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Touch Blue Paperback – June 1, 2012

72 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4-7–Tess Brooks, 11, believes in luck, wishes, and superstitions. When the state of Maine threatens to close her Bethsaida Island school because there aren't enough students, she and her family will be forced to move to the mainland, and Tess loves her island life. Reverend Beal comes up with an idea to expand the school population, and the Brooks family does its part by taking in a 13-year-old foster child. Tess doesn't give up hope even though Aaron is unhappy on the island and longs to return to his mother. Tess grows significantly throughout the novel as she learns that things don't always go according to a plan, but that they still have the capability of working out. Each chapter opens with a different saying that is used in the context of the story, which keeps readers guessing about its significance. They will feel an enormous amount of hope as they read Tess and Aaron's story. It delivers the message that everything happens for a reason, and that sometimes all you need to do is believe.Rebecca Webster, Warren County Middle School, Front Royal, VA
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Eleven-year-old Tess doesn’t want to leave her island home, but her family will have to move to the mainland if the state of Maine closes their small schoolhouse for lack of students. To increase their numbers, several families take in foster children, and so 13-year-old musician Aaron, who has bounced around since his grandmother’s death because his mother is an alcoholic, comes to stay with Tess’ family. Tess pins all her hopes on Aaron, but he is not at all what she expected: he doesn’t like reading, he throws up on her dad’s lobster boat, and he’d rather stay in his room than play Monopoly. Each chapter title is a folk saying that superstitious Tess follows as she wishes and schemes a way for Aaron to love island life. Aaron’s relationship with his foster family, particularly with impulsive Tess, develops believably. The tight-knit community and lobster-catching details make for a warm, colorful environment. This is a feel-good story about letting go of your expectations and accepting the good things already in front of you. Grades 4-7. --Krista Hutley --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Inc.; Reprint edition (June 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545035325
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545035323
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Children's book writer, seaglass collector, daydreamer, and the mother of two teenagers.

You can find discussion guides for my books, interviews, links, goofy childhood photos, and more at my website:


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Lea Wait on August 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Cynthia Lord's TOUCH BLUE, set on a Maine island where families volunteer as foster parents to meet minimum state requirements to keep their school open, focuses on 11 year old Tess and her new, older, foster brother Aaron, a veteran of the foster care system. They each have expectations of his placement with her family -- Tess has read Anne of Green Gables, and romanticizes the idea of a new, perfect, family for Aaron. Aaron's emotional ties to his bio mom are still intact, even though the legal bonds have been broken, and he has learned from experience not to get attached to new "homes." Lord writes beautifully and sensitively about how frustrated Tess decides to "fix" Aaron's problem, and talented Aaron gradually makes a place for himself on the island. TOUCH BLUE is a quiet book, but its people and places will find homes in readers' hearts.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on September 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
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.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By KidsReads on October 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Eleven-year-old Tess Brooks, whose hair is "pitch brown and straight as pine needles," is the superstitious sort. She believes good luck floats around, sticking to some people and skipping over others. She loves living on an island off the coast of Maine with her lobster fisherman father, school teacher mother and younger sister Libby.

After Tess's best friend, Amy Hamilton, and her family move to the mainland, the island's only school is in jeopardy of closing because of the low student population. If it shuts down, Tess's mom will lose her job, and her family and several other island families will have to move to the mainland, away from the only home Tess has ever known. In response, several island families have agreed to take in foster children from the mainland. If all goes according to plan, bringing these kids to the island will provide stable homes in a lovely environment, increase enrollment at the school, and avoid the shutdown.

Thirteen-year-old foster child Aaron Spinney is tall and skinny with long red hair "bright as October leaves" and muddy green eyes. He also has a big-time attitude. In his short life, he has had more than his share of bad luck. His mother is a recovering alcoholic and an addict whose whereabouts is unknown. After being taken from his mother, Aaron was raised by his grandmother until she got sick and died. Since her death, he has been bounced around foster homes. Older children are harder to place, but the Brooks welcome Aaron --- along with two younger sisters who want to get to know him --- into their home, where he has his own room with a view of the ocean. But is this enough to make him want to stay?

While most of the community welcomes the foster children to the island, not everyone is kind to them.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sabra Sanjurjo on July 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Touchblue is a very heartfelt story about a little island town off the coast of Maine. They are a one school island and ever since a family with five children moved to the mainland, there is a threat of their school having to close down. Should this happen, many other families would now have to move to the mainland as well. In order to stop this from happening, the local Reverend has come up with a solution! He asked five respectable families to foster a child each. By doing this they are helping out their community to save their school and a child in need of a good home.

The story is told from the main character's, Tess, point of view. Tess is about 11 and is pretty naïve when it comes to the real world and change. As Tess's family fosters a young boy named Aaron, 13, she learns that not all of the world is as pretty and wonderful as her little island. I wish it told the story from Aaron's point of view occasionally because he is such a troubled/deep character but the author does a good job of hinting and having Aaron speak his mind that you know what's going on in his head.

I have to be honest and say that although I did like the book, I did not love the book. It had a wonderful message about real life, family, and home and how they are not always what you see in a Norman Rockwell picture but I think I just wanted more. I would have loved to see Tess' character show more development throughout the book while she was trying to get Aaron to want to stay with them by showing him how wonderful their life was. It eventually happened in the end but I would have liked it gradually throughout. All in all it is a good book, a very easy read and would be great for children ages 8-12!
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