Frank is out of the picture for much of the book, causing Axel to wonder if it’s because his father doesn’t like him. It is said that Frank was always a good father to Axel, but after multiple tragedies struck the family, Frank took to heavy drinking to try to numb the pain. When Frank returns later in the book, he genuinely tries to reconnect with Axel, and he makes it clear that he loves his son and regrets his past mistakes.
Byrd does her best to raise Axel. However, Axel is often frustrated with her because he believes that she does not trust him. In part, this is true: Axel is on the autism spectrum, and Byrd isn’t always sure what things he can handle on his own. Because of this, the two occasionally have light arguments regarding trust—though it is clear that they love each other.
Axel has other adults who serve as positive role models for him to follow. His neighbors, George and Emmett, are like family to him. The school guidance counselor, Ms. Dale, helps Axel to untangle his jumbled feelings and put them into words. There’s also Dr. Martin, who also has autism, and she frequently reassures Axel in his moments of uncertainty, always pointing him back to hope.
A large part of A Bird Will Soar is based around secrets and mystery—two things that Axel does not like. Many of these secrets are because Axel’s authority figures have chosen to keep them from him to protect him, much to his irritation. Axel and his various guardians learn over time to not keep secrets from one another, and they grow closer as a family unit as a result.