Touch Blue

Touch Blue

by Cynthia Lord


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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 having several families take in foster children. So now Tess and her family are taking a chance on Aaron, a thirteen-year-old trumpet player who has been bounced from home to home. And Tess needs a plan of her own--and all the luck she can muster. Will Tess's wish come true or will her luck run out?

Newbery Honor author Cynthia Lord offers a warm-hearted, humorous, and thoughtful look at what it means to belong--and how lucky we feel when we do. Touch Blue, sure as certain, will touch your heart.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780545035323
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 06/01/2012
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 166,804
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Cynthia Lord is the award-winning author of Rules, a Newbery Honor Book and a Schneider Family Book Award winner, as well as the critically acclaimed Half a Chance and A Handful of Stars. She made her picture-book debut with Hot Rod Hamster, which won several awards, including the Parents' Choice Award, and is the author of the Shelter Pet Squad chapter book series. She lives in Maine with her family. Visit her at

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Touch Blue 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 51 reviews.
The_smart_warriors_reader More than 1 year ago
I read this after Rules. I didn't think it would be great, but I couldn't find anything else at the library. It surprised me! I loved it. You can relate to the characters, and just like Rules, it isn't just a meaningless story, it talks about important topics. It might not be for everybody, but I am giving it five stars.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
The residents of a small island community off the coast of Maine have been told their island school is in danger of being closed by the state. The news has some of those residents taking action. Here's the plan - a few families have agreed to take foster children into their homes, hoping that the added students are enough to save their school. Tess Brooks has reason to be doubly excited about the arrival of thirteen-year-old Aaron. First of all, her mother is the one and only teacher at their small school, and closing the school would mean her losing her job. If that happens, Tess knows her family would be forced to move from the island to the mainland so her mother could get a new job. All Tess has ever known is island life. Moving would mean leaving the best place on Earth. The other reason Tess has to be excited is that Aaron's arrival means she will have a big brother. He may be only two years older, but Tess is used to being the oldest and she thinks it would be nice to have someone else as a companion besides her usually annoying little sister. What Tess is not expecting is that Aaron might not love the island like she does. He is polite enough, but he's mostly moody and quiet and not even interested in exploring his new home. Aaron spends his time in his attic room playing his trumpet. It takes all of Tess's skill and patience to convince him to join her in enjoying the summer on the island. As Aaron comes out of his shell, Tess discovers his secrets and concerns and vows to help him solve his biggest problem. Cynthia Lord's new book, TOUCH BLUE, is the emotional story of a group of well-meaning people and how they touch the life of one lonesome, confused boy. Readers will enjoy Lord's humor as well as her colorful descriptions of the picturesque little island and its interesting mix of inhabitants. I also enjoyed that each chapter begins with one of the superstitions Tess religiously believes help to guide her through life.
Lawral More than 1 year ago
Tess certainly has a lot of worries. Not only has her best friend leaving left her without a companion all summer (and we won't even talk about how Amy's letters to Tess have become less and less frequent), but it could cause her to lose her whole life as she knows it. And Tess cannot have that. She's happy on the island, loves being able to see the ocean all around her. She loves going lobstering with her father all summer long, and she loves going to school in a one-room schoolhouse with every other kid on the island. Losing all of that to move to a landlocked town where all the kids already know each other and don't need a lobster girl for a friend would be devastating. Tess is all for the plan to save the school and is excited to have a foster kid stay with her family. She has read plenty of books about foster kids (apparently the state cannot afford to keep a one-room schoolhouse on this island, but a well-stocked library is no problem). In her mind, Aaron is the 12 year old boy version of Anne of Green Gables and she cannot wait to have a bosom friend again to run around the island with. As Aaron spends more time on the island, Tess has to admit that he is more Gilly Hopkins than Anne. Then, finally, she realizes that he isn't a character from a book (ha), but a kid who misses the life he left behind just as much as she would miss her island if she had to leave it. Aaron and the other foster kids try to settle into life on the island, and Tess, her family, and the rest of the island start to accept the foster kids as their own. And somewhere along the way Aaron and Tess become friends. For so much of the book, Tess is grasping at straws with Aaron, afraid to offend him or trying to shield him from other people on the island, and Aaron is so stand-off-ish and hesitant to let Tess or her family in. Then they finally share a secret. He lets his guard down a little and she starts treating him like any other friend. I wanted SO BADLY for things to work out for them, even as I thought that their secret plan to make things right was a horrible idea. Lord has managed to create two compelling characters in a small amount of time, and she does it through, really, a series of tiffs and misunderstandings. The fact that these normal kids are in this bizarre situation where Tess's continued happiness requires that Aaron not attain what he dreams to be his (being reunited with his family and mainland life) makes it all the more interesting and complicated. Still, in the end Touch Blue ends up being a sweet story about two kids dealing with BIG things like adults that let you down and situations that are beyond anyone's control. But it's also about lobsters, good luck charms, and a five year old sister who always wants to play Monopoly. Book source: Advanced reader copy picked up at ALA
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its a realy good book anybody would love it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book for middle school readers...touches on important topics...nice Maine setting, too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was great.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is really good and detailed i had to read for school i really like this book i really want to read rules but i haven't found the time i think any one could like this book if they really get into and take the time to read it not just rush through, if you just rush through it won't be that interesting and it will not make much sense
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
U have to read this the best ....... From the brudle begging to the heart touching end it will truly stay in ur hart .... Read... an cry r the emotions
mariamMA More than 1 year ago
I never read Cynthia Lord's first book, Rules, but after reading TouchBlue I will definitely now! Tess is an appealing character, she is very suspicious about about good and bad luck. She keeps all her good luck charms in her pocket and rubs different ones for luck. She had to rub for good luck alot once her new foster brother Aaron arrived on the Island to save the Island school from shutting down due to the lack of students that attend the school. Aaron just wants to belong and be in his own family, but after his mom's mishapes and grandmother's death, he is now living with his third family on an Island in Maine. The story kept me wanting to read on to see how everything works out for Tess, Aaron, and the Island. I thought it was very interesting how the chapter names were actually quotes in the chapter. Lord gave a glimpse of what was in the chapter.I enjoyed reading it and I think that a fourth or fifth grader would appreciate the story.
bclanphere on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful story about a small island off the coast of Maine that is in danger of losing their only school due to not enough children on the island. The islanders came up with a plan to have willing families take in foster children to make up the difference. The main character, 11 year old Tess, will have one of the new foster kids living with her family. Aaron is a 13 year old, redheaded, trumpet playing boy, with a lot of issues to deal with: being removed form his mother's care at 5, living the next 6 years with his grandmother until she dies, and two more foster homes after that. Aaron doesn't really want to bond with his now family, but Tess is desperate for this plan to work, because she doesn't want to lose her home on the island. She tries so hard to get Aaron to open up, that she drives him into running away. The book is great for kids learning about challenging family dynamics and how different people handle life-issues differently. The book is filled with little quips of superstition and old sayings, like ¿Touch blue and your wish will come true,¿ and ¿A rainbow mean change is coming.¿ Each chapter begins with the saying as the title, then the narrative is built around the saying. I loved how the author used this strategy to tell Tess's story and make the book interesting and enjoyable. I think this would be a great book for a Tween that is either a foster child, or has/will have a foster child living their family. Grade 4 ¿ 7.
bell7 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tess lives on an island off the coast of Maine, and she can't imagine any other life than hers, going to the one room schoolhouse where her mother teacher and fishing lobster with her father. But year-round islanders have been moving to the mainland, leaving fewer and fewer kids on the island. To keep their school from closing, a few families decide to take in foster kids, keeping the numbers up enough to satisfy the state. Aaron comes to live with Tess, her sister Libby, and their parents. Tess and Libby imagine what it might be like to have Aaron live with him, but neither of them expect what actually happens that summer.I read Newbery Honor-winning Rules by the same author a few years ago, so I was really excited to see a new book out by Cynthia Lord. This is the sort of story that I enjoyed reading as a child when, much like Tess, I was reading The Great Gilly Hopkins and Anne of Green Gables. Tess narrates the story, sharing her fears about moving to the mainland, her nervousness about friends, and her attempts at finding good luck. When she misunderstood some of Aaron's actions, I cringed with sympathy for both, understanding (as an adult, especially) where they were coming from. A sweet story I would recommend to readers who enjoy character-driven realistic fiction.
foggidawn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tess believes in luck. By the good-luck items she carries in her pockets and the little rituals she observes every day, she lets the universe know what she wants. All of Tess's luck, however, may not be enough to keep her life from changing for the worse. The state of Maine has declared that the little island community where Tess lives is not large enough to support a school. Tess's family depends on the school, not only for Tess and her little sister Libby's education, but because teaching there is her mother's job, as well. The islanders have come up with a plan to keep the school open: several families, including Tess's, will take in foster children. Tess is excited to meet her new foster-brother Aaron, but she's not prepared for the sullen, lonely boy who arrives in her family, convinced that he will be there for only a short time before moving on again. In reaching out to Aaron, Tess comes up with a plan to help him settle in to his new life on the island -- but will all of her luck be enough to help Aaron finally feel at home? This middle-grade novel is sweet, funny, and touching. Like several other recent books, it references well-known children's literature titles, including Anne of Green Gables, Bud, Not Buddy, and The Great Gilly Hopkins. The homage to these other titles may spark ideas for further reading in some children, but others may find the allusions to other works irritating. Despite its short length and relatively easy vocabulary, this is a book for young readers who are enthusiastic about books and reading. For those readers, it is an excellent choice.
theCajunLibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Eleven year-old Tess faces the possibility of having to move from the small island that has always been her family's home. In an effort to populate the island with enough school age children to keep the school open, several families become foster families. Tess is excited about having a brother who is close in age, but she is disappointed when she realizes that her foster brother Aaron resents his relocation to the island. The relationship that forms between Tess, Aaron, and the rest of the family is heartwarming and encouraging.
prkcs on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When the state of Maine threatens to shut down their island's one-room schoolhouse because of dwindling enrollment, eleven-year-old Tess, a strong believer in luck, and her family take in a trumpet-playing foster child, to increase the school's population.
ahernandez91 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tess and her family live on a small island in Maine. After a few of the islanders move to the mainland, the state considers closing down the one and only school on the island. This would really affect Tess' family because her mom is the only teacher at the school and the family really depends on her income and health insurance. The Reverend on the island comes up with an idea for a few families to serve as foster parents to children to increase the population and keep the school open. Tess' family agrees to it and gets a red head boy named, Aaron. The family goes through battles with him, but in the end they have a happy ending and they are all happy to be family. This book is so uplifting and inspirational. This is a book that I'd read to my class to show them that not everyone is as lucky as most to have loving, caring, steady families. It also has a good plot line with many characters, conflict, and climax. This is an all around fabulous book!
YouthGPL on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tess lives on an island off the coast of Maine where the State is threatening to close their school if they don¿t get more children on the island for the school year. That means that Tess¿ family would have to move since they rely on her mother¿s salary as the school teacher. So the island community decides to welcome some foster children to bring up the numbers, and Tess¿ family gets an older boy named Aaron. Tess had certain ideas about how their relationship would be, and of course most of those ideas are wrong. Tess is superstitious, and always wants things to work out. She has to learn how to work with things that are not just as they should be, including Aaron and his feelings and life off the island. This is a pretty simple story with an interesting background ¿ the island community is entertaining and fully developed. Tess and her family are understandable too, and the story doesn¿t promise more than it delivers. Pretty good story on friendship and island life.
meggyweg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 foster children or children from families who take in foster children, will really enjoy this book and benefit from it.
phh333 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I like this new book by Cynthia Lord. In this book a small island town faces loosing its school due to dropping enrollment numbers. There solution is to take in foster kids. The book centers on one family who takes in a boy who has been shuffled from family to family while his mom deals with addiction problems. It is a good story of acceptance and learning to function as a family when the family gains a new member. And how to adapt when you've lost everything you've known - family, home, friends and school.
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Hi i love this book its really good i read it and it was really tuching and heart worming
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Whoops. Dx
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book
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