My calendar said today is World Read Aloud Day.
As you can see, it’s wrong.
This took place on February 24th. Not sure how I messed this up, but really, can’t any day be a good day to read aloud? If you know a middle grader who is unable to read, even if only for today, The Island of Beyond is a good book to read to him or her. Read it together.
Now I know my calendar says it is 2016, but I also missed Dr. Seuss’s birthday on March 2nd — “HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DR. SEUSS!” which was also Read Across America Day. There are still activities going on through March 12th, possibly where you live (not where I live).
Yesterday, Friday March 4th, is National Grammar Day. By giving every review too days as the top post, I missed this, to. Their are so many days two remember.
I changed the dates, so next year, I’ll get these on the correct date. Today, I have one of those magnificent middle grade novels. It is called The Island of Beyond, it will be released on April 1st (no fooling). I think you can pre-order this gem, if you are so inclined.
The Island of Beyond
Written by Elizabeth Atkinson
Carolrhoda Books 4/01/2016
292 pages Ages 8—12
KLR Best Book 2016
“Eleven-year-old Martin can hardly imagine a worse summer. His dad is sending him to his great-aunt Lenore, who lives on a tiny island called Beyond. Martin’s dad wants him to like “normal” boy things—playing sports and exploring the outdoors. Martin’s afraid he’ll never be the son his dad wants him to be. Being stuck in the middle of nowhere won’t change that.
“But nothing about Beyond is what Martin expects. Not peculiar Aunt Lenore, not mysterious Uncle Ned—and certainly not the strange local boy who unexpectedly befriends Martin. Solo can canoe and climb trees and survive on his own in the wilderness, and Martin’s drawn to him in a way he doesn’t quite understand. But he’s not sure he can trust Solo. In fact, can he trust anything about this strange island, where everyone seems to be keeping secrets?” [inside jacket]
Martin is an introverted, intelligent, socially inept kid who prefers to live a quiet, rather secluded life. He is not the strong, sports-minded, outdoor loving young man his father claims to have been at Martin’s age. Dad unilaterally decides Martin will spend a month of his summer vacation with his Great Aunt Lenore on the Island Beyond, in the middle of Lake Nowhere—which is exactly what the island feels like: nowhere.
Why the seemingly sudden interest in sending Martin to his old childhood summer home? Mom is not for the idea, Martin does not want to go, and Aunt Lenore has no idea who Jonathan and Martin are, let alone wanting them to entering her home. The majestic home and the impeccable Aunt Lenore of Jonathan’s childhood no longer exist. The house is in disrepair and the island and surrounding community is nearly vacant. Martin would have no playmates, no television to watch, nor the Internet with which to play his games. Even the landline telephone tends to breakdown. Nothing on the Island Beyond seems suitable for a young boy, yet Jonathan insists he son spend four long weeks there. Something smells rotten, and readers will instantly find the smell attaches to Jonathan.
The Island of Beyond is filled with boyhood dreams, mysterious characters, unusual alliances, and enough twists to keep even the fussiest readers glued to the pages. Martin is a sympathetic character. Kids will enjoy Martin as he forms relationships to previously unknown family members and mysterious strangers. The most mysterious is Solo, the younger boy who pops on and off the island. Martin finds himself drawn to Solo, wanting to learn the many things Solo seems to know. They form an unlikely friendship, but is the friendship one formed on Solo’s tall tales? Kids will enjoy trying to figure out Solo.
The interesting twists—one of many—occurs once Martin resigns to life on the island. He likes his distant relatives, especially his Great Aunt Lenore. In the end, Martin unknowingly accomplishes just what his father hoped would happen. The Island of Beyond is well-written. Atkinson knows how to draw readers into the story and keep them hooked. The world of Beyond is well thought out and easy to picture. I believe The Island of Beyond is a stand-alone novel.
If you like a good mystery, an outdoor adventure with strange, yet likable characters, and a little shady underhandedness, The Island of Beyond will entertain you to the very last word. This wonderful story about friendship and family is one of the best middle grade novels this year. The ending wraps the story up in an unexpected, yet very satisfying big, bright bow. If you read only one middle grade novel this year, make it The Island of Beyond.
THE ISLAND OF BEYOND. Text copyright © 2016 by Elizabeth Atkinson. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Carolrhoda Books, New York, NY.
Find The Island of Beyond on Goodreads HERE.
. . Carolrhoda Books is an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group.
Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
Full Disclosure: The Island of Beyond by Elizabeth Atkinson, and received from Carolrhoda Books, (an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group), is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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