Being a reader means, naturally, that I read many books. Being a teacher of 7th graders means that I mostly read children and young adult books. Being me means that I love every minute I get to spend reading, discovering stories, creating new relationships, and yes, also dreading that very last page. Yet, one of the downfalls of reading a lot of books is that sometimes books end up flowing together, of feeling old before I have even finished reading them. It seems that the more I read, the harder it is sometimes to find a new book to fall in love with. These past few months I have gone out in and out of reading slumps, blame it on the book I am writing (now in production, hallelujah), the tougher year of professional growth, being tired and sick more, my kids staying up later, or even just discovering Tiny House Hunters (400 square feet – that sounds amazing). Whatever the cause; my reading has suffered. I have started many books but finished fewer than normal. I had gotten lost as a reader a bit, but then some hurried packing led me back to my essence.
On a plane headed toward Canada, I cracked open the first page of Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder and immediately fell into its pages. I adore Laurel’s other books and so when Orphan Island had been on my dresser it was an easy book to pack. On that airplane, I was transported to a little island, in the middle of nowhere, waiting there on the shore…
What was this world that Laurel Snyder had created where children just showed up on an island, seemingly from nowhere, and only had each other to rely on for survival? Who sends the boat? Who was there first? And what would I do if I found myself one day on an island surrounded by eight other children? It reminded me of one of my favorite children’s books, and the very first Global Read Aloud book; The Little Prince, which come to find out is partly what inspired this book. Strange…
Yet, what keeps me thinking about Orphan Island is not just the story, although that has stuck with me or a long time, but more the language. The feel of the book. The yearning, even when one doesn’t quite know what to yearn for. I shared that same feeling as a child and so reading about Jinny and how she starts to question her very existence led me back to my own childhood and right up unto today where I still question what our role is here.
I picked up Orphan Island hoping for a great read, perhaps a five-star book, but I continued to read Orphan Island because my heart yearned for its story. It has stuck with me for the last month and although the book finally comes out May 30th, I am already thinking of when I can re-read it. Surely there is more to connect with the second time around. So if you love middle-grade novels. If you need a read that connects with your heart. If you need to be transported, I recommend Orphan Island, the very first contender for Global Read Aloud 2018.
To win a copy of the book, please leave a comment on this blog post. Make sure you enter your email on the comment form so I can contact you in case you win.
May 19: The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
May 20: Book Monsters
May 21: Maria’s Melange
May 24: Nerdy Book Club
May 26: Kirby Larson