

I received this book through a giveaway.

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