Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool

Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool is one of the 2015 Rhode Island Children Book Award Nominees.  Vanderpool has also written Moon Over Manifest, a Newbery Award book.   Navigating Early is a true adventure story that takes place in the mountains of Maine.  In Vanderpool's story, her character, Early Auden is fascinated with the story that the number pi (3.14...) tells him, about a boy named Pi.  When Jack Baker moves to Maine from Kansas, to attend a boarding school for boys after his mother's death, Early and Jack become friends.  Both of the boys have had to face the loss of beloved family members, Jack's mother, and Early's brother.  The story of Pi is set within the story of Early and Jack.  Early and Jack set out on a quest together to search for Pi, who is missing.  The quest is a dangerous one.  The boys will be threatened by frightening gun-toting men, hunted by dogs,  and faced with a huge bear.  Can the boys survive the wilderness and find what they have lost?  Read Navigating Early to decide if you want to vote for it in February of 2015.

At the end of the story the author references Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant: A Memoir by Daniel Tammet.  I was glad that I had already read this book and remember how fascinated I was by the author, who saw numbers in colors and sizes and shapes, just like Early Auden.   If you are interested in understanding someone who thinks differently than you, you can listen to Daniel Tammet giving a talk about how he sees numbers and words.  He shows paintings that express how numbers, including pi, look to him.

Reviewed by Mrs. Castro

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