I spent some of my holiday in Key West.
Yet in a way I did!
This middle-grade Newbery honor book was just the ticket for delivering a sense of time and place.
1930's Key West was good ol' tropical living, albeit depression living. The town of Key West declared bankruptcy and almost the entire town of Key West was on federal assistance for a few years before the grand idea to market their location as a vacation paradise came to being. This slim novel takes us back to those long summer days of barefoot living, alligator pear sandwiches, nicknames, sponge fishing, treasure seeking, and 'little rascal'-like antics.
Turtle has never been to Key West, never lived with crazy boy cousins or lived without her mama. Yet depression days are hard and when her mama gets a new housekeeping job with a lady who doesn't like kids, Turtle leaves for Florida to live with family she has never met... for awhile.
Just like that the Key West sand works it's way into everything--Turtle realizes that she has become a part of the keys and the keys have become a part of her.
This little novel had delicious 'voice' and it would make a great read aloud to middle grade readers so they could hear what great voice 'sounds' like. (I can't wait to share ideas with my class...wait, what am I saying?!?! I am NOT ready to head back to work--yet!)
This book, by Jennifer L. Holm, ran below my radar until a friend recommended it over the Christmas break. Wow, am I glad he did. I got a beach vacation and I didn't even have to pack!!