*Orphan Island* Blog Tour & Giveaway!

Orphan Island  by Laurel Snyder
Walden Pond Press, 2017
288 pages
Recommended for grades 4 -7

Description of the book from the publisher:

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?


This book. This book, this book, this book.
I'm struggling between saying enough, and not saying too much.
Here goes:

Reading this book transported me right back to my own childhood love of reading books about self-reliant children. I first loved exploring the woods with the Boxcar Children. I can still remember the items they found and brought back to their old boxcar.  Later, I lost myself in Homecoming. I still vividly remember the children scrimping to buy a loaf of bread and peanut butter to survive on. And somewhere in between those stories there were some children on a beach, there was seaweed collected, and there might have been a seal...but the title of that story has alluded my memory for years.

The connection between the stories is, like I said, self-reliant children. There is something fascinating and scary and amazing about children imagining how they would go about their lives without adults in control.

The pull to a book like this is strong. When I book-talked this to my fourth graders yesterday there were wide eyes and pleads to borrow it. I told them, soon. I needed to physically carry it around with me until I wrote this post. It's sitting next to me, a larger presence than its size would suggest. I keep glancing at it, but it won't give up its secrets. Even now, after I've loved it so truly. It's like that.

It's magical, it's mysterious, it's frustrating, it's painful. What. Is. Going. On?

Nine on the island, orphans all, 

Any more and the sky might fall.

The rhyme each child can recite hasn't had much tangible meaning, until Jinny defies expectation, and refuses to leave the island on someone else's terms. The changes begin in a subtle way, escalating to the height of near tragedy.


Laurel Snyder, thank you for writing this story. This story that I want to, need to, share with many, many people. However, if you vacation up to Maine this summer and we cross paths at the beach, the clam shack, or a starbucks, I will corner you and demand answers. Fair warning.

Don't believe me? See what they have to say!
May 15th Laura Given
May 16th Pernille Ripp & Writers Rumpus
May 17th Teach Mentor Texts
May 18th Novel Novice & Bluestocking Thinking
May 19th The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
May 20th Book Monsters
May 21st Maria's Melange
May 22nd Read, Write Reflect & Walden Media Tumblr
May 23rd Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
May 24th Nerdy Book Club
May 25th A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust
May 26th Kirby Larson

Praise for Orphan Island:
“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.”
                  Kelly Barnhill, Newbery Medal-winning author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon

“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.”
                                                                       Claire Legrand, author of Some Kind of Happiness

“A visionary, poignant, astonishingly lovely fable of childhood and change. This is a book to lose yourself in, and to never forget.”
                                                                                                  Anne Ursu, author of The Real Boy

“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.”
                             Jonathan Auxier, New York Times bestselling author of The Night Gardener
Contest closes 5/30/17, Orphan Island's "Book Birthday!"
Thanks for visiting!


  1. This book sounds fantastic! Reading your post made me think of my childhood when I'd play "pretend" with my brothers and friends. We'd always pretend to be grown-ups because, of course, as kids we were always wishing to be older. I can't wait to read this book!

  2. From my childhood cherished memories--summers in the UP of Michigan, no TV, no neighbors, just nature and family time, (and frogs!!).

  3. Wow, blown away by this. Thank you so much for hosting me!


  4. My childhood memory... our summer cottage rental in Maine. Nights spent with other children renting cottages, catching lightning bugs and playing flashlight tag.

  5. Moonlight Starlight, Kick the Can, Ghosts in the Graveyard, summer kickball games that never ended, even when the porch lights came on...all with the ragtag group of kids in my neighborhood (at times, 20 or more of us!).

    Summer's calling. Sigh.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts