This 2011 Newbery Honor book is written by Jennifer L. Holm, author of Penny from Heaven and Our Only May Amelia, two other Newbery Honor books from years past. I’ve read both of these other books (more on them in separate reviews to come), and they are both similar to this one: quick reads with interesting characters, generally meant for kids of the 8-12 range.
Turtle in Paradise is seen from the perspective of Turtle, an eleven-year-old girl growing up during the Great Depression. When her mother gets a job as a housekeeper for a woman who doesn’t like children, Turtle is sent to live with her relatives in Key West, Florida. For a book about the Depression, it’s a fairly light-hearted look at life in Florida (I live only about five hours north of Key West, so I can relate!) and enjoying life when times are tough financially (again, I can relate…). Turtle hangs out with her boy cousins as they take care of the local babies in exchange for candy, goes sponging to earn pocket money, helps care for a cantankerous old woman who hates kids, and even searches for buried treasure.
It’s a short book and a quick read, so there’s not much more to say. Take a look if you (or your kids) like historical fiction that’s not too heavy on the history.
Rating: Good but Forgettable