Turtle in Paradise

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Turtle in Paradise
Turtle in paradise.jpg
Author Jennifer L. Holm
Country United States
Language English
Published December 27, 2010
Random House Children's Books
Pages 208
224 (paperback)
Awards 2010 Newbery Honor Book
ISBN 9780375836909

Turtle in Paradise is a 2010 Newbery Honor Book by Jennifer L. Holm.[1] The book also won the Golden Kite Award. The main character, Turtle, is eleven years old and lives in Key West, Florida during the Great Depression.[2]


The story takes place during the Great Depression. Turtle is an eleven-year-old girl who is sent to live with her aunt and cousins in Key West, Florida. She goes to Key West because her mother's new employer refuses to let Turtle and her cat, Smokey, stay in her house. Turtle says goodbye without a tear and heads off to Key West, Florida to live with relatives she's never met.

When Turtle first arrives, her Aunt Minnie is shocked because she hadn't received her sister's letter about Turtle coming to live with her. Turtle's cousins are Beans, (the eldest, who gives a cold welcome to Turtle), Kermit (who has a heart defect and must take naps in the middle of the day and must not partake in overwhelming activities such as running), and Buddy (the youngest, who is prone to having accidents in his pants). Aunt Minnie eventually lets Turtle stay. Turtle takes residence in Beans' room, causing him to dislike her.

Florida is like nothing Turtle's ever seen before. It's hot and strange, full of rag tag 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.


Turtle in Paradise is a small format book measuring 5.2 x 0.5 x 7.6 inches. This small book is for children ages from 9 to 12 years. The grade level for this book is 3 to 7.The Lexile for this book is 610L.The sales rank 96,734 in 6 months

Critical Reception[edit]

Reed Elsevier in the Publishers Weekly in 2010 states"'Everyone thinks children are sweet as Neceo Wafers, but I've lived long enough to know the truth:kids are rotten.' When her romantic and unrealistic mother, who's always falling in and out of love, gets a house keeping job that won't allow children, she sends Turtle to her estranged family in Depression-era Key West"[3] According to Horn Book Magazine is the property of Library Journals, "It’s 1935, and narrator Turtle is sent to live in Key West. With her stoic nature and quick wits, she’s able to fit in with her boy cousins. Turtle’s voice is tart and world-weary. Though her narrative is peppered with references from the time, modern-day readers will have no trouble relating, and the fast-moving plot will keep them interested to the end."[4]


  1. ^ "2011 Newbery Medal and Honor Books". Association for Library Service to Children. Retrieved 31 January 2011. 
  2. ^ "jenniferholm.com". Retrieved 31 January 2011. 
  3. ^ "Turtle In Paradise." Publishers Weekly 257.18 (2010): 52. Academic Search Complete. Web. 21 Jan. 2016.
  4. ^ "2011 Award Winners." Horn Book Magazine 87.4 (2011): 178-180. Academic Search Complete. Web. 21 Jan.2016.

External links[edit]