The Island of Lost Children, by Kim Batchelor, Lonestar Book Blog Tour

Book 1
Kim Batchelor
Genre: Middle Grade / Fairy Tale / Fantasy
Publisher: Luna y Miel Publishing
Date of Publication: November 9, 2013
Number of Pages: 188
Scroll down for Giveaway!
Peter is still the boy who doesn’t grow up. Wendy is a girl who had to grow up too soon. And Wendy’s brother, Michael, has autism and a connection to The Island of Lost Children, a book for readers 8-12 and any fan of Peter Pan. When Peter leaves his island home, it’s to search for pick-up soccer games and mock sword fights. Wendy spends her evenings looking after her two brothers—sometimes bratty JJ as well as Michael—while her parents work nights. In the midst of several unusual events including the disappearance of her classmate, Lily, at odds with her adoptive mother, Wendy doesn’t realize that Peter’s pirate nemesis is keeping an eye on her. Everything changes for Wendy and her family when a peculiar fairy named Bellatresse helps Peter find the girl whose stories he once listened to outside her bedroom window. 
With its quirky humor and occasionally touching moments, The Island of Lost Children is about children creating their own stories, families, and communities, all while swashbuckling, navigating mystical rivers, riding child-made roller coasters, and, of course, sailing high through the open skies.

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"Wendy Darling did not belong with anyone. Not with her parents, who argued all the time. Not with her brother John, known in the family as JJ, who crashed and thrashed like a thunderstorm. And not with her youngest brother, Michael, who one minute fixated on the crackle of a candy wrapper against his ear and the next minute tore through whatever room tried to hold him. There were times when he slipped into Wendy's lap and they came close to belonging with each other, but those times didn't happen often enough."

Excerpt from "The Island of Lost Children," by Kim Batchelor, posted for review purposes.

I remember feeling just like that as a child, do you?

And I remember the classic Peter Pan, and how much I loved it. With its themes of the childhood angsts of growing up and finding your own tribe, the story should never have grown old. And yet, in some respects, the story has not withstood the purview of time, especially with its pointedly not-PC name calling.  

A local school (Paris High School), will soon be putting on its musical version of Peter Pan (first weekend of December), and I'm excited to go see it.  Since I am still very involved in Reading to the Future, (the program here where all second grade classes are read to by volunteers once a week),  when I heard they were putting on Peter Pan, I naturally wondered how many children in our area have actually been exposed to the story.  

Then I  saw that Kim Batchelor's "The Island of Lost Children," was going on the Lonestar Book Blog Tour, and is a retelling of the Peter Pan story.  Of course, I had to read it. 

I thoroughly enjoyed it.  As you can see from the brief introduction to Wendy, above, Ms. Batchelor knows how to tell a good story without wasting words, and she knows how to characterize. She begins the book with a soccer game, an instant hook to most kids today. The Darling family faced modern difficulties, Hook was every child's dream-mare of a teacher (don't worry, teachers, Peter comes to the rescue!), and I especially liked how "Lilly" turned out.  (I knew that the portrayal of the tribe was something the school has been working hard to get just right in the musical, so I was curious, and pleased, with how it played out here.) Then, there is Michael, who is an autistic child. I absolutely loved getting a peek into his world and seeing his sister care for him.  The imagery of the the world as a whole--that was a real treat to read. I felt like I was seeing it all again, but with a fresh view. 

I highly recommend this book to anyone with children in their lives, including our local Reading to the Future volunteer readers and libraries.  Your second grade classes are ready for this book, (and for the local children, they will soon have a heightened interest since many will have gotten to see the musical production).  You will be able to read two or three chapters with each visit to school.

The ebook is good, but I suggest getting the hard cover (paperback).  It just feels exactly right in your hand and on your eyes, and the Chapter illustrations (for each new Chapter) are beautiful.  There are a couple of typos in the book, but they are limited and they are simple verb tense agreements so they are not very jarring.

Remember, you can also Scroll down for Giveaway! and win this book.  Parents, Volunteers, and Teachers, why not enter and try to add it to your book shelves?  

Kudos to Kim Batchelor, and I look forward to reading the new book that you have in the works!  If you ever decide to come up to Paris, Texas, make sure and give me a shout out. 

[*Note that I schedule these posts, and do not get on blogger in the day time.  I check it once or twice a week for comments, so don't be bothered if I can't respond to you immediately. ]   

Kim Batchelor writes books for children and adults, stories both real and fantastical, foreign and domestic. She has been published in the Texas Observer, The Best of Friday Flash, and local literary journal, Contexas. She teaches creative writing to incarcerated women and lives in Oak Cliff, Dallas, Texas, with a spouse, two dogs, and way too many cats. One of her prized possessions is a busted tambourine given to her by Eddie Vedder. Okay, he tossed it to her in a dark stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, but the real story is never as interesting as the one she makes up.
1 Winner: $25 Amazon Gift Card + Signed Copy of the Book
3 Winners: Signed Copies of the Book
November 7 - November 16, 2016


Excerpt 1
Author Interview #1
Guest Post
Excerpt 2
Author Interview 2
Excerpt 3

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