The Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm is a wonderful historical fiction novel set in Depression-era Key West. It is a great book to use in your classroom or homeschool for a whole class novel study, small book groups, or individual book studies.
This historical fiction published in 2010, will give students a taste of life during the Great Depression and the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935. Author, Jennifer L. Holm, writes in a humorous style that garnered this book both the Newbery Honor of 2011 and the Golden Kite Award.
From the Book Jacket:
Life is nothing like the movies. But then again, 11-year-old Turtle is no Shirley Temple. She’s smart and tough and has seen enough of the world not to expect a Hollywood ending. After all, it’s 1935 and jobs and money and sometimes even dreams are scarce. So when Turtle’s mama gets a job housekeeping for a lady who doesn’t like kids, Turtle says goodbye without a tear and heads off to Key West, Florida to live with relatives she’s never met. Florida’s like nothing Turtle’s ever seen before though. It’s hot and strange, full of ragtag boy cousins, family secrets, scams, and even buried pirate treasure! Before she knows what’s happened, Turtle finds herself coming out of the shell she’s spent her life building, and as she does, her world opens up in the most unexpected ways. Filled with adventure, humor, and heart, Turtle in Paradise is an instant classic both boys and girls will love.
I offer a complete novel study to accompany Turtle in Paradise for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.
Turtle is a relatable and funny protagonist that students will enjoy. Her journey of being disillusioned with being different from other kids and finding “her people” leads the reader through the adventures that 1930’s Key West had to offer. The scenery and adventures paint a picture of fun and paradise even as Turtle works through personal struggles that don’t feel so great. This journey is one that many kids can relate to or gain empathy from and apply to their own relationships.
Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!
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