Happy Poetry Friday. After spending the month of February writing found object poems, I’m happy to return to the “Laura’s Bookshelf” series. In Bookshelf posts, I pair a middle grade or young adult novel with a poem, to be read and enjoyed side by side.
As you know, I am a huge Doctor Who fan, dating back to my childhood, when I could only see the show on visits to my grandparents’ house in England.
Of course, I couldn’t wait to read debut author Heidi Heilig‘s book THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE. The story is set on a time traveling pirate ship and features a kick-butt heroine who is, despite her outer toughness, an introvert … just like me.
What a great read! I was swept up in Nix’s adventures, which range from modern day New York, to ancient China, and more ports of call — real and fictional. Nix and her father, who captains the ship, are both Navigators. They use maps to travel through time, space, and reality. But they are at odds. The Captain wants to return to Hawaii of the 1800s, to a time before Nix’s mother died. Nix fears that saving her mother will erase Nix from existence.
Throw in an unrequited love story with handsome thief/shipmate named Kash, and you’ll understand why it was hard to put this book down.
THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE published in February. Here is the blurb from Goodreads:
Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.
As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.
But the end to it all looms closer every day.
Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.
For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters.
She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love.
Or she could disappear.
THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE is appropriate for mature middle schoolers and up.
Who will like it?
- Fans of time travel.
- History buffs. (There is a pulled-from-the-history-books mystery involving Hawaii of the 1800s.)
- Adventure-readers. This books has pirates and exotic locales.
What will readers learn about?
- What Hawaii was like as its monarchy was ending and European culture was settling on the islands.
- How a teen might cope with a parent suffering from addiction.
- The importance of making your own fate, instead of going along on someone else’s ride through life.
The poem I’m pairing with THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE is a favorite of mine. I chose this one because it reminds me of Nix’s father, the captain, and his endless quest to return to the woman he loves.
Gaily bedight, A gallant knight, In sunshine and in shadow, Had journeyed long, Singing a song, In search of Eldorado. But he grew old, This knight so bold, And o’er his heart a shadow Fell as he found No spot of ground That looked like Eldorado. And, as his strength Failed him at length, He met a pilgrim shadow; “Shadow," said he, “Where can it be, This land of Eldorado?” “Over the mountains Of the moon, Down the valley of the shadow, Ride, boldly ride," The shade replied,-- “If you seek for Eldorado!”