Sunday, February 6, 2011


Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm
Lexile:    610
Pages:    191  
Ages:      9 - 12

The year is 1935.  Turtle is a young girl living in New Jersey with her mother, a housekeeper for those fortunate enough to have kept their fortunes through the Great Depression.  Her mother, Sadie, moves from job to job, working for room and board for herself and Turtle, plus a small salary, until she is hired by Mrs. Budnick who, when she finds out Sadie has a daughter says, "You didn't tell me you had a child.  No children allowed."  Sadie needs the job badly so she sends Turtle to her sister Minnie, who lives in the Florida Keys.

Turtle's arrival is met with surprise - she has beaten the letter to her destination explaining her arrival.  Aunt Minnie takes Turtle in and Turtle has to learn to fit in with her cousins - Beans, Kermit and Buddy - along with their friends Porkchop, Too Bad, and Ira.  Almost everyone has a strange nickname here!

Turtle also discovers a grandmother she thought was dead - Nana Philly. Nana Philly has had a stroke and someone has to take her lunch every day, a job that eventually falls to Turtle.  During these lunches, a grudging relationship develops.  One day while at Nana Philly's, Turtle discovers a treasure map in an old piano.  Is it real?  Who can she ask?

Turtle in Paradise is a 2011 Newbery Honor Book based on stories from the author's family, whose great-grandmother emigrated to Key West from the Bahamas in 1897.  The characters are based on real people who did what they had to do to survive in the hard economy of the Great Depression and who knew the meaning of sticking together through thick and thin.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I think you will too.

Peace, Love, and Reading,
Miss Laurie

Come to the library and check out a copy of  Turtle in Paradise today or reserve a copy with your library card number and PIN here for pick-up at your favorite branch of the Lake County Public Library.

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