Touch Blue
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Touch Blue

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  3,414 ratings  ·  412 reviews
An exquisite second novel from the Newbery Honor author of RULES! TOUCH BLUE, sure as certain, will touch your heart.

The state of Maine plans to shut down her island’s schoolhouse, which would force Tess’s family to move to the mainland--and Tess to leave the only home she has ever known. Fortunately, the islanders have a plan too: increase the numbers of students by havin...more
Hardcover, 186 pages
Published August 1st 2010 by Scholastic Press
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A very sweet, touching story. It's age-appropriate (9 to 12, I should think), but it truly shows the anguish and loss foster children go through as a regular part of their lives. Tess sounds like a very recognizable, real eleven-year-old girl, and the author integrated the rural island setting very well into the story. The ending was great, too -- it was conclusive and hopeful, not all neatly-wrapped-up-live-happily-ever-after, but more like how real life would be. I think 9-to-12s, particularly...more
Tess's island town takes in foster children in order to keep their local school open. I didn't like this book. Her first book, Rules, worked because it had a foundation of authenticity to it that was totally lacking in this one, except for maybe three pages near the end. There are wonderful stories to be written about children in foster care, but they're grittier than this one, and more complicated. Not necessarily sadder, but harder. The present tense seemed forced and the luck theme seemed gim...more
Barb Middleton
“Touch blue and your wish will come true.”

Tess Brooks believes in luck. She stands on the pier waiting for her new foster brother, Aaron, to step off the ferry at Bethsaida island thinking about luck. Luck that Aaron will like her family. Luck that school won’t be closed. But then she spots Aaron and his red hair that shines out of the crowd like a beacon. Her heart sags; everyone knows it’s unlucky to ride a boat with a red-head.

This is the setup for the story where Aaron has to learn to live w...more
TOUCH BLUE was one of those books that I read quickly because I loved it so much...and then slowly toward the end, because even though I was desperate to find out how these characters' stories played out, I was so, so sad to leave them behind on the last page. I shouldn't have worried, though - the characters in TOUCH BLUE are the kind that stay with you long after you finish reading.

There's hopeful Tess, who waits on the shore for the ferry boat bringing her father with the new foster kid who's...more
Touch Blue and your wish will come true. This is the story of a girl from a small island in Maine. Small enough that the state is planning on shutting down the island's school. So the families on the island get together and make a plan to foster children in order to get the school's numbers up.

Tess (11) and her family foster a 13-year-old boy named Aaron. Aaron has a hard time with island life, and Tess keeps wishing on her lucky objects hoping things will change. When Tess learns she has to mak...more
cute...but better (and funnier) when I read it the first time, when it was called surviving the applewhites ;)
Tess firmly believes in luck and does all sorts of things to try and capture some of it. But wishes and luck are difficult things to grab ahold of as Tess quickly discovers. On her island home, the number of children have fallen below the threshold to have a school. If nothing is done, Tess and her family will have to leave the island and Tess will be unable to become a fisherman the way she wants to. So the islanders decide to take in foster children to both increase the number of children on t...more
Ali Burns
I am currently reading the book Touch Blue, and all i can say is WOW! It is a really touching book about a foster child that a girl and her family take in. You can really see the struggles of someone who is a little "different" because his parents couldn't help support him so they thought that he would have a better life as a foster child, which is better than living with a drug addict mom and a drunken dad. Nobody really ever realizes how hard it can be if your not "normal", but what is normal?...more
Abby Johnson
Eleven-year-old Tess knows what she wants. She wants to stay on her tiny island home forever and she wants to be a fisherman when she grows up. She wants this plan to work because she can't even think about moving to the mainland and starting all over. The plan? To save their tiny island school from being shut down, island families have agreed to take in foster children. Which is how Aaron comes to live with them. Tess is hoping that Aaron will be like Anne from Anne of Green Gables - a feisty f...more
Ellen Brandt
11 year old Tess loves living on a small island in Maine with her fisherman father, school teacher mother and little sister - but the state is threatening to close the island's school house due to declining enrollment. Tess' family may have to make some very hard choices soon.
The islanders come up with a plan to increase enrollment by taking in foster children. This too requires some hard choices.
The story really resonated with me; partly because I read it while in Maine, and partly because one...more
Siobhan Parker
A Quickie Review

When a Maine island's school is threatened to be shut down by the state's government, the residents of the isle adopt kids in an attempt to save their schoolhouse. Narrated by 11-year-old Tess, the story is as innocent as a Disney Channel Original Movie, and even portrays hymns, a preacher, and Christian faith in a positive light. However, some discussion of "wishing" superstition is odd, given the rest of the book. It's nothing special, but Touch Blue was a mildly enjoyable read...more
Colby Sharp
When I think of a book that involves a foster family I think Bud, Not Buddy. What I loved about Touch Blue was that it was told not from the point of view of the orphan, but the point of view of a young girl whose family is taking in a foster child. Reading a story from that angle felt fresh and extremely engaging. Throw in a small island town taking in foster children to keep their one-room schoolhouse open and you got yourself an excellent middle grade novel.
I never really fell in love with any of the characters in this book. Aaron didn't seem all that believable to me as a 13 year old boy. Tess's family is great, but maybe just a bit too great.

It was an interesting premise, but it didn't pull me around emotionally like I expected after reading the jacket flap...
Heartwarming, sweet, and evocative, TOUCH BLUE is the story of Tess and her family, who live on an island off the coast of Maine and become one of five families to take in a foster child in hopes of keeping their island schoolhouse open. Complex emotions, authentic voice, and characters that leap off the page.
After rules caught me by surprise, i should have known that just because a cynthia lord book's subject matter wasn't my usual i was going to enjoy it... And its another homerun, with strong characters and a warm soul!
Jan 28, 2011 Marcia rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Marcia by: Heather
Shelves: grades-4-6
I enjoyed this new addition to the foster child genre. A beautiful Maine Island setting, folks intent on saving their school, and a strong family willing to open their home to another child make this a wonderful book.
It was awesome! It was short, so a quick one to read, but i am so doing my report on this one! God, now I have to tackle The Lost Choice.
Bre Severance
It was a good book. but its not the best. it was cool tho!!
have not read
I wish that all authors were as good as Cynthia Lord at taking the extraordinary personal experiences of their own lives and coming up with novels of meaning and depth that are based on those experiences. This is just what she first did so remarkably well with her debut novel, Rules, and she has done it again with the emergence of Touch Blue.

What Cynthia Lord's two books have most closely in common is that they allow us a look into a lifestyle that most of us aren't familiar with up close—copi...more
Lydia LaPutka
After reading Lord's book Rules, this book was a disappointment. While Rules had memorable characters, Touch Blue did not. Tess, the eleven-year-old main character, was superstitious and enjoyed fishing with her dad. What else? I have no recollection. Memorable characters, good and bad, help to engage the reader.

Aaron, the foster boy Tess's family took in, was a bit more memorable, but I never felt like I truly understood what he had been through. There were a few hints, but nothing to enlighten...more
June Morgan
Most of the time, people do not have to worry about the enrollment of a school. However, on an island off the Maine coast, they may lose their school if there are not enough students enrolled. Of course, none of the island dwellers want to send their children to the mainland. The citizens have the idea to bring children who are under the care of child welfare to stay with families on the island.
Tess's family is paired up with Aaron, a talented young man who seems to have been passed around the s...more
I loved Touch Blue by Cynthia Lord. It is on our 4th grade reading list at my school and I will be highly recommending it to the students when they return.

The main character, Tess, is an eleven-year-old who lives on a small island off the coast of Maine. She is always carrying around her lucky charms and has lots of maritime superstitions, which helps since her father runs a lobster boat. However, Tess’ luck may soon run out when the state threatens to shut the school she attends and where her...more
Tess Brooks lives on a small island off the coast of Maine. She really hopes the island's school doesn't close due to low enrollment because her mom's the teacher and if the school closes Tess's family will have to move to the mainland. In an attempt to keep their school open, several island families, including the Brooks, take in foster children to increase the number of students. Aaron, Tess's new foster brother, is not at all what she expected. For one thing, he hates life on the island and i...more
Nov 27, 2010 Jill rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Nicole
Better than a 3-star, but not as great as a 4-star. Story of my reading life!!

I heard about this book when I was subbing in sixth grade at my old elementary school. This author also wrote Rules, which I very much enjoyed.

I really liked this book from the very beginning. It is about a community who lives on an island off of Maine. They have a one-room schoolhouse, but the state is threatening to shut it down because of declining enrollment - so a bunch of the families on the island take in foster...more
NewFranklin School
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Sarah BT
I was a big fan of Cynthia Lord's debut novel, Rules, so I had high hopes for Touch Blue. While I don't think it's as good as Rules, I still really enjoyed it and I think Ms. Lord is a fantastic storyteller.

I felt like Ms. Lord had looked into my childhood and wrote this book. I was never as superstitious as Tess, but I did my fair share of wishing and coming up with my own ways to figure out if something would work out the way I wanted. Tess's hopes for her foster brother are exactly what I ha...more
Victoria Whipple
Tess's school on a small Maine island is threatened with closure when her best friends' family moves away, thus reducing the school's population by 5 students. Some islanders come up with the solution of hosting foster children to fill those empty spots. Tess's family is one that volunteers to foster a child, thirteen year old Aaron. Tess has high hopes that she will be gaining a new sibling who will love all the things she does. But when she meets brooding, quiet Aaron she's not so excited. Aar...more
"Sometimes you have to stop trying to control everything and let life happen the way it's supposed to, Tess. Even if it's not exactly the way you wanted."

Touch Blue was a charming book about an eleven-year-old girl, Tess, her family, a foster child, a bully, and a quaint town that is close to losing their only school. The premise was interesting: families decide to bring in foster children to help save the school, but the story went beyond that.

Bringing in a foster child creates a certain stress...more
The state of Maine plans to shut down her island’s schoolhouse, which would force Tess’s family to move to the mainland, and Tess to leave the only home she has ever known. Fortunately, the islanders have a plan too: increase the numbers of students by having several families take in foster children. So now Tess & her family are taking a chance on Aaron, a thirteen-year-old trumpet player who has been bounced from home to home. And Tess needs a plan of her own & all the luck she can must...more
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I'm the author of the children's book, RULES."
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“Stay because you want to be here. Stay because we would miss you. And stay because you can belong in more than one place, and one of your places is with us.” 18 likes
“People say it's better to know the truth, but what if the ending's a bad one? Is it still better to know? Or is it kinder to keep that string of hope dangling? To believe that maybe if you just wait long enough, everything could still end the way you want.” 12 likes
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