Parents' Guide to

The Turtle of Michigan

By Mary Krawczyk, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Affirming, gentle story about boy's move from Oman to U.S.

Turtle swimming underwater in the reeds

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This affirming, uplifting story offers a glimpse of what it's like to adjust to life in a new country. It's fun to experience new things through Aref's eyes, like flying on an airplane or seeing snow for the first time. The kindness and care of family, neighbors, and community in the story is heartwarming. There's also some gentle humor in Aref's everyday explorations of his new surroundings. Aref's close bond with his grandfather is evident through their correspondence and memories of times together.

The Turtle of Michigan will appeal most to readers who appreciate author Naomi Shihab Nye's poetic prose and a slower-paced story. Readers who've moved to new place or new school may find it relatable. Aref and his parents arrive at a community that's completely welcoming. Aref's school is very diverse and inclusive. His biggest worry is how to correct classmates who mispronounce his name. While this positive take is assuring and inspiring, it may ring less true for readers who have faced more difficult challenges when moving to a new home or country.

Book Details

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