PF tag

This week’s host is Irene Latham at Live Your Poem. Irene is celebrating the launch of her new book, FRESH DELICIOUS: Poems from the Farmer’s Market.

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.


Get your copy at Indiebound.

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.

By Edgar Allan Poe

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!”

2013-10-31 17.45.47

Pass the Jelly Babies.

11 responses to “Laura’s Bookshelf: THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE”

  1. Irene Latham says:

    The book sounds wonderful, and what an enchanting cover! I am excited to read. Thank you for sharing, Laura! xo

  2. Luv this novel/poem match-up.
    Heidi Heilig had me at “maps.”
    Delighted to learn a bit about Nix & these adventures.

    Happy, mappy weekend!

  3. Linda Baie says:

    Students love time travel books, and I’m glad to read your review about this one, Laura, plus the connection to Poe’s poem makes it even more interesting. There are deep questions to ask when thinking about time traveling, and it sounds as if the book brings them up for children to ponder, too. I’ll try to find the book and read soon. Thanks!

  4. Joy Acey says:

    Thanks for pointing this book out. I’ll put it on my reading list.

  5. Tara says:

    My kids love time travel book, and this one looks wonderful. Love that photograph of you, Laura!

  6. jama says:

    This sounds like a fascinating book! Love the Hawaii connection too. As soon as I read the first few lines of “El Dorado,” I thought about a high school substitute teacher who used to read this poem aloud to us. She had such a distinctive way of pronouncing her words that we used to imitate her all the time. So your post made me travel back to Hawaii, to another time. 🙂

  7. Diane Mayr says:

    Gaily bedight,/A gallant knight,

    I want to sing it!

  8. Great pairing. I will have to look for the book, it sounds like great fun. I first heard that poem in a John Wayne movie. LOL

  9. cbhanek says:

    Thank you so much for the poem pairing; interestingly this reading evoked a completely different set of reactions, for which I am most grateful. “In sunshine and in shadow”: so much to ponder…God bless you!

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Laura Shovan

Laura Shovan is the author of the award-winning middle grade novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary. Her second book, Takedown, is a Junior Library Guild and PJ Our Way selection. Look for A Place at the Table, co-written with Saadia Faruqi, in 2020. Laura is a poet-in-the-schools Maryland.

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