Destination: Books!

Summer is the perfect time of year to get out and see the world.  Here are some destinations you can visit inside the pages of these books:

FLORIDA

Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm

Description from Indiebound: Life isn’t like the movies and 11-year-old Turtle is no Shirley Temple. She’s smart and tough and has seen enough of the world not to expect a Hollywood ending. Afterall, it’s 1935 and money and sometimes even dreams are a scarce. So when Turtle’s Mother gets a job housekeeping for a lady who doesn’t like kids, Turtle says goodbye and heads off to Florida to live with relatives. Florida’s like nothing Turtle’s ever seen before though. It’s full of rag tag boy cousins, family secrets to unravel . . . and even a little bit of fun. Before she knows what’s happened, Turtle finds herself coming out of her shell and as she does, her world opens up in the most unexpected ways. Inspired by family stories, two-time Newbery Honor winner Jennifer L. Holm blends family lore with America’s past, in this charming, gem of a novel rich in history, humor and the unique flavors of Key West.

The Postcard by Tony Abbott

Description from Amazon: When Jason’s grandmother dies, he’s sent down to her home in Florida to help his father clean out her things. At first he gripes about spending his summer miles away from his best friend, doing chores, and sweating in the Florida heat, but he soon discovers a mystery surrounding his grandmother’s murky past.

An old, yellowed postcard…a creepy phone call with a raspy voice at the other end asking, “So how smart are you?”…an entourage of freakish funeral goers….a bizarre magazine story. All contain clues that will send him on a thrilling journey to uncover family secrets.

MEXICO

What the Moon Saw by Laura Resau

Description from Indiebound: Clara Luna’s name means “clear moon” in Spanish. But lately, her head
has felt anything but clear. One day a letter comes from Mexico, written in Spanish: Dear Clara, We invite you to our house for the summer. We will wait for you on the day of the full moon, in June, at the Oaxaca airport. Love, your grandparents.

Fourteen-year-old Clara has never met her father’s parents. She knows he snuck over the border from Mexico as a teenager, but beyond that, she knows almost nothing about his childhood. When she agrees to go, she’s stunned by her grandparents’ life: they live in simple shacks in the mountains of southern Mexico, where most people speak not only Spanish, but an indigenous language, Mixteco.

The village of Yucuyoo holds other surprises, too– like the spirit waterfall, which is heard but never seen. And Pedro, an intriguing young goatherder who wants to help Clara find the waterfall. Hearing her grandmother’s adventurous tales of growing up as a healer awakens Clara to the magic in Yucuyoo, and in her own soul. What The Moon Saw is an enchanting story of discovering your true self in the most unexpected place.

Jungle Crossing by Sydney Salter

Description from Indiebound: On a summer vaction to Mexico, popularity-obsessed Kat ends up on a teen adventure tour where she meets Nando, a young Mayan guide (who happens to be quite a cutie). As they travel to different Mayan ruins each day, Nando tells Kat his original legend of Muluc, a girl who lived in the time of the ancient Maya. The dangerous, dramatic world in which Muluc lived is as full of rivalry, betrayal, and sacrifice as Kat’s world at middle school. And as she makes new friends and discovers treasures in Mexico, Kat begins to question her values and those of her friends back at home.

CANADA

Archipelago by David Ward

Description from Amazon: Twelve-year-old Jonah and his mother, a well-known photographer, are on a self-healing mission, exploring the natural beauty of the Queen Charlotte Islands. They are each trying in their own way to get over the tragic loss of father and husband whodied in a rock climbing accident months before.

One day, a mysterious girl appears wading in the waters near their floathouse, and an even more mysterious mist saves Jonah from his own plunge off a clifftop, Jonah is plunged into a time travel adventure that takes him back 14,000 years when the Charlottes were one of the stops for the ancient peoples making their way from Asia over the Bering Strait and down through the Americas. It is a time when the seas were much lower than they are in the 21st century because of the proliferation of ice and the different climate – and so the map of the islands had changed significantly. For Jonah this is a healing quest, teaming with Akilah, the girl from that other time who teaches him survival skills he has never dreamed of. There is menace in the confrontation with the Crossers – more recent arrivals from the Bering Strait – and from all manner of natural hazards. The burgeoning friendship with Akilah arouses all Jonah’s generous instincts and yearning for love. Above all, he discovers personal strengths that help him get past the loss of his father, qualities and realizations that he brings back to his mother when the adventure is complete.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Description from Indiebound: Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert had decided to adopt an orphan. They wanted a nice sturdy boy to help Matthew with the farm chores.  The orphanage sent a girl instead – a mischievous, talkative redhead who the Cuthberts thought would be no use at all.  But as soon as Anne arrived at the snug, white farmhouse called Green Gables, she knew she wanted to stay forever.  And the longer Anne stayed, the harder it was for anyone to imagine Green Gables without her.

ENGLAND

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Description from Indiebound:  When orphaned Mary Lennox comes to live at her uncle’s great house on the Yorkshire Moors, she finds it full of mysterious secrets. There are nearly one hundred rooms, most of which are locked, and the house is filled with creepy old portraits and suits of armor. Mary rarely sees her uncle, and perhaps most unsettling of all is that at night she hears the sound of someone crying down one of the long corridors.

The gardens surrounding the odd property are Mary’s escape and she explores every inch of them—all except for the mysterious walled-in, locked garden. Then one day, Mary discovers a key. Could it open the door to the garden?

Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper

Description from Indiebound: On holiday in Cornwall, the three Drew children discover an ancient map in the attic of the house that they are staying in. They know immediately that it is special. It is even more than that — the key to finding a grail, a source of power to fight the forces of evil known as the Dark. And in searching for it themselves, the Drews put their very lives in peril.

This is the first volume of Susan Cooper’s brillian and absorbing fantasy sequence known as The Dark is Rising.

INDIA

Boys without Names By Kashmira Sheth

Description from Indiebound:  For eleven-year-old Gopal and his family, life in their rural Indian village is over: We stay, we starve, his baba has warned. They flee to the big city of Mumbai in hopes of finding work and a brighter future. Gopal is eager to help support his struggling family, so when a stranger approaches him with the promise of a factory job, he jumps at the offer.

But there is no factory, just a stuffy sweatshop where he and five other boys are forced to work for no money and little food. The boys are forbidden to talk or even to call one another by their real names. Locked away in a rundown building, Gopal despairs of ever seeing his family again.

But late one night, when Gopal decides to share kahanis, or stories, he realizes that storytelling might be the boys’ key to survival. If he can make them feel more like brothers than enemies, their lives will be more bearable in the shop—and they might even find a way to escape.

Saraswati’s Way by Monika Schroder

Description from Indiebound: If the gods wanted Akash to have an education, he is told, they would give him one. But Akash has spent his entire twelve years poor and hungry. So he decides to take control of his own life and try for a scholarship to the city school where he can pursue his beloved math.  But will challenging destiny prove to be more than he has bargained for? In this raw and powerful novel, fate and self-determination come together in unexpected ways, offering an unsentimental look at the realities of India.

GERMANY

Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kastner

Description from Amazon:  Originally published in 1929, Erich Kastner’s engaging tale has delighted readers young and old, for generations. It’s Emil’s first train ride alone and he’s excited, and a little nervous.On the train, his fellow passengers are impressed with how polite and grown-up Emil is, and the man in the bowler hat offers him some chocolate—but Emil keeps checking his coat pocket, where he’s pinned the money that he is taking to his grandmother. Soon, though, Emil finds himself getting sleepy . . . and the next thing he knows, the man in the bowler hat is gone— and so is the money! With the help of some new friends Emil becomes a detective and tracks the thief through the city. With its enduring themes of leadership, courage, and teamwork, there are many lessons to be learned by the grownups and the children, alike, and the delightful illustrations by Walter Trier make this rollicking, heartwarming tale come alive.

Second Fiddle by Rosanne Parry

Description from Indiebound: When 13-year-old Jody and her friends save a badly beaten Russian soldier from drowning, they put into motion a chain of events that will take them from Berlin to Paris and straight into danger. Jody must quickly learn to trust herself, because in the time directly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the border between friend and enemy is not as clear as it once was.

Award-winning author of Heart of a Shepherd Rosanne Parry offers a fast-paced, coming-of-age story filled with adventure, music, friendship, and intrigue.

OCEAN VOYAGES

The Voyage of Patience Goodspeed by Heather Vogel Frederick

Description from Indiebound:  October 1835. Patience Goodspeed, almost thirteen years old, departs from Nantucket aboard her father’s whaling ship. Between kitchen duty and whale blubber stench, this voyage is far from a pleasure cruise. At least Papa lets Patience assist the ship’s navigator since she’s so good at calculations.

But the smooth sailing doesn’t last long. Mutinous mates maroon most of the crew, including Patience’s father and brother, on a deserted island. Can Patience rescue everyone before it’s too late?

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Description from Amazon: The discovery of a treasure map sets young Jim Hawkins in search of buried gold, along with a crew of buccaneers recruited by the one-legged Long John Silver. As they near their destination, and the lure of Captain Flint’s treasure grows ever stronger, Jim’s courage and wits are tested to the full.

With a wonderfully funny introduction by award-winning Eoin Colfer.

FANTASTICAL DESTINATIONS

Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains by Laurel Snyder

Description from Indiebound: THIS IS THE tale of Lucy and her best friend, Wynston. Until recently, they spent their days paddling in the river, picking blackberries, and teasing each other mercilessly. But now, King Desmond has insisted that Wynston devote every spare second to ruby-shining and princess-finding. Lucy feels left out. So she sets off for the Scratchy Mountains to solve the mystery of her missing mother. When Wynston discovers that Lucy is gone, he tears after her, and together they embark on a series of strange and wonderful adventures.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

Description from Indiebound: This ingenious fantasy centers around Milo, a bored ten-year-old who comes home to find a large toy tollbooth sitting in his room. Joining forces with a watchdog named Tock, Milo drives through the tollbooth’s gates and begins a memorable journey. He meets such characters as the foolish, yet lovable Humbug, the Mathemagician, and the not-so-wicked “Which,” Faintly Macabre, who gives Milo the “impossible” mission of returning two princesses to the Kingdom of Wisdom.

One Response to Destination: Books!

  1. The 39 Clues are great books for learning just a tad about different places and historical themes. For those of us wary of how certain books and multi-media conglomerates (which shall remain unnamed) tend to treat history, no worries! What’s presented is accurate, albeit not terribly detailed — so that when the twins’ “treasure hunt” takes them to Philadelphia, they learn about Ben Franklin – and follow him & the clues to France, thus learning about his time as our Ambassador there. In Russia, they learn about the Tsars, the revolution, about Anastasia possibly escaping the massacre; in Japan, they learn about the culture of the Samurai; in Austria, they learn about Mozart. There’s enough fact to make it a great introduction, but not so much that it’s a bonafide history lesson. In fact, it’s a great teaser to get the kids interested in research juuust a little bit more about [insert attention grabber here].

    Each book is written by a different author, but all follow the same story: an orphaned brother and sister set off on a treasure hunt, pitted against other family members – some bumbling, some downright evil. They are accompanied only by their au pair (who is uber cool) and have to rely on their very different skill sets-and each other. Along the way, they learn more about their family, its history, and even how their parents died.

    It’s suspenseful without being scary, full of history without being work, and a fabulous “together read” because it keeps adults interested, as well. We started when my (avid & advanced) reader was 8 – some words were challenging, and that made it perfect. Just tough enough. HIGHLY recommend it!

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