- Josefina Montoya
- Dolores Romero
- Francisca Montoya
- Clara Montoya
- Ana Montoya
- Andres Montoya
- Magdalena Montoya
- Señora Sánchez
- Ofelia Aragón
- Felipe Romero
- Maria Herrera
- Esteban Durán
- Señor García
- Señora Sánchez
Only in Song of the Mockingbird
- Birdy: A girl who originally lived in Chicago before moving to Santa Fe. She loves to sing and dance, earning the nickname "Mockingbird", later shortened to "Birdy", by her parents. While she self-identifies as Birdy, she is addressed as Maria by Josefina. She travels back into the past with a bird-shaped clay flute she had found in a cave.
- Henry: Birdy's older brother.
- Dad: Birdy's father. He's a professor of Southwestern art at the university and has an interest in New Mexican plants, animals and rock formations.
- Mom: Birdy's mother.
- Danielle: Birdy's friend back in Chicago.
- Audrey Capella: A classmate at Birdy's new school in Santa Fe.
Opening and Potential Plot Events
Birdy heads to her locker as the last bell rings. She admits that even though everything seems fine on the surface, underneath she yearns to return her old school, and old life, back in Chicago. She explains everything she misses – the buildings, her school, her best friend Danielle – following her family’s move to Santa Fe, New Mexico. They’ve been in Santa Fe for two weeks, living in a house made of adobe. Birdy’s been trying to like her new surroundings, even taking her German shepherd, Daisy, on a walk on their first day in Santa Fe – where they came face-to-face with a horny toad that shot blood out if it’s eyes and splattering Daisy’s face, terrifying the dog and Birdy.
After seeing Audrey coming down the hall, Birdy buries herself in her locker, pretending to remove more books. She admits that even she kind of likes Audrey, a little bit of her still believes that if she acts miserable enough, her parents will let her move back to Chicago, possibly living with Danielle. Audrey gets her and asks if she’d like to walk over to an ice cream shop at La Plata Street. Birdy, who just wants to go home, declines. The girls walk down the hall, Birdy stopping when she notices a flyer advertising auditions for the skit club on the school bulletin board. Audrey asks if she’s going to try out. Birdy shakes her head and asks Audrey, who declines as she gets stage fright. The girls share embarrassing stories before they find themselves at the front doors. Audrey invites Birdy again, who declines again. After she disappears, Birdy walks over to the school bus, feeling bad for hurting Audrey’s feelings and questioning how she’d expect Audrey to understand her feelings of homesickness.
Birdy enters the kitchen and sees her Dad making masa dough. She rolls her eyes, remembering her parents’ passion for New Mexican cuisine since their move. Birdy refuses to help make tamales and heads for the stairs, stopping at the bottom step while Dad tells her they’ll be going on a walk with Daisy. During their walk, Dad points out sage and bends over to examine some Indian paintbrush. Birdy’s surprised to see a mule deer bounding across the path on front of them, commenting on how fast it was. As they continue to walk, Dad confides that he not only knows how much Birdy misses Chicago, but so do the rest of the family. He adds that they’ve been trying to embrace their new home, and that he hopes Birdy will learn to embrace it, too. Birdy nods, not wanting express her doubt. Reaching the rocky hills at the end of their path, Birdy points out the opening to a cave. She and Dad haul themselves onto a big rock and poke their heads into the opening, Dad using a pocket flashlight to illuminate the inside. Birdy squeezes herself into the opening and stands up, using her dad’s flashlight to look around the cave. She notices Daisy nosing around a pile of stones and, after hearing her bark, she bends over and shines the flashlight into the pile, noticing a bird shaped flute made of grey clay. She picks it up and examines it, noticing traces of yellow paint, two holes at either side and a few smaller holes along its back. After following Daisy out of the cave, she examines the flute with Dad, who estimates the flute may be from the early nineteenth century. They stay back to the house and as they reach the yard, Birdy sees her mom and Henry in the kitchen and, not wanting to talk with them, decides to stay in the yard, hoisting herself up on a boulder that sits ten yards away from the back of the house.
As she rubs the flute between her fingers, Birdy gazes out at the hills, comparing them to the Chicago skyline. She then looks down at the flute and, after turning it over and examining it, raises the flute to her lips and blows. She notices the name “Maria” carved on the bottom and assumes she had made the flute. Birdy’s about to blow into the flute again when she hears a mockingbird singing and then sees one perched on a pine tree branch. After looking at the flute again, she realizes it had been modeled to resemble a mockingbird. She smiles and, remembering her nickname “Mockingbird”, imitates the bird’s song though the flute. As soon as the notes are out, she is then transported to Josefina's time and location.
Birdy wakes up and finds herself lying at the bottom of the boulder. She notices that the sun had gotten higher and that she’s wearing different clothes: a blouse, a long skirt with a fringed sash tied around the waist, and moccasins. She runs towards the direction of her house and sees the Montoyas’ rancho. Confused, she comes up with the conclusion that she’s dreaming. Then she sees Josefina (whom she doesn't know yet) walking out of a door with a basket in hand. As soon as she notices Birdy, she drops her basket and rushes to her, asking if she’s okay. Birdy’s surprised that she could understand Josefina (who’s speaking Spanish) and becomes shocked when she replies in Spanish, too. Still, she’s convinced it’s all a dream. She examines Josefina’s clothes and assumes she’s in an old-fashioned dream–the most vivid dream she’d ever had. Josefina introduces herself and, after noticing a big streak of dirt on Birdy’s forehead, leads her towards a door, insisting they go see Tia Dolores. Josefina leads Birdy to the middle of the courtyard and introduces Tia Dolores, Francisca, Ana and Clara. Josefina leaves for a while and returns with a cup of chamomile tea, which Birdy drinks. She hands her flute to Francisca, who notices the name “Maria” engraved on it and asks if it’s Birdy’s name, and Birdy agrees. Realizing she may not be dreaming after all, she asks for a place to lie down and is sent to Josefina’s sleeping sala. In the room she examines and praises a blue-and-white blanket, surprised when she learns Josefina had woven it. After Josefina tucks her into the bedding and leaves, Birdy sits up, wondering if she’s really dreaming and the flute’s relation to the situation. After playing the mockingbird’s song into the flute, she feels herself falling again and everything going dark. Opening her eyes, she finds herself by the boulder at the exact moment she had left.
After this opening, events vary according to choices made. (Uniquely, the protagonist may not choose to return to 1825, and instead reflects on her own life situation.)
- Birdy returns to the Montoyas' rancho and assist Josefina, Clara and Tia Dolores with removing corn husks. She goes along with the assumption of her being a captive and meets Teresita, Señor Montoya, and Sombrita.
- Birdy and Josefina go to the garden to collect squash. After they're done, they go to the kitchen to preserve the squash and later go into the grand sala for dinner.
- Birdy hears Josefina, Clara, Francisca and Tia Dolores reminisce about Maria Montoya and can be shown either her altar cloth or the memory book.
- Birdy and Josefina visit the village and can either talk with Tia Magdalena or babysit three young children at Señora Sánchez's house.
- Birdy accompanies Josefina, Tia Dolores and Señor Montoya on a trip to Santa Fe. During their journey, they can either stop and visit Josefina's grandparents or continue to their destination.
- Birdy and Josefina arrive at the Santa Fe plaza, meeting Mariana, Esteban, and Señor Jaralillo; Birdy refuses to trade her flute to Señor Jaralillo and examines horses for trade with Josefina and Mariana.
- Birdy and Josefina expedite to the hills, gathering rabbit brush for Teresita. After Sombrita's confronted by a mountain lion, either Josefina can throw a rock at the predator or Birdy can jump in to grab Sombrita. Online endings include gathering piñón nuts or following a mockingbird and creating a new song with the clay flute.
- Birdy and Josefina attend a fandango at Señora Sanchez's; they listen to the music, watch the dancers, and eat dinner.
Regardless of the ending that is arrived at, Birdy eventually returns to her own time using the flute, and returns at the exact moment she left. She makes proper goodbyes to Josefina and often others she has encountered, and generally says she can go back to her family (which Josefina believes she is separated from by escaping her captors). Birdy returns with a new-found perspective of her life. This often includes a deeper appreciation for her family, a growing interest of exploring the New Mexican landscape, and deciding to stay and make new friends in Santa Fe rather than wanting to return to Chicago.
Discusses life in colonial New Mexico during the 1820s. Topics covered:
- The settlement history of the Southwest, as the area was owned by Mexico and predominantly living with the region being either Spanish or Native American.
- Difficulties of raising crops and animals in the high desert, meaning everyone had to work hard and depend on one another.
- Children growing up with very close bonds to their extended families and the few neighbors and villagers who lived nearby.
- New Mexicans turning to curanderas to treat their illnesses and injuries, and the respect curanderas received for their healing skills and wisdom.
- The expectation for children to be respectful of adults, and the ways they had fun, such as with toys, games, stories, songs and riddles.
- The alliance between Spanish settlers and Pueblo Indians, and the other native groups who would raid Spanish settlements and Pueblo villages.
- Women and children who were taken to become captives, and how their treatment differed between the Spanish and Native Americans.
- Captives who escaped but had changed greatly due to their experiences, with some deciding to stay with their captors and adjust to their new lives.
- Santa Fe being a lively city where people from all around came to trade, as it was the only city for hundred of miles in every directions.
- The Camino Real, the wagon trial that connected Santa Fe with cities and town farther south, and how dangerous it was to travel to and form Mexico City.
- The Santa Fe Trail, a trail between Santa Fe and Missouri that opened in 1821 and drew in American traders to New Mexico.
- Pg. 34: [Josefina] looks up, and I see that her beautiful dark eyes are brimming with tears. "Mamá died almost two years ago." Maria Montoya passed away in 1823.
- Pg. 60: "Mamá always loved autumn," Josefina says, her hands working quickly.
- Pg. 181: "Audrey, it's Birdy," I say.
- Pg. 181: There she is. Audrey Capella.