Thursday, July 25, 2013

BLOG TOUR: Whisper Island by Anola Pickett


“Primmy, sure as anything, we should have named you Anne Bonny.”

He’s forever comparing me to the woman pirate who sailed our waters during Blackbeard’s time. Pa holds that Anne Bonny must have been a wild and careless girl. Like me. Although I have no desire to end up as a pirate.

I plan to be a Life Saver.

It’s 1913 in Whisper Island, North Carolina, and twelve-year-old Primmy Hopkins has dreams above her station. She wants to be a part of the US Life Savers Service, even though only men can join. She wants to do something worthwhile—to help people and make a difference. Her long-forgotten mother has other dreams for her, though. And when Primmy receives an invitation to spend her birthday with her mother, Primmy can only hope that she will accept her for who she is—or at least explain why she left their family.

This touching coming-of-age tale will keep you smiling at Primmy’s antics and rooting for its delightful cast of characters. Parents and children will both enjoy the rich historical setting and engaging humor of Anola Pickett’s latest novel.


Anola Pickett grew up in a family of storytellers. Even her name has a story: it’s a combination of her two grandmothers’ names—Ann and Ola. Every family story grew longer and more colorful each time another person told it. In third grade Anola discovered that writing down stories was fun, too. In college she combined her love of reading and writing and earned a degree in English and creative writing. After spending several years as an elementary and middle school teacher, Anola worked as a school librarian. Now she writes full-time at her home in Kansas City, and a few years ago discovered that she enjoys writing historical fiction for young readers.

She and her husband, Peter, enjoy traveling together and always come back with at least one idea for another story!

You can learn more about her at


Twelve-year old Primmy doesn't mean to get in trouble, it just seems to happen.  Between muddy sheets and runaway pigs, Primmy dreams of joining the Life Savers.  There is only one problem, she's a girl. And what about her mother who after running away nine years earlier suddenly wants to see her. Life in Whisper Island is anything it boring for young Primmy as she navigates her way through problems of all kinds.

I really enjoyed this book.  Primmy is a likeable character and made me laugh with her antics. Yet there are some thoughtful themes explored here as well, themes of growing up, pleasing others, and finding one's own path in life regardless of what the world has to say about it.  The inclusion of unusual vocabulary words and local dialect makes this historical fiction novel well worth sharing in the classroom.  Recommended.

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