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Navigating Early

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  8,219 Ratings  ·  1,549 Reviews
At the end of World War II, Jack Baker, a landlocked Kansas boy, is suddenly uprooted after his mother’s death and placed in a boy’s boarding school in Maine. There, Jack encounters Early Auden, the strangest of boys, who reads the number pi as a story and collects clippings about the sightings of a great black bear in the nearby mountains.

Newcomer Jack feels lost yet can’
Hardcover, 306 pages
Published January 8th 2013 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
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Morgan He is likely gifted. Early is also located on the autism spectrum. Children and teens with autism generally have an easier time learning things they…moreHe is likely gifted. Early is also located on the autism spectrum. Children and teens with autism generally have an easier time learning things they are interested in, such as Early's interest with Pi. (less)
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg SloanNavigating Early by Clare VanderpoolDoll Bones by Holly BlackEscape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris GrabensteinFlora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
Newbery 2014
2nd out of 115 books — 458 voters
The School for Good and Evil by Soman ChainaniThe Runaway King by Jennifer A. NielsenRump by Liesl ShurtliffThe Ability by M.M. VaughanThe House of Hades by Rick Riordan
Middle Grade Novels of 2013
29th out of 372 books — 742 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Victor Almeida
Sabe o que é não conseguir parar de chorar? Foi uma corrente de lágrimas que começou e não parou mais, e sem nenhum impacto em específico. Não foi um acontecimento TCHAM - chorei. Foi a realização do todo. A correlação com as minhas próprias experiências. O apego aos personagens e ao universo. Essa história é incrivelmente linda, bem escrita, tocante, inocente e que te pega de surpresa. A narrativa é deliciosa, poética e misteriosa. Eu tô é chocado.

Eu me apaixonei desde o começo. Os personagens
Vitor Martins
"Minha mãe dizia que, se o mundo fosse virado de cabeça para baixo, daria para mergulhar no céu e nadar nele."

Eu não sei se vou saber explicar direitinho como esse livro é bonito. Em Algum Lugar nas Estrelas é uma história sobre amizade, perda, luto, e aqueles momentos da vida onde a gente simplesmente não sabe qual caminho seguir.

A escrita da Clare Vanderpool é leve e ao mesmo tempo impactante. Ela carrega muita beleza, muita poesia e vários socos no estômago. Early Auden é um dos personagens
Dec 24, 2013 Mitch rated it it was amazing
Reading Navigating Early, I totally see why Clare Vanderpool won the Newbery last year. Hers are books that fall within that special category of middle grade fiction that speak as well to adults as to children, capturing not only the magic of childhood but also the hard hitting realizations of growing up. Even more impressively, I have to say her skillful yet subtle exploration of the themes of friendship, loss, and self discovery really snuck up on me here, and only serves to make this even mor ...more
Mayra Sigwalt
Apr 15, 2016 Mayra Sigwalt rated it really liked it
Shelves: livros-que-tenho
Esse livro é uma história muito bonita sobre amizade, perdas, sobre relação de pais e filhos... mas acima de tudo, eu acho q é sobre se encontrar. O nosso personagem perdeu a mãe e é obrigado a ir estudar em um colégio militar onde ele se sente deslocado. O pai, que voltou da guerra, não consegue se comunicar com ele. Então ele se sente sozinho e abandonado. Até fazer amizade com o Early. Early é um menino bem diferente. Ele tem pequenas obsessões e vê o mundo onde os números são mais que símbol ...more
Mar 13, 2013 Samuel rated it it was ok
Shelves: children
The best characters in children's literature are ones we can believe as people. We read about Ramona Quimby, or Dicey Tillerman, or Bud Caldwell, and we feel like they're living, breathing human beings, people we wouldn't be surprised to meet. This is true even in books that aren't realistic fiction -- although the adventures of Meg O'Keefe, Will Stanton, and Lyra Belacqua may be otherworldly, their personalities are still recognizable and sharply focused. And, maybe most of all, it's true of ch ...more
As an adult, one of the joys of reading children's literature is in the letting go of conformity and rigidity so that one's inner child can be spellbound with adventurous wonder and delight, where anything and everything is lush with possibilities and is often ripe with eccentricities. Not being hit over the head with unsavory language and/or gruesomely descriptive violence are more good reasons for reading books targeted toward a juvenile audience. Navigating Early is a delightful example of al ...more
Dec 31, 2013 Donalyn rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the artistry of this book, but often questioned the intended audience for this book. It seems like the kind of book that adults adore and few kids read. While promoted in some circles as a middle grade novel, I don't know of a single ten year old in the past decade I could have given this book to that would understand it or finish it.

Don't worry about who you are going to pass it to when you are done. Read Navigating Early for yourself and enjoy Vanderpool's gift for language and inte
Colby Sharp
Dec 23, 2012 Colby Sharp rated it it was amazing
Dear Heavy Medal Blog,

Good luck trying to tear this book apart. I'm sure that it will be a part of your Newbery discussions, and hope first look at all of the amazingness that this book contains.

Early is the type of character that once he enters a reader's heart he never leaves.

Your friend,

Mr. Sharp
Jubilation Lee
I picked up Navigating Early out of shame, because I STILL have not gotten around to reading Moon Over Manifest and I was hoping that reading another of Clare Vanderpool’s books would sort of redeem me in the eyes of my book-reading peers, all of whom have been very much, “But… but it won the NEWBERY how have you not READ it yet!?”

I’m sorryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

Unfortunately, I’m not totally won over by this novel, as wonderfully well-written as it is.

Navigating Early is the WWII-era story of Jack, w
Cassi aka Snow White Haggard
Jan 15, 2013 Cassi aka Snow White Haggard rated it really liked it
Shelves: galleys, read-in-2013
Navigating Early is the story of three boys. Jackie, the protagnoist, a Kansas transpant who finds himself in a military boarding school in Maine after the sudden death of his mother. Jackie feels guilty about his mother's death, disconnected from his father and unsure about the world. He's learned some tough life lessons too young. Early, a strange but intelligent boy who lives more in his own head than reality. He too has experienced a loss. Instead of balling everything up inside like Jacky, ...more
Jul 12, 2016 Georgia rated it it was amazing
que coisa mais amadinha esse livro????? quero abraçar ele para sempre.
May 02, 2016 Monique rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Monique by: Louize

Complete marginalia HERE.

"Finding your way doesn’t mean you always know where you’re going. It’s knowing how to find your way back home that’s important.”

What an inspiring, touching story about friendship, loss, family, connections, and love. What a wonderful story to start the new year with!
Iara Picolo
Jul 07, 2016 Iara Picolo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Que história mais fofa!
Como os personagens se conhecem, como eles se entendem e como vão viver uma aventura em que imaginação e realidade são meio borradas. Nós, como leitores, não sabemos se eles estão vivendo ou inventando tudo e tudo bem, porque essa nem é a questão do livro. São duas crianças de 13 anos aprendendo sobre perdão, sobre perdas, sobre saudade e sobre amizade. Por mais que a narrativa engane em alguns momentos, é importante ler o livro tendo em mente que é uma criança que está t
Jan 14, 2013 Heidi rated it really liked it
If you read and loved Vanderpool’s heartwarming debut and Newberry Medal Winning Moon Over Manifest and are hoping to find the same depth of humanity in her sophomore novel, Navigating Early, you are in luck. In fact, my greatest criticism about Navigating Early is that it’s too thematically similar to Moon Over Manifest, so let me get that gripe out of the way before I can dive into why Navigating Early is such a wonderful read.

Both books involve children who are displaced–they have left what h
Jan 13, 2013 Robert rated it it was amazing
"From the author of Newbery Medal book, "Moon Over Manifest", comes the odyssey-like adventure of two boys' incredible quest on the Appalachian Trail where they deal with pirates, buried secrets, and extraordinary encounters." Delacorte Press

I just finished "Navigating Early". This is an amazing story! Like "Moon Over Manifest" I could not put this book down.

Clare Vanderpool is a masterful story teller. I found this to be an interesting, poignant, layered story with some thing for boys and girl
It’s the end of World War II and 13-year-old Jack Baker’s father is finally coming back home. Unfortunately his return is marred by the death of the sudden wife he left behind and without knowing what to do with a son he barely knows, he sends Jack to a boarding school in Maine.

There, Jack meets Early Aiden, a strange boy who often misses lessons and who can always be found listening to records in his basement room where he also spends time reading the number pi as a story and collecting news cl
Apr 30, 2015 Louize rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, tfg-f2f
From The Page Walker

A Trail, A Bear, and A Soldier

To start off, this book is about grief, getting lost, then finding the right path back to life. In other words, it is hopeful. Like I said before, this book will stitch your heart back the right way. I think this is the right kind of inspiration that my countrymen and I badly needed in these catastrophic times.

“…the team captains had yet to learn: life can’t be held in a cup, and nothing lasts forever.”

The setting is set at the end of World War
Leonardo Leal
Sep 27, 2016 Leonardo Leal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
Eu adorei o livro.
A autora criou uma atmosfera incrível, personagens incríveis e tudo isso é tratado de uma maneira muito bonita; numa história cheia de Frank Sinatra e Dias Chuvosos, uma busca por um soldado perdido, a história do 3,14 e a história de um pai e um filho, além de ser a história de dois amigos, uma amizade verdadeira e real.
O livro é sobre o Jackie, porém, NÃO TEM COMO você não amar o Early, um personagem incrível que te surpreende e te encanta a cada palavra.
A edição da Darkside,
Andre  Aguiar
Jun 22, 2016 Andre Aguiar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-favorites
Quando terminei o primeiro capítulo, bastante emocionado, eu percebi que essa leitura seria incrível. Os temas (a distância entre pessoas, o luto, a amizade, a família, o diálogo...) foram abordados de uma maneira bem sutil, mas mexeram muito comigo. A narrativa fantástica da autora é emocionante e o texto dela é gostoso de ler, apaixonante, daqueles que você gosta de cada página (incluindo os agradecimentos!!). Lindo!
Oct 13, 2016 Rebekah rated it it was amazing
Oh. My. Word. Wow. THIS BOOK WAS OUTSTANDING. I put it on my TBR list after it was highly recommended to me by a couple friends. To say it was not a disappointment would be an understatement of the highest caliber.
I finished it in one day, the day after I got it from the library. That in itself says something about the story.
Throughout the entire book I was cheering Early on (an autistic boy who sees the number pi as a story), meanwhile sympathizing with the main character and Early's friend J
Jan 20, 2015 Lynai rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Lynai by: Louize
Shelves: 2015-books
What a heartwarming read. My throat constricted and I had tears on my eyes. Early, you are an amazing kid. Looking forward to reading Moon Over Manifest.
More thoughts soon.


It’s been a while since I’ve read a middle-grade/children’s book and I was excited when I learned that the book club’s book of the month for January has chosen a book along this genre. There is something soothing and uplifting in a children’s book and Navigating Early is no exception. It tells a strong story about
When a book is a slow-starter, it's not as tough as an audiobook. If you're halfway through the audiobook and you don't feel as if anything as happened, it's tough. Things definitely pick up halfway through, but will any kid stick with this? The reader is great. It's just a tough sell.
From a purely craft perspective I don't think that this book is remarkable (so my rating might change when I'm more objective idk). But I found myself sobbing as I read one of the Stargazer sections, and that says a hell of a lot, doesn't it?
Jonathan Trout
Sep 01, 2016 Jonathan Trout rated it it was amazing
Oh. My. Goodness. Guys. This book was amaaaazing. GAH. Literally one of the most well-written books I've ever read. Everything was woven together so perfectly to create a moving story with a valuable message.

So basically Early is autistic. (at least I think he is I don't remember if it was explicitly stated though) He reads the numbers in pi as the story of a young man. Jack is the main character, but through the book, Early tells Jack the story of Pi. Many of the chapters are from Pi's point o
Mar 13, 2013 Caren rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
I really wanted to read this book since I liked the author's Newbery-winning "Moon Over Manifest" so much, however, I nearly put it aside about halfway through. It was slow going in the beginning; very well-written, but it just didn't grab me. I didn't give up on it though, and it picked up considerably in the second half. Ms. Vanderpool is a super talented writer and the book is layered with nuance. It is a Bildungsroman, with the two main characters each searching for answers in a bewildering ...more
Mar 08, 2014 Beth rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Navigating Early has an old-school Newbery feel - not because it's historical fiction, but because it feels like a book that could have been published thirty years ago. It feels like a book I could have read growing up. I didn't know they published books like this anymore.

Navigating Early can be by-the-numbers in terms of plot, in that it's very well-plotted and all its threads tie in neatly. It feels familiar, in a way, but it still manages to be surprising. It's about loneliness and grief and
Gabriel Mar
Aug 15, 2016 Gabriel Mar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Achei maravilhoso para dizer o mínimo.
Esse livro carrega uma energia muito nostálgica para mim. Em muitas cenas eu imaginava os cenários daquele filme "A grande jornada", onde os protagonistas eram um cachorro esperto, um cachorro agitado e uma gatinha abusada. Os bichinhos atravessam milhas pra achar a família e aí rola uma super amizade entre eles.
Daí Em Algum Lugar nas Estrelas tem muito dessa vibe. A amizade entre Jackie e Early é uma das relações mais claras que eu já li, acontece do jeito
Oct 31, 2015 Alexa rated it it was amazing
In short, I loved this story: it was captivating, enchanting, and downright magical. I wasn’t so much engrossed in the story as absorbed by it. It made me feel things I hardly knew could be felt, and it just may be my new favorite historical ever. :D
If you'd like to read more of my thoughts on this book, you can find the full review on Verbosity Book Reviews
Louise Garnier
Jul 06, 2016 Louise Garnier rated it really liked it
Reading 'Navigating Early' made me remember why I love children's books. Simple stories that talk about important and relatable things are hard to find but Vanderpool was able to create one. Mixing reality and tale, we follow the story of two boys: one who has lost faith in life and another who has plenty of it. They are so different from each other that at first their relationship seems a little off. This was a nice touch to the story, creating a believable relationship between the two.

I don't
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Clare Vanderpool, recipient of the 2011 Newbery Award, is a resident of Wichita, Kansas. She has a degree in English and Elementary Education and enjoys reading, going to the pool with her children, the television show Monk, and visiting the bookstores in her town.
More about Clare Vanderpool...

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“Sometimes it's best not to see your whole path laid out before you. Let life surprise you...There are more stars out there than just the ones with names. And they're all beautiful.” 37 likes
“Finding your way doesn't mean you always know where you're going. It's knowing how to find your way back home that's important.” 26 likes
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