BOOK NAME: Turtle in Paradise
AUTHOR: Jennifer L. Holm
Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm is like a ship that sways with the idea of fitting in, sails far with adventure, topples with betrayal, and regains position after coping with loss.
Turtle is an 11 year old girl who lives in New Jersey with her mother during the Great Depression. Due to her mom’s housekeeping job for a lady who dislikes kids, strong and tough Turtle has to move to Florida to live with her cousins in the Key West. It is hard for Turtle to get accustomed to living with her rowdy cousins. Soon, she realizes how everyone in Key West is related to her in some way. She feels better, but she dearly misses her mother. Turtle joins her cousins in the mischievous activities they do. Together, they find Pirate Black Caesar’s treasure and split it among themselves. But after a disturbing event in the family, Turtle understands what her true treasure is.
I would definitely recommend this 2011 Newbery Honor book for all ages. The book has a simple, interesting plot that brings out customs of the Key West. In the book, Turtle is constantly comparing her life with that of movie star Shirley Temple and Little Orphan Annie, a comic character, both popular in the 1930s. Just like a turtle, the character Turtle has a hard shell due to the tough circumstances she has faced, but she soon realizes that she too has a soft inner self. I really enjoyed reading about the kids’ adventures, especially the treasure hunt.