By Wendy Orr (1999)
A rich, modern, and now classic fable.
Nim’s Island takes us to the idyllic spot in the Pacific where a young girl, Nim, lives with her scientific father. They are self-sufficient in their paradise (they even have solar powered computer batteries) but we spend all our time with the winsome Nim and the denizens of her island.
Her friends are an iguana, a sea lion, a sea turtle, and a frigate bird, and Nim’s relationship with them is charming and winning. Who doesn’t want to live vicariously on Nim’s Island?
But this is not the Island of the Blue Dolphins. Nim is stranded, but she strikes up an e-mail correspondence with the author of an adventure story that occupies and enriches her days. The author – the redoubtable Alex Rover – turns out to be a she and is just as lonely (though neither knows it) as Nim.
Orr entwines their stories in a not-too-drawn-out rescue chase. But it is their touching regard for each other, and the way each opens up paths to emotional self-discovery in the other, that charms readers even more than the pace of the chase.
This is also not Robinson Crusoe. Nim’s Island is a stately 125 pages and this allows readers and families to dabble in the details and turn each page hungry for more.
Consider it a modern little nuclear Swiss Family Robinson.
And Nim’s (and Orr’s) delight in the natural world presents a wealth of opportunities for exploring and expanding the world of your One School, One Book title.