Nim's Island

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Nim's Island Book Poster Image
Lighthearted, satisfying survival story.

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive messages

Strong messages about resourcefulness.

Violence & scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that that there is little to be concerned about here, other than the premise of the story, which is that a father leaves his young daughter alone on a deserted island for several days.

User Reviews

Parent of a 3 and 7 year old Written byKaffeeKatz January 3, 2012
Parent of a 8 and 10 year old Written byJojano April 1, 2011

Fun to read the book together and then watch the movie

Although this book is easy enough for both of my kids to read to themselves (ages 7 & 9), I read this book aloud to them. We thought it would be fun to... Continue reading
Kid, 7 years old April 9, 2008

A must read book for 6 and up!

This book is very adventurous,funny and great for us kids!
Kid, 9 years old April 9, 2008

What's the story?

Since the presumed death of her mother many years ago, Nim and her scientist father live alone on an island in the middle of the ocean, connected to the world only by satellite phone and email. But when her father goes off on his sailboat to research plankton and doesn't return on schedule, Nim, alone on the island, turns to her favorite author for help.

Is it any good?

This understated, easy-to-read tale, written with a light and loving touch, is a near-perfect middle-grade novel. Take a spunky heroine competently surviving on her own on a deserted island (the ultimate kid fantasy). Add in animal friends who seem to understand, the vaguest of villains hovering in the background and easily overcome, a smattering of scientific information effortlessly absorbed, and a very satisfying conclusion. Then write it in breezy style, making the various pieces of the story fit together in a nicely coincidental, jigsaw-puzzle way. All together it makes for one delightful story.

As with other island survival tales, kids will want to be Nim, and her story will stimulate readers' fantasy lives. Unlike most of those other stories, it adds in touches of fantasy and humor to keep the gritty and sometimes scary reality of survival at a distance. In that way it's more similar to the non-island survival story, My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George. Most of the fantasy comes from the animals which, while still real animals, are usually intelligent and helpful, and are anthropomorphized just enough to turn them into characters. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what's real and what's not in the story. Could animals behave this way? Could people live this way? Could they still have phone and email on a deserted island in the middle of the ocean? Could a child survive alone? Would you have done anything different in Nim's situation?

Book details

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