My Diary from the Edge of the World

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
My Diary from the Edge of the World Book Poster Image
Magical, heartbreaking story about family and friendship.

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Playfully builds off geography, Magellan's explorations, myths, and legends; may inspire kids to want to learn more.

Positive Messages

Ambition and resolve can only go so far -- not every problem will be resolved to your satisfaction. Families are a complex dynamic, often a cohesive team but sometimes divided by competing interests and desires. Who seems good sometimes depends on where you're standing. Kindness and empathy can overcome extraordinary divisions.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Very realistic family interaction: The Lockwoods love and appreciate one another, but they're often disappointed, angry, and frustrated with one another. Sometimes they come together as a cohesive team; other times, they grudgingly set aside their own wishes in deference to the needs of the family. Gracie is an astute observer, acknowledging both the strengths and faults in her loved ones and herself. 

Violence & Scariness

Fantasy violence; the story is set in a world where sasquatches, witches, mermaids, ghosts, angels, the Kraken, and more disrupt civilization, and characters repeatedly face deadly peril. A child is orphaned after a sasquatch attack. One character dies. Family is pursued by death in the form of a Dark Cloud. 

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that My Diary from the Edge of the World, by Jodi Lynn Anderson (Tiger Lily), is a stirring family adventure set in an alternate dimension, a world where Walmart sells sasquatch poison and people avoid lingering outdoors when the dragons are migrating. The family drama is very realistic: The children are often embarrassed and angry with their father, for example, and need to remind themselves to be nice to him. Death is stalking the family in the form of a cloud, floating silently and stubbornly after them to carry away a soul. Both adults and children are frequently in danger from wild creatures. Children worry about their parents' relationship. One character dies.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 9 year old Written byBeryle C. January 31, 2016

BEST BOOK EVER!!!!!!

If you are someone who likes adventure, suspense, and great description so you can picture things this is the book for you. One minute you'll be crying, an... Continue reading
Parent of an infant year old Written byBatfan7 March 26, 2016

Kind of depressing

In an effort to get away from a 'cloud of death' which is following one of the heroine's family members, the main character and her family embark... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bylauren122807 August 23, 2018
A great book but has lots of peril in it. Gracy wants to save her brother from the death cloud. Through out the second part of the book the captain of a ship s... Continue reading

What's the story?

Gracie Lockwood, 12, lives a fairly normal life (aside from the occasional run-in with a migrating dragon) until a Dark Cloud approaches her home to claim a soul. Fearing for the life of Gracie's sickly young brother, Sam, her family flees, taking orphaned friend Oliver with them aboard their Winnebago in a desperate search for the Extraordinary World, a place that might not even exist. They need to cross through dangerously wild territory, from the witch villages in the Great Smoky Mountains to the Kraken menacing the Southern Sea. Laughed at by skeptics, they hope to reach the edge of their flat world and discover the legendary Extraordinary World, a land where monsters -- and Dark Clouds -- can't break up their family. 

Is it any good?

Family, with all its delights and frustrations, anchors this winning fantasy that combines heartbreakingly realistic characters with a magically wild setting. Charming, observant Gracie straddles the line between childhood and adolescence, writing with drama and imaginative flair one moment and mature insight the next. In MY DIARY FROM THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, author Jodi Lynn Anderson depicts the familiar world skewed through a magical lens.

As with any family on a road trip, the Lockwoods share breathtaking experiences and push one another away with fractious squabbling. The monster-world twists -- westward railroads torn up by yetis and trolls, world war averted by poltergeists disrupting factories -- are a cleverly entertaining backdrop to a moving look at family, fate, and having the courage to move on.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of fantasy stories set in alternate versions of the real world. Do you prefer these to fully fabricated fantasy worlds?

  • Which part of the story most caught your interest here: the family relationships or the fantasy background?

  • Try writing a story taking an historical event and reimagining it with a fantasy twist.

Book details

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