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Touch Blue

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  4,915 ratings  ·  461 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
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Hardcover, 186 pages
Published August 1st 2010 by Scholastic Press
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Mockingjay by Suzanne CollinsOut of My Mind by Sharon M. DraperOne Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-GarciaCountdown by Deborah WilesMockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
Newbery 2011
15th out of 147 books — 498 voters
Out of My Mind by Sharon M. DraperFinally by Wendy MassMockingbird by Kathryn ErskineCountdown by Deborah WilesBecause of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea
Mock Newbery 2010/2011
11th out of 82 books — 196 voters


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Community Reviews

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Sarah
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
Meaghan
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
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
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Kate
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
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Jayne
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
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Kristin
cute...but better (and funnier) when I read it the first time, when it was called surviving the applewhites ;)
Tasha
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
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Jerry
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
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Andree
Touch Blue

I hope this becomes a popular book. I loved it. The sentiments expressed by the narrator, 11 year old Tess Brooks, are important and are expressed well. She wants Aaron, her foster brother, to feel at home with her family in Maine. Tess devises an unusual method of helping Aaron overcome anger and grief. But Tess also grows and learns that there are worse things to lose than your school and home. This is a Vermont DCF Book Award nominee for 2011-2012.
Kelly Hager
I absolutely love this book.

Tess has a whole list of minor superstitions. She's not OCD or anything; it's not like she can't do something if, say, a black cat crosses her path. But instead, it's more like she knows things will be lucky (or unlucky, as the case may be) if she just follows these very simple rules.

But what's most important, however, is that the small school on her island stays open. Otherwise, her family will have to move, and she loves her home. But in order for it to stay open,
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Linnea
genre: realistic

summary: Tess and her family live on a tiny island of the coast of Maine. There are a handful of other families with children on the island. The children all attend school in a tiny schoolhouse on the island and are taught by Tess's mom. But when a few families move to the mainland, the State of Maine wants to close the schoolhouse. This would mean that Tess's family would have to move to the mainland. Tess would leave her friends, her only home, and the only life she has ever kn
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Kelly
From School Library Journal 9/1/2010

Gr 4–7—Tess Brooks, 11, believes in luck, wishes, and superstitions. When the state of Maine threatens to close her Bethsaida Island school because there aren't enough students, she and her family will be forced to move to the mainland, and Tess loves her island life. Reverend Beal comes up with an idea to expand the school population, and the Brooks family does its part by taking in a 13-year-old foster child. Tess doesn't give up hope even though Aaron is u
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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.
Kristi
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...
Erin
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.
Shawn
I was impressed with this book. An issue that's often left unheard in children's literature: both sides of the story. I love how the author brings about to the conclusion of the story by allowing people to be human. The characters were allowed to be a little bit selfish, allowed to be fragile, and allowed to be giving. Her ending was actually a new beginning. It was a great story of adoption fostering the whole welfare system from a different point of view. In most young adult literature today t ...more
Joshua
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!
Marcia
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.
Caroline
Yet another book that was part of my students' author study project.

I definitely enjoyed reading it, and I know my kids really loved it, but it also felt a little formulaic. The conflict just felt like it was resolved a little too easily, and the character change was a little too neat. I would have liked a little more struggle. I've also read Cynthia Lord's other book, and I liked that the main character there was a little bit more tortured by her circumstances. I wanted that for this book too.
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Leslie
A sweet story that I enjoyed thoroughly, even with a fairly predictable/pat ending. The narration on the audiobook was excellent. Solid middle grade read.
Clare
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.
Virginia
On a small island just off the NE coast of the US, a small community of people have lived, worked, played, and raised families together. When their one-room school is threatened with closing due to low enrollment, some families in the community decide to take on foster children who need places to stay, and can boost th
e school enrollment at the same time. Tess brooks' family has decided to foster a 14 year-old boy named Aaron. Tess has all kinds of hopes and plans for the things she can do with
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Bre Severance
It was a good book. but its not the best. it was cool tho!!
Stephanie
Well written and fascinating book about the foster care system and the motivation to share you life with a foster child. This book had me concerned at many points about how it may turn out and I was pleased with the ending, not exactly how I wanted it to end but satisfied none the less! This would be a good book to use with my students who have experienced foster care and have abandonment issues, there would be many great discussions, I am sure! I enjoy this author and will continue to read what ...more
Dolly
This is a heartwarming tale about growing up on an island and the complications of bringing a foster child into your home. The narrative is fairly short but emotionally powerful, combining superstitions and lucky charms about life on the ocean along with the everyday ups and downs of family life.

This book was selected by our girls' book club and we all enjoyed the discussion. I appreciated that the author did not shy away from the fact that Aaron's mother is an alcoholic and she didn't suddenly
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Josiah
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
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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.” 20 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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