Turtle in Paradise

Holm, Jennifer L.

(Book - 2010)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Turtle in Paradise
In 1935, when her mother gets a job housekeeping for a woman who does not like children, eleven-year-old Turtle is sent to stay with relatives she has never met in far away Key West, Florida.
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2010.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 0375936882
Characteristics: 191 p. :,ill. ;,22 cm.


From the critics

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Sep 07, 2014
  • yellow_ram_6 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

It's a really good book! The ending is just a little sad. Otherwise I loved it! 5 stars!

Turtle In Paradise is a wonderful ride through the unique culture of Depression Era Key West. Turtle’s struggles bring her closer to the truth about family and what’s important. Each of the characters is interesting with a different nickname and a different way of surviving the Great Depression. The book is honest, through the eyes of Turtle, who is a no nonsense type of girl. Her adventures through cut-ups, diaper gangs and a brand new, very large, family lead the reader on a beautifully written journey of Key West.

Apr 16, 2014
  • mmaid07 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

The unique culture of Key West during the Depression Era is brought vividly to life as Turtle adjusts to life there with her aunt, uncle, and cousins. Despite hard times, the story contains a healthy dose of humor and adventure with pranks being played by the "Diaper Gang" and even a treasure hunt. I think the strong sense of place and time are what I enjoyed most about this novel, but seeing Turtle get to know family she didn't know she had and learning to fit in and care about one another was heartwarming, too.

Apr 16, 2013
  • Nancy J Mata rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I recommend this book for a family reading. The main character is turtle, a strong 11 year old girl who enjoys life and a good sense of adventure. I enjoy this book because turtle grows as a person as the story progresses, her mom makes a big sacrifice by sending turtle away to Key West during The Great Depression. The book reflects the period of great poverty but at the same time the book shows that kids need very little to live an adventure and find the meaning of family. The story also has hidden surprises, family values, and the magic of having children behave like children. I specially enjoy the relationship that develops with her grandmother because it reminds me of the relationship of Heidi and her grandfather in the book of Joanna Spyri.

In 1935, at the heart of the Great Depression, Turtle’s mom sends her to live with unknown relatives on Key West. Turtle arrives from New Jersey and is not impressed. Key West, in her opinion, is shabby. She’s even less impressed with her boy cousins who run a babysitting business. But, she will have to learn to get along with them. Turtle slowly discovers she enjoys the slower island way of life, getting to know her family, and ends up having fun with her cousins. She meets the grandmother she never knew she had, goes hunting for buried pirate treasure, and gets caught in a hurricane.

Turtle is a spunky, fun tomboy. Readers will enjoy learning about Florida in the 1930s in this rollicking adventure. ~Alexa Newman, Youth Services Librarian

This book is about a young eleven year old girl who was sent away to random family members since her mother received a job offer. Her mother got a job offer from a rich lady to clean her house, and the lady didn't like children. This book is about the trials and tribulations of a young girl who lived through the Great Depression. the moral of the story is that family means everything in times of need. I recommend this book to every child, eight and up, and highly recommend parents to buy it and read it to their children.

im in reading link at my school and we had to read this book amazing

I must say that I was not expecting the book to be as interesting as it was. I would definitely recommend this book to students of 8-10 years of age because of the great story that is being told. Not only does it provide a little history insight of the Great Depression but it also teaches a great lesson that can be respected by most of us. It is a book that can be easily accepted by students because of how easily they can relate with the main character, Turtle. Adding to that, the story itself is entertaining and the lesson learned in the end makes it an even better story. Family is everything!

Turtle in Paradise is about a girl named Turtle who is sent away to her relatives in Key West after her mother gets a job as a housekeeper for a rich woman who doesn't like children. The story takes place during the Great Depression and no one is living too high off the hog especially the “Conches”. Readers will relate to Turtle: She is tough on the outside, with a soft underbelly, just like a turtle. She is smart, strong, helpful, generous, and pretty wise for an
11-year-old. In the end, they will be touched by her growing understanding of what "family" means

I recommend this book for children whom have learned about the Great Depression since it does occur during that time period. Reading material in which you don’t know the details of the era can confuse the reader. This book has historical details and humor within it. The narrative is the Turtle with the characteristics of a strong willed person who has to mature at a young age.This book can easily benefit or harm a child’s ego. The reader can have a similar story to this one so this can build on a person’s confidence because something positive came out of something that started out as negative. Either way the reader leaves with a memorable impression and when reading a story that is what the author should look for.

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Add Age Suitability

Sep 19, 2014
  • jaydenlibby rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

jaydenlibby thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over

Sep 07, 2014
  • yellow_ram_6 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

yellow_ram_6 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

taupe_giraffe_11 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Apr 16, 2013
  • Nancy J Mata rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Nancy J Mata thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

CourtneyHendon thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over

blue_jay_278 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

BradyRhys thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 10

asrushing2014 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 10 and 14

jazmjoh thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 13


Add a Summary

Turtle lives with her mama, who is a house maid, in 1935. Life is pretty good, better than some other people have it during the Great Depression. But when Turtle’s mother gets a job with an old woman who doesn't like children, she’s sent off to live with her extended family in Key West, Florida. Turtle must learn to navigate a large new family, strange customs and the poor, pre-tourist destination, island culture if she’s ever going to stick it out long enough to go back to her mama.

This story is about a young girl who is sent away from her mother to her family in Key West whom she does not know. The young girl, named Turtle, is reluctant to go but has to, since her mother got a new job. The book has the setting of the Great Depression, and the hardships that Turtle and her family had to endure. This book has a great ending, and I think that everyone should read this book.

This book is about the life and events of Turtle, an 11 year old girl who is sent to Key West by her parents to live with her relatives during the Great Depression. Along the way Turtle helps her family with whatever she can financially while searching for sponges in the ocean, searching for buried treasure, and building relationships with her grandma and father. In the end she finds her treasure and also finds the real meaning of family.

Turtle is an eleven year old girl, who is sent to stay with her relatives in Key West. The story starts off with the main character's cat's tail being set on fire by some troublesome boys. Turtle has had a pretty rough life, but it has made her a much stronger person. While in Key West Turtle encounters the Diaper n the end Turtle learns the value of family and friends in this magnificent story-line.

Turtle's mother takes a job as a housekeeper after having a difficult time finding work. As a result of her taking the job Turtle is sent to live with her sister in Key West. She has a difficult time adjusting. Eventually she finds comfort and builds relationships with some of her family members. She discovers pirate treasures through an adventure she encountered with the Diaper Gang. The story turns from being negative to positive because of the friendship and family relationship gained throughout the book.


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Apr 16, 2013
  • Nancy J Mata rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

“ I think the color of a person’s eyes says a lot about them. Mama has soft blue eyes, and all she sees is kittens and roses. My eyes are gray as soot, and I see things for what they are. The mean boy on the porch has green eyes. Probably from all the snot in his nose.”

"Mama thinks me going to Key West is a swell idea. You'll love it baby, Mama told me".

"Maybe the real treasure has been right here on Curry Lane the whole time--people who love Mama and me. A Home."

“Everyone thinks children are sweet as Necco Wafers, but I've lived long enough to know the truth: kids are rotten. The only difference between grown-ups and kids is that grown-ups go to jail for murder. Kids get away with it.”

"Everyone's always saying that hard times bring out the best in people, but far as I can tell, the only thing that hard times bring out is plain meanness."

"And if you're lucky-lucky as an orphan-some of them may even end up being your family."


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