Welcome to the World, Orphan Island

orphan island cover.jpg

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.

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May 19: The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia

May 20: Book Monsters

May 21: Maria’s Melange

May 22: Read, Write Reflect & Walden Media Tumblr

May 23: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

May 24: Nerdy Book Club

May 25: A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust

May 26: Kirby Larson

62 thoughts on “Welcome to the World, Orphan Island

  1. Ever since seeing ARCs of this book floating around on Twitter, I’ve been aching to read it. The cover art, the reviews, the storyline…May 30th can’t get here soon enough! Thanks for the chance to win.
    Katiereilley@hotmail.com

  2. This is a book I’ve been wanting to read since first hearing about it. I think it would be a wonderful read aloud for next year.

  3. Agghhhhhh!!! As if I wasn’t already excited enough for this book!! Your review has made me even more excited for its release! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this one!!

  4. Sounds like an amazing book. I teach dear seventh graders like you do and have always appreciated your recommendations. They’re always winners with my students. I imagine this one will be too! 🙂

  5. I can’t wait to read this aloud to my students and my kids. I have a hard time getting my eight-year-old to enjoys books. This sounds like one he will enjoy. Thanks for the chance to win it. mvmkeis@gmail.com

  6. I love starting my day by reading your posts! I am looking forward to yet another wonderful book suggestion from you! Thanks!

  7. I went to Goodreads to add Orphan Island to my growing list, and there is was! Thank you for sharing SO many book titles. As a 6th grade teacher, I have many recommendations from you. Grateful

  8. I have been ANXIOUSLY awaiting this book!!! I have seen reviews and keep hoping that it’s finally on the shelves. So when I saw your post I thought, finally!! But no, a couple more weeks. I believe that this one will definitely be a read aloud for many of my students to come. I am a K-5 librarian and I am always looking for great reads. I love your blog too. Thanks for sharing!

  9. I absolutely loved this book. Read an ARC a few months ago and it is one that has stuck with my heart. The feeling of what Laurel was saying to parents, to moms, about doing your best and persevering through the hard stuff with your “care” and about the village it takes to raise a “care.” It was certainly a read I needed as I struggle with my teenagers right now.

  10. I am a Speech/Language Pathologist at Middle School level and therefore get involved with my students as they encounter classroom novels. One of my all-time favorites has always been “Hatchet” by Gary Paulsen. That survivor theme is particularly intriguing to me. So, this book, Orphan Island, has piqued my interest quite a bit. I look forward to reading it.

    I enjoy your posts. Thank you for doing it so regularly.

  11. This is definitely my kind of book! I’m so looking forward to reading it. I absolutely loved her PB, Swan too :).

  12. I love your recommendations and will certainly add this to my list of books to be read. There is nothing better than being transported by a book.

  13. I love to read middle grade novels just for me. They are some of the best stories I’ve ever read. I am also an avid reader, and love the diversity and creativity these books offer. So many stories address such important issues.

  14. Our local reading council just had a presentation on the best books and this was highlighted. I made special note of it to read this summer. Like you, when I’m not reading professional books, most of my reading falls in the young adult novels category. This post just moved it on up to the top of my list.

  15. I have been following your blogs for a few months now and I LOVE when I see there is a new one for me to read and reflect. If you can perhaps visualize this picture of me eating my lunch during my 20 minutes going down to 10 minutes and reading your blog at the same time. Along with that, I’m thinking, “What are we having for dinner tonight?” In the meantime my colleague comes in and asks about our upcoming field trip. All the while, I’m still reading the blog thinking, “I need to get this book.” HEY…..maybe our new “Book Room” has it here right at my fingertips. I have no time to look. Meanwhile I get to the end of the blog seeing that a free book is being offered. Now that would be a summer treat. Thanks for being you and inspiring us teachers out there who still multitask during lunch period. P.S. I teach second grade and we are putting on a Shakespeare play, “Twelfth Night for Kids.” How’s that for words?!

  16. I have fallen in love with so many of your book choices. I have rejoiced when you found one of the books that I treasure from my shelf. Orphan Island sounds like a perfect fit. Thank you for sharing so many of your thoughts! I always wish we lived closer so that we could be real life friends.
    jdwyer@ncolonie.org

  17. My students and I love the books that you and your students have recommended. Thanks so much for sharing! I would love to share this book with my students.

  18. Thanks for sharing your frustrations with finding something worth reading. I also feel like the stories sometimes become a blur. I look forward to reading Orphan Island and hearing you speak at our the EWITC summer tech academy at St Norbert College in August!

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