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Nim's Island

Nim's Island - Wendy Orr, Kerry Millard This is one of several reviews I wrote for the late Secular Homeschooling Magazine. We ran an article about homeschoolers in fiction, and I rated a lot of YA novels based on how good they were and how well they handled homeschooling. Mostly, homeschoolers were hauled out as the reliable weirdos in story after story; but it was still fun to do lots of reading and call it my job.

So: Nim's Island.

Category: Oceanic-adventure unschooling.

Summary: Nim Rusoe lives with her scientist father Jack on a secret island. They have all the technology they need to make them happy and keep them in touch with the rest of the world when necessary. (Jack sells the occasional article electronically, and orders in supplies once a year.)

When Jack goes off to collect plankton for a few days, Nim decides to stay home with the animals -- a sea lion named Selkie and an iguana named Fred. (The drawings of Fred are killer adorable. Actually, all of Kerry Millard's line drawings are worth the price of the book so far as I'm concerned.) Adventures ensue, including Nim surviving a volcanic eruption and rescuing a famous writer.

Conclusion: When your paradise-island-dwelling father wonders aloud if he's being selfish by depriving you of a "normal" life, tell him he's out of his mind and stay on the awesome island.

Rating as a novel: Lots of fun for all ages.

Rating as a novel about homeschooling and/or homeschoolers: Ditto.