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Mock Newbery 2018 - Orphan Island

by Mary R. Voors | Dec 28, 2017
Cover photo of Orphan Island

Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder
Walden Pond Press, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2017
269 pages

Imagine. An island with only 9 people on it, all kids. Enough food, shelter, and clothing is available for all. And each year, a boat arrives with a new child and the oldest child on the island is taken away. Why? Well, because, as the rhyme they all know says “Nine on an island, orphans all, / Any more, the sky might fall.”

Fascinating premise, yes?

But how did this island come to be? And where do the children come from? And where do they go to? And what’s up with the strange fog that surrounds the island? And what would happen if the rhyme was questioned? What if one year, the oldest child refuses to be taken away?

The story opens with the arrival through a heavy mist of the green boat. Everyone knows the boat will contain a child and will take away Deen, the oldest of the current island inhabitants. This will leave Jinny, as the new oldest, the responsibility of teaching Ess, her new Care, everything she needs to know about the island… like how to swim, how to read, and how to eat. The characters—including the character of the island itself – are well-developed and grow throughout the story lending credibility to the plot even while (often unanswered) questions are raised.

This is a book that would be even more fun to read if someone you know has also read it because it elicits so many questions which you NEED to discuss with someone. Go grab this book. And then grab another copy for a friend to read.

I can't wait to talk about this book at our Mock Newbery discussion which will be held on February 3rd, 2018 at the Main Library in downtown Fort Wayne, IN. Or add your comments below!  We'd love to know what YOU thought of this title.

Each week, beginning the first week of November 2017 through the last week of January 2018, we will be discussing one (or more) of the titles on our 2018 Mock Newbery list. (The complete list of titles we'll be discussing can be found here.)

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