Written by Jennifer L. Holm - Audio book performed by Becca Battoe - Unabridged Fiction - 3 COMPACT DISCS
Publisher, Listening Library (May 2011)
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A Newbery Honor Winner!
Reviews of the hardcover edition: Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2010: “Sweet, funny and superb”
Starred Review, Booklist, April 15, 2010: "Turtle is just the right mixture of knowingness and hope; the plot is a hilarious blend of family dramas seasoned with a dollop of adventure."
Review, School Library Journal, April 2010: "This richly detailed novel was inspired by Holm’s great-grandmother’s stories. Readers who enjoy melodic, humorous tales of the past won’t want to miss it."
Inspired by family stories, two-time Newbery Honor winner and New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Holm beautifully blends family lore with America's past in this charming gem of a novel, rich in historical detail, humor, and the unique flavors of Key West.
Life isn't like the movies, and eleven-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 stay with relatives she's never met.
Florida's like nothing Turtle has ever seen. It's hot and strange, full of wild green peeping out between houses, ragtag boy cousins, and secret treasure. Before she knows what's happened, Turtle finds herself coming out of the shell she has spent her life building, and as she does, her world opens up in the most unexpected ways.
About the Author: This book, Turtle in Paradise, started with a story my mom liked to tell about her childhood. During the summers, her grandmother would take her to Key West to visit her relatives. Her mother made her promise to “shake her shoes out.” My mom didn’t know why her mother wanted her to do this, but she did it anyway. And then one hot day, she shook her shoes and out popped . . . a scorpion!
Writing Turtle in Paradise was a wonderful way to re-connect with my Key West heritage. My great-grandmother, Jennie Lewin Peck, emigrated from the Bahamas to Key West at the turn of the century. She considered herself a “Conch,” what the local Key West folks called themselves, after the native mollusk that so many fished for in the Bahamas. Nana was always talking about how she missed sugar apple ice cream and Spanish limes. When my editor, Shana Corey, started asking me about Nana and my Key West family, I just knew that there was a story somewhere in there.
Researching this book was also an interesting way to experience a different side of living through the Great Depression. While Key West suffered significant economic hardship (the town went bankrupt and the majority of the citizens were on economic relief), it didn’t have the same sort of feel as most of the depression stories I was used to hearing—soup lines, tent cities, and the Dust Bowl. Key West was warm for one thing, and there was plenty of free food, courtesy of the sea. One man told me, he ate lobster during the Depression! Key West was a freewheeling town full of characters and bygone industries—sponge fishing, rumrunners, and, of course, pirates! It had all the ingredients for a fabulous setting.
I hope you enjoy reading Turtle in Paradise as much as I enjoyed writing it. And if you ever go to Key West, be sure to shake out your shoes!
About the Performer: Hailing from Louisville, Kentucky, Becca Battoe is a working actor in Los Angeles. She has appeared in television shows such as Scrubs and Invasion as well as multiple musicals and plays.