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Gifts from the Sea Hardcover – June 10, 2003

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 990L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (June 10, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375822577
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375822575
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,114,133 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-6-Quila MacFarlane's father tends the lighthouse on Devil's Rock, a remote island off the coast of Maine, and when her mother dies, the lonely 12-year-old assumes the role of cook and housekeeper. One day, after a ship goes down, she finds two small mattresses tied together. Inside is a baby. Now the girl has more work than ever, but Celia brings new life to the island, even giving some joy to Quila's grieving father. But then a woman arrives, wanting to say good-bye to her sister who died in a shipwreck, and Quila and Papa realize that she is Celia's aunt. Quila is torn between hating this stranger who threatens to take the child away, and loving her for the friendship she brings. Similar in theme and style to Patricia MacLachlan's Sarah, Plain and Tall (HarperCollins, 1985), this is a lovingly drawn portrait of a girl and her father struggling to cope with a devastating loss. Quila's ever-shifting feelings of resentment, guilt, and love toward her father, Celia, and Celia's aunt are perfectly captured and believable, as are her conflicting desires to be responsible and to be free to enjoy her childhood. Interspersed throughout the novel are details of the lonely, difficult life as a lighthouse keeper in 1858. Pedersen's stylized, almost folksy pencil drawings appear throughout the text. This is a compelling novel, with small suspenseful moments to draw readers in, and a brave and thoughtful heroine.
Ashley Larsen, Woodside Library, CA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 2-5. This quiet, somewhat predictable historical novel takes place in what seems to be the eighteenth-century fictional setting of a Maine lighthouse. Narrator Aquila, 12 when the story opens, mourns her mother, who has just died, but finds solace in Celia, the baby she rescues after a ship sinks. Two years pass before the baby's aunt arrives and threatens to take the child away. Aquila cannot bear to part with Celia and risks both their lives before everything works out for the best. Details about the island, the upkeep of the lighthouse, and everyday tasks that derive from life during days gone by create an effective backdrop for a story that offers just enough action in 12 short chapters to keep children involved. Like the author's Lumber Camp Library (2002) and A Doctor Like Papa (2002), this tale with a strong girl protagonist and a happy ending will appeal to historical fiction fans ready for something a shade more challenging than the original American Girl books. Kathleen Odean
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 19 customer reviews
It's a very sweet story, and it was nostalgic for me.
Mia H. Sullivan
I have read this aloud to 2 different classes in school.
My son and I started reading this book at the same time.
K. Groh

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
Gifts From the Sea by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock takes place at Maine's coastline. It is set in the 1840's at Devil's Rock lighthouse.

Quila, Papa and Celia are the main characters in this book. Quila's mother just died so she is really sad and her father is very quiet. One day when Quila is exploring the beach she sees a two mattresses tied together floating on the water. In between the two mattresses is a little baby who they name Cecelia (Celia for short). Celia fills most of the hole left in Quila's heart from her mother's death. Two years after Quila found Celia the ocean brings something that could tear Quila's heart and new family apart once again.

I don't really have a favorite part in this book. One of the parts that I did like though was when Quila told Celia her favorite story so that she would go to sleep. I liked this part because the story that she told her had many details and it was very interesting.

I think that this book was okay. It was a very quick read and the start of the book wasn't very exciting. Also I think that I would much rather read a book about the story that Quila told Celia than this actual book. I would recommend this book to younger people because I think that they would enjoy it a lot more. I think one reason that I didn't like this book was because it was under my reading level.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dana J. on January 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
A story, beautifully written from the perspective of a 12-year-old girl (Aquila) about her life - loss and grieving, healing and growing on the edge of the sea, stays in my thoughts.

This book helped my 3rd grade daughter understand and learn the connections of people and their inner complex feelings. Also, the thinking and discussion about the story is valuable to kids of all ages.

Lesson 1: Always have an emergency plan. Don't count on chance.

. What do you think when Papa didn't send Mama to a doctor in time? Is there any solution you could think of that Papa could have done? If you were there, what could you have done to save Mama's life?

Lesson 2: Stand up for yourself and have your voice heard.

. What would you think when Papa offered Margaret to wear Mama's clothing if you were Aquila? Do you like Papa's idea? Why or why not?

Lesson 3: Communicate with your parents and never run away from home.

. When Aquila thought Margaret would take Celia away, she tried to escape with Celia in a boat on a dark stormy night and that almost cost their lives. What do you think about her feelings and actions?

Lesson 4: "If you want something very badly...set it free. If it comes back to you, it's yours forever. If it doesn't, it was never yours to begin with."

. If you were Aquila and when you thought Celia might leave you for a better place to live, what would you do? Why?

. What do you think of the character, Papa, in this story?

Lesson 5: Always treasure what you have.

. "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away", how do you think of this statement? Do you agree with it? Why or why not?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I read a Nutmeg Book titled Gifts from the Sea by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock. It is a suspenseful and sometimes heart breaking book set in a lighthouse on Devils Rock in Maine.

The main characters in this story were Aquila a older girl who found Cecelia, Papa. Papa is always making sure the light in the lighthouse is always on and he always says, "A good lighthouse keeper never lets his light go out". Then came Cecelia. Cecelia is the baby that was found by Aquila while Cecelia got washed up in the shore between two mattresses. Margaret. Margaret is the lady who is supposedly Cecelia's sister who then becomes part of their family towards the end of the story.

The main problem of the book occurs when Margaret comes to see her little sister Cecelia. Aquila and Papa think that Margaret wants to steal Cecelia away. Margaret only wants to stay with Papa, Cecelia and Aquila for a little while until she is ready to leave. When Margaret leaves she wants to have some last memories of Cecelia. Unfortunately Margaret is staying at Papa and Aquila's house for a while. I don't think Aquila likes Margaret staying at the lighthouse with Aquilas family.

My favorite part of the book was when Cecelia was walking off the cliff and almost into the sea. Then Aquila caught her with one arm grabbing the hem of her dress. This was just before Cecelia disappeared over the cliff.

This is my favorite part of the story because it showed a lot of caring. For example when Aquila saw Cecelia taking small steps almost going off of the cliff. Aquila was praying to herself how she takes back all of the mean words she said about Cecelia.

I really enjoyed this book because every time I read it something would happen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I liked this book because it was exciting.Even though it was a little boring at the begining, I ended up liking it alot.Once baby Celia almost fell off a cliff into the ocean, but Quila grabbed the hem of Celia's dress and pulled her up.Another time, Quila and Celia almost drown.During a storm some razor bills smashed into the light tower windows.Another reason I liked this book is that it is very sad in parts.I like sad books. Quila's mother died from a bad sickness and Margaret's sister and and brother-in-law (who were Celia's mother and father), died in a shipwreck. I learned lots of new things from reading this book. It was HARD taking care of a lighthouse. It was lonely, hard work and you never got to see anybody! Natalie Kinsey-Warnock put alot of details into this book. She made alot of things happen to her characters and they were interesting things. I totally recommend this book!!
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