Nim’s Island is a wonderful read. Full of fun and adventure, and located on a secret tropical island, it’s a perfect read to add to your elementary school-age child’s reading list.
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Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr
Genre: Fiction; Adventure
Length: 128 pages
First Published: 2008
A girl. An iguana. An island. And e-mail. Meet Nim–a modern-day Robinson Crusoe! She can chop down bananas with a machete, climb tall palm trees, and start a fire with a piece of glass. So she’s not afraid when her scientist dad sails off to study plankton for three days, leaving her alone on their island. Besides, it’s not as if no one’s looking after her–she’s got a sea lion to mother her and an iguana for comic relief. She also has an interesting new e-mail pal. But when her father’s cell phone calls stop coming and disaster seems near, Nim has to be stronger and braver than she’s ever been before.
And she’ll need all her friends to help her.
My Goodreads Review
Nim and her father, Jack, live together on a secret island. Jack is a scientist and decides to leave Nim on the island alone for a few days while he travels to study plankton. Nim is content to do her daily chores, play with her animal friends, and talk to her father nightly at their planned time.
Of course, things don’t go as smoothly as planned and plenty of adventures ensue, including a volcanic eruption and an ongoing correspondence with her favorite author of adventure stories.
I enjoyed this book more than I anticipated. I have never seen the movie so the entire storyline was new to me. Nim was a delightful, innocent character who had plenty of fun on the island. Her animal friends never communicate directly with her as “talking animals” in the story, but they are a fun part of her adventures.
I think elementary school children would enjoy this book and as a bonus, could watch the movie after reading!
Nim’s Island Book Club Ideas
Decorate with an Island Theme. Use palm trees and coconuts as well as ocean-themed decor.
Create a simple paper project based on the setting and events in the book:
– This paper pinwheel will blow in the wind just like the storm that blew onto the island.
– Create a simple origami boat with your book club attendees.
There are plenty of additional STEM activities online that would be Scientist Jack approved.
1. What do we learn about Nim and her life on the island in the first chapter? Did the information in the first chapter make you want to keep reading? (Did the author do a good job of “hooking” you into the story?)
2. The animals in this story don’t talk like many animals do in stories, but they still seem like people. How does the author make them seem like people if they don’t speak?
3. Should Jack have left Nim alone on the island? Why or why not?
Additional Discussion Questions
Grab this set of questions designed to facilitate discussion about any book:
About the Author: Wendy Orr
Wendy Orr has written over 40 books for children, teenagers, and adults. Her book, Nim’s Island, was the first Australian children’s book to become a Hollywood feature film. Wendy “believes that every child deserves to find the books that fuel their passion for stories, encourage empathy and connection and empower them for the future” (quote from her website). Learn more about Wendy on her website.
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