Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool


When thirteen-year-old John Baker enters Morton Hill Academy for Boys, he feels lost. He has lost his mother, his life-long home in Kansas, and his sense of direction. As he struggles to find his place, John is drawn to Early Auden, a boy as odd as he is sure of himself. Early knows that numbers come in colors, shapes, and textures. He knows there are timber rattlesnakes in Maine, and he knows he has a journey to make along the Great Appalachian Trail.

John joins Early on his quest, each searching for something they have lost. As they encounter river pirates, catacombs, and the Great Appalachian Bear, Early finds what he is searching for while John finds his place in the world. Navigating Early is a powerful story of loyalty, love, and the connectedness of people. Early is a wonderfully crafted character, heartwarming in his surety and heart wrenching in his humanness. While his strange ways are often misunderstood, he helps others better understand themselves. This book is an exciting adventure story for young readers with depth and life lessons for readers of all ages.

Recommended ages-10 and up

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