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Touch Blue

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  5,260 ratings  ·  478 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
Hardcover, 186 pages
Published August 1st 2010 by Scholastic Press
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Out of My Mind by Sharon M. DraperMockingjay by Suzanne CollinsOne Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-GarciaCountdown by Deborah WilesMockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
Newbery 2011
15th out of 147 books — 505 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
12th out of 95 books — 204 voters

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Community Reviews

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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
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
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
Aaron Twardzik
The main characters in touch blue are Tess, Libby, and Aaron. Aaron is the foster child that Libby and Tess' family adopted. His mom was told she could not raise him and his grandmother started to take care of him, unfortunately she died a few years after she took him in. So he went to a foster home and lived there until he was 13. The reason he was adopted along with a lot of other foster children was because the mayor of Maine threatened to shut down the island school because there were not en ...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
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
Rebecca McNutt
Original, creative and eye-opening, Touch Blue shows readers how small towns are gradually falling victim to the 21st century (here in Canada it's Newfoundland and Nova Scotia that are being most affected), but this book has a lot more to offer than that - it's a story of acceptance, of children from broken families and of a brighter future. Vibrantly-written and filled with unforgettable characters, this was an amazing book.
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
Alyssa F
This book has 186 pages. I think the main character Tess is like me because she also has a little sister who sometimes annoys her but still loves her. This book reminds me of another book I read that takes on a foster child and the foster child does not like it there in the start but ends up liking them in the end. I gave this book five stars because its one of the best books i ever read. I think the ending of this book is the best part.
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
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,
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
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shelley Sly
I enjoy Cynthia Lord's writing and absolutely loved Rules, but Touch Blue fell short of a five-star rating for an important reason (to me, anyway.)

I'm familiar with the foster care system in the U.S., and though this book was mostly accurate (especially compared to other books out there), I think Cynthia Lord hit the reader a little too hard with explanations for WHY things happen in foster care situations. Why Aaron acts the way he does, why his mom may act the way she does, etc.

I wish these t
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.
This was a surprisingly beautiful little book. Instead of being the simple, heartwarming story of a neglected boy who finds a loving new home on an island in Maine, this was a story about a girl growing up. She learns the difficult (but not too painful) lesson that, "…we'll go on, whatever comes. 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." (173) I think the power of this story lies in th ...more
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.
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
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.
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.
This book is about Tess she lives on a small island in Maine. The school may have to close down due to the lack of kids. Tess can't bear to think about having to move. The Reverend come up with an idea for the families to take in foster kids. Aaron comes to live with Tess and her family. At first he wants to have no part in their family and the island they live on. Tess tries to make Aaron feel welcome and enjoy the island. After a while Aaron become more open to the family. Along the way their ...more
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.
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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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