Book Review, Middle Grade Fiction

Turtle Boy by M. Evan Wolkenstein

Turtle Boy is a carefully crafted, thoughtful story about finding out who you really are and being pushed to reach outside of yourself to find your potential.

Will finds life difficult. As he starts seventh grade, everything seems to pile up on him and nothing is going right – bullying, too many new situations, friends moving on and a frightening medical condition. The only place he finds peace is in his room with his pet turtles or out on the “Back 40” nature reserve behind school. The rest of the time, he just wants to hide inside his hoody and avoid being called “Turtle Boy”.

Then, as a part of his preparation for his Bar Mitzvah, Will meets RJ. As their friendship grows, their similarities and differences create a unique bond. Will learns some incredibly important lessons about himself and about life.

Turtle Boy is a story of inspiration and strength. The issues of life, death, fear and courage are dealt with head on. It is a book full of powerful feelings that reach off the page. Parents and teachers should be mindful of this when sharing this book with more vulnerable children. Through the story of Will and RJ, readers will come to realise that in helping another person, we gain much in return. Often, it is easy to become self-centred and focussed on our own needs. When we reach out, we understand more about other people and, in turn, more about ourselves.  Life is for living to the fullest. Something might be scary but if we take a chance, we may just find ourselves on the most incredible journey.

Thank you to Usborne Publishing and NetGalley for this thought-provoking book.

Click on the cover below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon.

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