I wrote this fable for a 7th Grade Writer's Camp after years of observing students go through school seemingly unaware that school was preparing them for life. They had learned to 'make the grade' by any means possible, but little learning had taken place, much less retained. I told my students that the habits they develop in school--good or bad--are the habits they take with them into life.
Feathers is about learning for life, not just temporarily for a grade and then forgotten. In this fable, for every lesson learned, a feather is given to each young bird to attach to their wings. Some birds see little value in a single feather, so they don't bother to keep up with them. When the time comes to leave the nest, they realize they can't fly and a big cat (life) is waiting to eat them up. Second chances come through the help of a wise owl, but they find out that everything is much harder the second time around.
The preview is half of the story so you can see that this fable can apply to students at any age, but it's primarily aimed at second grade through eighth grade. Questions and answers at the end discuss the symbolism in the story.
The whimsical illustrations are by artist Vanessa Roeder, who also goes by the name of Nessa Dee. You can find more of her beautiful work at www.nessadeeart.com.