Orphan Island

Longlist, National Book Awards 2017 for Young People's Literature

Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder book cover
ISBN 9780062443410
Walden Pond Press / HarperCollinsPublishers
Laurel Snyder author photo, credit: Sonya Naumann
Laurel Snyder

Laurel Snyder is a poet, essayist, and author of picture books and novels for children, including The Longest NightBigger than a Bread Box, and Seven Stories Up. She is also the editor of the nonfiction anthology Half/Life: Jew-ish Tales from Interfaith Homes, a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, and a commentator for NPR’s All Things Considered. More about this author >

Award Years

Award Status

Award Categories

On the island, everything is perfect. The sun rises in a sky filled with dancing shapes; the wind, water, and trees shelter and protect those who live there; when the nine children go to sleep in their cabins, it is with full stomachs and joy in their hearts. And only one thing ever changes: on that day, each year, when a boat appears from the mist upon the ocean carrying one young child to join them—and taking the eldest one away, never to be seen again.

Today’s Changing is no different. The boat arrives, taking away Jinny’s best friend, Deen, replacing him with a new little girl named Ess, and leaving Jinny as the new Elder. Jinny knows her responsibility now—to teach Ess everything she needs to know about the island, to keep things as they’ve always been. But will she be ready for the inevitable day when the boat will come back—and take her away forever from the only home she’s known?

X