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Orphan Island
Cover of Orphan Island
Orphan Island
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A National Book Award Longlist title! "A wondrous book, wise and wild and deeply true." —Kelly Barnhill, Newbery Medal-winning author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon"This is one of those books...
A National Book Award Longlist title! "A wondrous book, wise and wild and deeply true." —Kelly Barnhill, Newbery Medal-winning author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon"This is one of those books...
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  • A National Book Award Longlist title!

    "A wondrous book, wise and wild and deeply true." —Kelly Barnhill, Newbery Medal-winning author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon

    "This is one of those books that haunts you long after you read it. Thought-provoking and magical." —Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series

    In the tradition of modern-day classics like Sara Pennypacker's Pax and Lois Lowry's The Giver comes a deep, compelling, heartbreaking, and completely one-of-a-kind novel about nine children who live on a mysterious island.

    On the island, everything is perfect. The sun rises in a sky filled with dancing shapes; the wind, water, and trees shelter and protect those who live there; when the nine children go to sleep in their cabins, it is with full stomachs and joy in their hearts.

    And only one thing ever changes: on that day, each year, when a boat appears from the mist upon the ocean carrying one young child to join them—and taking the eldest one away, never to be seen again.

    Today's Changing is no different. The boat arrives, taking away Jinny's best friend, Deen, replacing him with a new little girl named Ess, and leaving Jinny as the new Elder. Jinny knows her responsibility now—to teach Ess everything she needs to know about the island, to keep things as they've always been.

    But will she be ready for the inevitable day when the boat will come back—and take her away forever from the only home she's known?

    "A unique and compelling story about nine children who live with no adults on a mysterious island. Anyone who has ever been scared of leaving their family will love this book" (from the Brightly.com review, which named Orphan Island a best book of 2017).

 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • Laurel Snyder is a poet and author of picture books and novels for children, including Orphan Island, Bigger than a Bread Box, Seven Stories Up, and the Charlie and Mouse series. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and teaches in the creative writing programs at Hamline and Emory Universities. Laurel lives in Atlanta with her family, and can be found online at www.laurelsnyder.com.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 20, 2017
    Jinny is the oldest of nine orphans living on an idyllic island. New children are delivered to the island by a mysterious boat, and whenever one arrives, the eldest on the island takes the arrival’s place aboard the vessel to leave the only home he or she has ever known, with no knowledge of what the future holds. It’s Jinny’s responsibility, as the elder, to care for the newly arrived Ess, despite the fact that Jinny is heartbroken over losing the previous elder, Deen, her best friend. As Jinny teaches Ess to contribute and uphold the cryptic rules that promise chaos if broken, she begins to question the unexplained dictates, opting to take charge of her actions and destiny. Through the precocious Jinny, Snyder (Seven Stories Up) delivers a contemplative commentary on the transition from childhood to adolescence, and from ignorance to awareness. Although the children’s ages are unspecified, the eldest islander is on the cusp of adolescence, beginning to yearn for more than the small island can provide, even while dreading to leave the comfort and stability it provides. The dissonance Jinny feels is universal, and Snyder’s skillful storytelling and lyrical writing heighten its impact. Ages 8–12. Agent: Tina Wexler, ICM.

  • Kirkus

    March 1, 2017
    When the bell rings and the green boat emerges from the mist, gliding up into the cove, Jinny knows that it is time: time for her beloved Deen to leave and for a new child to take his place.Now Jinny will become the Elder, and the balance of life on the island will be maintained. The ragtag bunch of nine orphans--each one "boat" (year) apart in age--are the sole human residents of a benevolent wilderness, busy chasing wild kittens and harvesting honey from docile bees, reading from a stockpile of tattered books, and inducting each new arrival into their ways. Once someone broke the rule about never picking the last of anything, but having experienced the consequences (no more curlyferns!), they are careful now to behave. That is, until Jinny--spirited, curious, and defiant--decides to break the most sacred rule of the island, throwing their universe frighteningly out of whack. The children's hair (black, red, blond) and eyes (blue, brown) are described, and Jinny remarks on the dark skin of two of her fellow orphans; the cover art shows a girl with dark brown skin. Despite the idyllic setting, one where children can safely fling themselves off cliffs and surf air currents, the story is suffused with melancholy and the haunting absence of parents and former residents. The mystery of the children's origins and the source of their stockpile of supplies are never resolved, perhaps indicating a sequel to come. This charming, engrossing tale set in a vividly realized world is expertly paced and will appeal to fans of wilderness adventure stories and character-driven relationship novels alike. (Fiction. 9-13)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    April 1, 2017
    Gr 3-6-The sound of the bell that signals the boat's arrival fills Jinny with dread. The boat comes yearly, bringing the new youngest child to the island and taking away the oldest, thus preserving the island's status quo. -Nine on an island, orphans all, any more the sky might fall.- This particular bell means the departure of Jinny's best friend, Deen, making Jinny the unwilling new Elder and the newest arrival her responsibility. The island has everything the children need: plentiful fish, nuts, berries, and beehives for honey. There are cabins for sleeping, a supply of clothing, and worn books to read. Even the animals are friendly. Everything is idyllic as long as the rules are followed. When Jinny blatantly breaches a cardinal rule, the island's natural order is upset and everything begins to change. The children's once benevolent home ceases to provide for them and protect them. Jinny knows she is to blame and does the only thing she can think of to fix their broken world. The premise is intriguing, the writing is strong, and the tight pacing will keep readers fully engaged. For those looking for satisfying answers, however, no explanation is ever given for the adultless island, where the boats come from, or what force holds the island together. Why were the children sent to the island in the first place? Where do they go when they leave? For the philosophically inclined, the unanswered questions offer much to ponder and discuss. For more literal-minded young readers, the story is apt to feel unfinished. Here's hoping a sequel is in the works. VERDICT A good purchase for readers who are interested in dystopian landscapes but aren't ready for the heavier and more violent themes often found in the genre.-Kelly Roth, Bartow County Public Library, Cartersville, GA

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publishers Weekly (starred review) ★ "Through the precocious Jinny, Snyder delivers a contemplative commentary on the transition from childhood to adolescence, and from ignorance to awareness."
  • Kelly Barnhill, Newbery Medal-winning author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon "Laurel Snyder has written a story that curls around the heart and pulls in tight—a meditation on the power and wisdom and closeness and sorrow of childhood. A wondrous book, wise and wild and deeply true. I loved every second of it."
  • Claire Legrand, author of Some Kind of Happiness "An elegant and thoughtful meditation on the joys and sorrows of growing up, with lyrical prose, characters that feel as alive as your dearest friends, and a vivid setting sure to enchant young readers. A work of extraordinary heart."
  • Anne Ursu, author of The Real Boy "A visionary, poignant, astonishingly lovely fable of childhood and change. This is a book to lose yourself in, and to never forget."
  • Jonathan Auxier, New York Times bestselling author of The Night Gardener "Orphan Island is a masterpiece—both timeless and immediate. Snyder's book, like the island within it, contains all of the joys, wonders, and terrors of childhood. Every young reader needs this book; every grown reader needs it even more."
  • Kirkus Reviews This charming, engrossing tale set in a vividly realized world is expertly paced and will appeal to fans of wilderness adventure stories and character-driven relationship novels alike.

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