turtle in paradise

Summer Reading: If You Liked Anne of Green Gables

Home in these books takes many forms, but it’s always the place where you just belong.

Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson

When 16-year-old Hattie inherits her uncle’s Minnesota homestead claim, she sets off to build a home for herself in pioneer country. (Middle grades)

When Mischief Came to Town by Katrina Nannestad

When orphaned Inge Marie comes to live with her grandmother in a little island village, she’s not sure what to expect—but what she finds is just what she needed. (Elementary)

Bright Island by Mabel Louise Robinson

Island-reared Thankful wants to be a sea captain like her grandfather, but her parents send her to boarding school on the mainland. (High School)

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

Sam runs away from his crowded New York City apartment to live—alone—in the Catskill Mountains. (Middle grades)

Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm 

Sent to live with relatives in Key West during the Great Depression, 11-year-old Turtle finally starts to come out of her shell. (Middle grades)

The House at World's End by Monica Dickens

Four siblings create a home of their own in a rundown old inn when they’re sent to live with their wealthy-but-unpleasant relatives while their mother is recovering in the hospital. (Middle Grades)

Readaloud of the Week: Turtle in Paradise

Turtle in Paradise
By Jennifer L. Holm

In brief: In this quintessential summer story, 11-year-old Turtle goes to live with her aunt in Key West, Fla., when her mom’s new housekeeping job proves kid-unfriendly. (In the middle of the Great Depression, you have to take the jobs you can get, but Turtle’s mom hasn’t always made the best life choices.) As Turtle explores her new community and makes friends with her wild cousins, who call themselves the Diaper Gang, she discovers the joys of family and of standing up for what you really want.


What makes it a great readaloud: Holmes really captures both the beauty and the hardship of life in 1930s Florida—this book is a great jumping-off point for reading more about the Great Depression. Turtle is a tough, likable protagonist, and her cousins’ antics are pretty hilarious. (Bonus: Now you have a fun excuse to look up Shirley Temple and Little Orphan Annie on YouTube.)


But be aware: Kids may not love the ending, which definitely isn’t Hollywood-happy.


Quotable: “What is it with folks always talking about where they’re from? You could grow up in a muddy ditch, but if it’s your muddy ditch, then it’s gotta be the swellest muddy ditch ever.”