Navigating Early

29 Jan

13642663Clare Vanderpool has an amazing quotation on the header of her website from Madeleine L’Engle, “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”  I think this is just what Vanderpool did in her newest novel, Navigating Early.  The story not only deals with loss, war, disability, and a host of other issues, but was so easy to connect with as a middle grade novel, these issues may have prevented it from working as well as an adult novel.

Navigating Early is a beautifully written novel for middle grade readers about a young boy who gets transplanted from land-locked Kansas to a boys’ boarding school in Maine after his mother’s death.  When he arrives he gets drawn in to Early’s story about the number Pi, timber rattlesnakes, and a great bear that supposedly roams around the Appalachian Trail.  When the boys find themselves alone one weekend, they go on adventure meeting pirates, buried secrets, and extraordinary encounters.

I loved this book even more than Vanderpool’s Newbery Award winning, Moon Over Manifest.  Although the setting was after World War II, the storytelling made it absolutely timeless and the characters were so easy to connect with.  Overall, the story is about friendship, finding yourself, and helping those people who are lost, find their way.  This book truly resonated with me and I’m looking forward to the Newbery Award next year, with some amazing books already being written in 2013.

Take a look at Clare Vanderpool’s website for more information about her and her novels!

Title: Navigating Early
Author: Clare Vanderpool
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 2013
Page Number: 320 pgs.

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