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The Wanderer

The Wanderer

4.3 188
by Sharon Creech, David Diaz (Illustrator)

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Thirteen-year-old Sophie is the only girl amongst the surly crew of The Wanderer, made up of her three uncles and two cousins. As they sail across the Atlantic toward England, the land of her grandfather, the sea calls to Sophie. But the personal journey she takes brings her deep into a forgotten past. Sophie's struggle to reclaim who she is inspires those around her,


Thirteen-year-old Sophie is the only girl amongst the surly crew of The Wanderer, made up of her three uncles and two cousins. As they sail across the Atlantic toward England, the land of her grandfather, the sea calls to Sophie. But the personal journey she takes brings her deep into a forgotten past. Sophie's struggle to reclaim who she is inspires those around her, as the crew discovers the joys and trials of belonging to a family. Newbery Award winner Sharon Creech tells the adventure-filled story of a courageous girl's journey across the ocean and into the memories of her past.

Editorial Reviews

With Walk Two Moons, Newbery Award-winning author Sharon Creech captured the hearts and imaginations of readers everywhere. Now, she takes us on a memorable new journey, with The Wanderer. In this moving and adventure-filled novel, 13-year-old Sophie is the only girl amongst the six-person crew of The Wanderer, sailing across the Atlantic. She's eager to face the challenges of the sea, though her cousin, Cody, doesn't seem to be serious about anything. Through Sophie's and Cody's engaging travel logs, the perilous journey of these six wanderers unfolds. But for Sophie, the true journey is into her past -- as she unlocks the pain she has been hiding from herself, and discovers what it means to belong to a family.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Sophie is a quietly luminous heroine, and readers will rejoice in her voyage.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Like Creech's Walk Two Moons and Chasing Redbird, this intimate novel poetically connects journey with self-discovery. When 13-year-old Sophie learns that her three uncles and two male cousins plan to sail across the Atlantic to visit the uncles' father, Bompie, in England, she begs to go along. Despite her mother's protests and the men's misgivings, Sophie joins the "motley" crew of the 45-foot The Wanderer and soon proves herself a worthy sailor. The novel unfolds through travel logs, predominantly penned by Sophie (with intermittent musings from her clownish cousin, Cody) that trace each leg of the eventful voyage; each opens with a handsome woodblock-like print by Diaz (Smoky Night). The teens' insightful observations reveal the frailties of both the boat and its six passengers, whose fears and regrets anchor them down. Sophie, who was adopted just three years ago, proves the most complicated and mysterious of all the characters; her ambivalent feelings about the sea ("The sea, the sea, the sea. It rolled and rolled and called to me... but some said I was too young and the sea was a dangerous temptress...") correlate to a repressed memory of a tragic accident. Stories Sophie tells about Bompie, as well as clever throwaway bits (such as the brothers' given names: Ulysses, Jonah and Moses), temper the novel's more serious undercurrents. Creech once again captures the ebb and flow of a vulnerable teen's emotional life, in this enticing blend of adventure and reflection. Ages 8-12. (Mar.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Publishers Weekly
In a starred review of this Newbery Honor book, PW wrote, "Like Walk Two Moons, this intimate novel poetically connects journey with self-discovery. Creech once again captures the ebb and flow of a vulnerable teen's emotional life, in this enticing blend of adventure and reflection." Ages 8-12. (Apr.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
To quote KLIATT's March 2000 review of the hardcover edition: Sophie, age 13, heads off on the adventure of a lifetime: she will spend a month crossing the Atlantic in a sailboat called The Wanderer with her three uncles and her two teenaged cousins, fusspot Brian and devil-may-care Cody... a force-10 gale hits and they barely survive the storm, but finally manage to make it to England where their grandfather Bompie now lives. On the trip, Sophie tells them stories of Bompie and his childhood escapades, in which he always nearly drowns but manages to pull through. These stories entertain but puzzle the others, because Sophie was just adopted three years ago, and she has never met Bompie... Sophie, of course, is a "wanderer" too, who has longed for years to belong to a family. Told in alternating journal entries written by Sophie and by Cody, this is an exciting and touching story of adventure on the high seas and of emotional discoveries. Life on the sailboat is described in careful detail, and the six on board realistically have their squabbles and their differences. The terror of the gale is particularly convincing, reminiscent of The Perfect Storm. Fanciful b/w drawings, resembling woodcuts, decorate each chapter opening. As in Walk Two Moons, Creech's Newbery Medal-winning novel, an important theme here is coping with loss, and the power of stories to help us deal with grief. The ending is full of hope, and readers will empathize with both Sophie and Cody as they survive their ordeal at sea and strive for understanding of themselves and others. (Editor's note: A Newbery Honor Book and an ALA Notable Book and Best Book for Young Adults, among other honors.) KLIATTCodes: J*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior high school students. 2000, HarperTrophy, 306p. illus.,
— Paula Rohrlick
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech's latest novel is a multi-layered story that encompasses family drama, mystery and intrigue, and death defying sea adventure. It is also a touching coming of age saga about a girl coming to terms with grief. Thirteen-year-old Sophie is determined to join her three uncles and two cousins on a transatlantic journey aboard the 45-foot sailboat, The Wanderer. Sophie's grandfather, Bompie, awaits the family in England. During their journey, Sophie engages her travel companions with stories from Bompie's childhood. Sophie's anecdotes about Bompie ring true but they have the family puzzled. Sophie has never even met her grandfather--she is an orphan and has only been in the family for a few years. But there is no time to ponder such mysteries--the wave of Sophie's worst nightmare batters the sailboat and for some time the family's very survival is in doubt. The novel is related through the journal entries of Sophie and her thirteen-year-old cousin, Cody, a device that proves to be extremely effective. When the family finally reaches its destination, Sophie is able to gain closure from the tragic events of her early childhood. 2000, Joanna Cotler Books/HarperCollins, Ages 8 to 12, $15.95. Reviewer: Christopher Moning
"The sea, the sea. It rolled and rolled and called to me. Come in, it said, come in." Thirteen-year-old Sophie has begged her way aboard The Wanderer, Uncle Dock's 45-foot sailboat, for a voyage from Connecticut across the Atlantic Ocean to England and her grandfather, Bompie. It will be a dangerous voyage, but Sophie welcomes the challenge. She is a seasoned sailor whose seafaring skills match those of her three uncles and two cousins. The inevitable friction between close relatives in close quarters adds spark to the tale as these sailors face a storm that almost sinks their boat. They wonder if they'll live to see land again. Each character in this story comes to life on the pages. The perils and mysteries of the sea are so realistically presented that readers will feel the wind, hear the snap of the sails, and taste the salt spray as they find themselves intrigued by the mysterious Sophie herself. Why does she deny being an orphan? How can she know personally told tales from a grandfather she has never met? What happened to her parents? Newbery Medal winner for Walk Two Moons (HarperCollins, 1994), Sharon Creech, presents answers to these questions slowly and obliquely through logbook entries written by Sophie and her "dangerously charming" cousin, Cody. David Diaz's ink drawings at the chapter headings help pull the reader into the swirling sea scenes. Through words and pictures, readers come to understand and appreciate Sophie's love/hate relationship with the sea as her inner thoughts touch on profound ideas that readers can ponder as they relate her life to their own. Out here, there isn't day and night and then a new day. Instead, there are degrees of light and dark, mergingand changing. It's like one long stream of time unfolding in front of you, all around you . . . maybe people never die, but simply live on and on, leaving other planes behind . . . maybe we're not each just one person, but many people existing on millions of different planes . . .Sophie and the sailing ship are both wanderers in this story of adventure, courage and personal growth. The invitation is there for readers to test their own mettle by joining them. 2000, Harper Collins, $15.95. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Dorothy Francis — The Five Owls, May/June 2000 (Vol. 14 No. 5)
Thirteenyearold Sophie joins three uncles and two male cousins for a sailing trip from New England to the British Isles. Their story is told through journal entries from both Sophie and her cousin Cody. On the surface, this novel seems to be a story of siX people learning to get along in small quarters despite personality differences and a variety of skill levels, but Creech tells another story here as well. By the siXth chapter, when we see Cody's first journal entry, we learn that Sophie was adopted into the family only three years before, even though she talks as if she always has been a member. Sophie's difficulty dealing with the death of her natural parents creates some tension with the other members of the crew. These emotional components of the story are as suspenseful and dramatic as the sea voyage itself. Both stories are told in an understated style with humor, making this novel rise above other adventure stories or angstridden tales of loss and acceptance. It will appeal to readers with many different tastes. Physically, the book also is of the highest quality, with small line drawings by Diaz heading each chapter. The Wanderer belongs in every young adult collection. PLB $15.89. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P M J (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2000, HarperCollins, 288p, $15.95. Ages 12 to 15. Reviewer: Alice F. Stern

SOURCE: VOYA, December 2000 (Vol. 23, No. 5) <%ISBN%> 0060277300

School Library Journal
Gr 3 Up-In this delightful collection of songs and stories, storyteller Diane Ferlatte is accompanied by Erik Pearson on banjo and guitar and by students from the Meadows Livingstone School in San Francisco. Some of the numbers are just plain fun like "The Word the Devil Made Up." "Donkey and the Lion Skin" relates a personal experience, and "Dog, Dog" is a flashback to social customs in the old south when Ferlatte's mother was a child. "The Talking Eggs," one of the longer selections, is sure to entertain youngsters who have read the African-American folktale. "Thank you M'am," a short story by Langston Hughes, is skillfully rendered, but there is one mistake. The woman's name is Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones. Other stories include "Feed My Cow," "The Talking Skull," "Juba," and "Hambone." The overall aural quality of the CD is excellent. Ferlatte has a pleasant voice that is particularly well suited for storytelling and singing. Listeners will enjoy these stories that touch on the importance of respect, honesty, caring, and sharing.-Shelia Brown, Normandy School District, St. Louis, MO Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Enicia Fisher
This inviting book will encourage the readers in your crew to take and early plunge into their summer reading.
The Christian Science Monitor
The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Sophie is a quietly luminous heroine, and readers will rejoice in her voyage.”
The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
“Sophie is a quietly luminous heroine, and readers will rejoice in her voyage.”
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
“Sophie is a quietly luminous heroine, and readers will rejoice in her voyage.”
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Sophie is a quietly luminous heroine, and readers will rejoice in her voyage."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
“Sophie is a quietly luminous heroine, and readers will rejoice in her voyage.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
13 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Wanderer

Chapter One

The Sea

The sea, the sea, the sea. It rolled and rolled and called to me. Come in, it said, come in.

And in I went, floating, rolling, splashing, swimming, and the sea called, Come out, come out, and further I went but always it swept me back to shore.

And still the sea called, Come out, come out, and in boats I went'in rowboats and dinghies and motorboats, and after I learned to sail, I flew over the water, with only the sounds of the wind and the water and the birds, all of them calling, Sail on, sail on.

And what I wanted to do was go on and on, across the sea, alone with the water and the wind and the birds, but some said I was too young and the sea was a dangerous temptress, and at night I dreamed a terrible dream. A wall of water, towering, black, crept up behind me and hovered over me and then down, down it came, but always I awoke before the water covered me, and always I felt as if I were floating when I woke up.

Chapter Two

Three Sides

I am not always such a dreamy girl, listening to the sea calling me. My father calls me Three-sided Sophie: one side is dreamy and romantic; one is logical and down-to-earth; and the third side is hardheaded and impulsive. He says I am either in dreamland or earthland or mule-land, and if I ever get the three together, I'll be all set, though I wonder where I will be then. If I'm not in dreamland or earthland or mule-land, where will I be?

My father says my logical side is most like him, and the dreamy side most like my mother, which isn't entirely fair, I don't think. Myfather likes to think of himself as a logical man, but he is the one who pores over pictures of exotic lands and says things like "We should go on a safari!" and "We should zip through the air in a hot-air balloon!"

And although my mother is a weaver and spins silky cloths and wears flowing dresses, she is the one who gives me sailing textbooks and makes me study water safety and weather prediction and says things like "Yes, Sophie, I taught you to sail, but that doesn't mean I like the idea of you being out there alone on the water. I want you to stay home. Here. With me. Safe."

My father says he doesn't know who my hardheaded mule side resembles. He says mules don't run in the family.

I am thirteen, and I am going to sail across the ocean. Although I would like to go alone -- alone! alone! flying over the water! -- I'm not. My mule-self begged a place aboard a forty-five-foot sailboat with a motley crew: three uncles and two cousins. The uncles -- Stew, Mo, and Dock -- are my mother's brothers, and she told them, "If the slightest harm comes to my Sophie, I'll string you all up by your toes."

She isn't worried (although maybe she should be) about the influence of my cousin Brian -- quiet, studious, serious Brian -- but she frets over the bad habits I might learn from my other cousin, Cody. Cody is loud, impulsive, and charming in a way my mother does not trust. "He's too charming," she says, "in a dangerous sort of way."

My mother isn't the only person who is not thrilled for me to take this trip. My uncles Stew and Mo tried their best to talk me out of it. "It's going to be a bunch of us guys, doing guy things, and it wouldn't be a very pleasant place for a girl," and "Wouldn't you rather stay home, Sophie, where you could have a shower every day?" and "It's a lot of hard work," and yakkety-yak they went. But I was determined to go, and my mule-self kicked in, spouting a slew of sailing and weather terms, battering them over the head with all the things I'd learned in my sailing books, and with some things I'd made up, for good measure.

Uncle Dock -- the good uncle, I call him, because he's the one who doesn't see any harm in my coming -- said, "Heck, she knows more about boats than Brian and Cody put together," and so they caved in.

There are two other reasons my mother has not tied me to my bed and refused to let me go. The first is that Uncle Dock gave her an extensive list of the safety provisions aboard the boat, which include a satellite navigator, the Global Positioning System. The second reason, not a very logical one, but one that somehow comforts my mother, is that Bompie is on the other side of the ocean. We will end up in Bompie's arms, and she wishes she could join us just for that moment.

Bompie is my grandfather -- my mother's father, and also Uncle Dock, Stew, and Mo's father -- and he lived with my parents for many years. He is like a third parent and I love him because he is so like me. He is a man of three sides, like me, and he knows what I am thinking without my having to say it. He is a sweet man with a honey tongue and he is a teller of tales.

At the age of seventy-two, Bompie decided to go home. I thought he was already in his home, but what he meant by home was the place where he was born, and that place was "the rolling green hills of England."

My father was wrong about mules not running in the family. When Bompie decided to return to England, nothing was going to stop him. He made up his mind and that was that, and off he went.

Bye-bye, Bompie.

The Wanderer. Copyright © by Sharon Creech. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Sharon Creech has written twenty books for young people and is published in over twenty languages. Her books have received awards in both the U.S. and abroad, including the Newbery Medal for Walk Two Moons, the Newbery Honor for The Wanderer, and Great Britain’s Carnegie Medal for Ruby Holler.

Before beginning her writing career, Sharon Creech taught English for fifteen years in England and Switzerland. She and her husband now live in Maine, “lured there by our grandchildren,” Creech says. “Moo was inspired by our mutual love of Maine and by our granddaughter’s involvement in a local 4-H program. We have all been enchanted with the charms of cows.”


David Diaz has illustrated numerous award-winning books for children, including smoky night by Eve Bunting, for which he was awarded the Caldecott Medal; The Wanderer by Sharon Creech, which received a Newbery Honor; and Me, Frida by Amy Novesky, a Pura Belpré Honor Award winner. Mr. Diaz lives in Southern California.

Brief Biography

Pennington, New Jersey
Date of Birth:
July 29, 1945
Place of Birth:
Cleveland, Ohio
B.A., Hiram College, 1967; M.A., George Mason University, 1978

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The Wanderer 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 187 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is my favorite book its so awesome there is lots of adventure in this book if you like adventires this is a great book for you even if you dont like adventures you will still like it because its the best book in the entire universe Jenni(cupcake)
mazerunnerrocks More than 1 year ago
great read with 2 interesting povs! Cleaverly written! U MUST READ IT!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book i read in my class and i loved it! The adventurous book is told through 2 diaries. THIS BOOK IS AMAZING YOU MUST PUT DOWN YOUR OTHER BOOK THAT YOU ARE READING RIGHT NOWAND READ THIS ONE INSTEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I w"ll defnitaly get! :) -Crystal
schsreader0 More than 1 year ago
The Wanderer is a very great book. The setting is not one place throughout the book, but a few places like the ocean. It is about a girl named Sophie. She loves boats and the seas. Her and her Uncle Dock, Mo, Brian, Cody, and Uncle Stew go on an amazing trip to see her &quot;Bompie.&quot; Bompie is Sophie's grandfather. He lives in Grand Manan by himself ever since his wife died. My favorite part is when her and Cody go to a mysterious Island where there is to be a ghost. This book keeps you on the edge of your seat waiting, wanting more.The conflict in this story is that Sophie can't remember her family past and just wants to learn more. Even though shes just with men trapped on a boat she still shows women can do things just as well as anyone could do. I would recommenced this book to anyone one who likes boats, or adventures, because this has had to been my favorite adventure book. So, go out there and read, &quot;The Wanderer&quot;, By Sharon Creech.
Kiran Masroor More than 1 year ago
An amazing beautiful story! I expected nothing less from the legendary Sharon Creech! -Kiran
Marissa147 More than 1 year ago
Do you think a voyage with all boys would be fun? It may not be in Sophie's point of view. Sophie, Brian, Cody, Uncle Dock, Uncle Mo, and Uncle Stew go on a dangerous voyage across the ocean on a boat to England to find Bompie (Ulysses) who is the grandpa of Sophie, Brian, and Cody, and the father of Uncle Mo, Dock, and Stew. On their way, they are taking rest stops by Uncle Dock's command. No one else knows why, but really Dock is trying to find his love Rosalie. They also find out new things about each other, and they learn new skills, such as helping each other survive on their voyage, and they also learned juggling and Delta Code. Everyone, especially Brian, is wondering what happened to Sophie's real parents and if the stories she is telling about Bompie are true. We rated this story a 4 out of 5 because it has a lot of adventure, detail, and it is suspenseful. You will not want to put this book down! It is a perfect level book for middle schoolers. We recommend reading this book because we really liked it, and I am sure you would too! Sharon Creech is a great author! Read this book as soon as possible. You don't know what you are missing!
Guest More than 1 year ago
THE WANDERER This book is about a gilr named Sophie. The sea is calling her, and suddenly she knows she has to go with her three uncles and two cousins on the boat Uncle Dock is building. Her Mom thinks it will be too dangerous, but does Sophie care? Nope, she goes anyway. Her bratty cousin Brian is making lists of every possible thing you could think of, and her cousin Cody, (who is okay) is always goofing off at serious times. Sophie hopes she can make it across the sea with these five boys and great adventures. I think anyone would like this book who is interested in books with really good descripiton. It is a really good book because it is about a girl who has a lot of adventures with her cousins and feels bad because she is with a lot of boys. I like this because I can relate to it because I am the only girl in the family so I like someone else to know what the expierience is like to be stuck between so many crazy boys! I love this book. Anyone considering reading it, READ IT!!!!!! Ü Smile when you read the book! Ü
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have the book ar home and at my school but why is there so many chapters in the book? :-):-):-);-);-)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is on of Sharon Creech best book! Woderful story about adventure. I felt like I was in the book. So many wonderful characters and very good events. This book was one of my favorites about adventure. This book is recomended for fourth graders and up. :) engoy the book!!!
nomdeplumeSH More than 1 year ago
I read this book in my book club, and then purchased it for my daughter to read when she was old enough to deal with the content. It is a wonderfully written story, vivid imagery, great characterization and a satisfying conclusion. Great for adults as well as children 10+ I'd recommend. Sharon Creech has never let us down. A favorite author in our household. Also B&N - your service is exemplary, and I will never order books from another site, or shop at another store - you deserve all the business.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An amazing story lie, mysterious characters, and a slight sence of humor makes Sharon Creech's The Wanderer a mysterious and passionate novel i will never forget. The characters were all belivable. What i like most about them is how they all have a secret to them. It keeps the story interesting and entertaining. The setting is also real and belivable. The theme was brilliant. i would recommend this book to middle school kids because theyd enjoy the dramatic turns in the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Wanderer is a amazing book <3
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
That is exactly what this book told me. I discovered it on the book shelf of my fifth grade classroom library. There were a few other kids at the book shelf. I picked up The Wanderer and fliped too a random page and read a paragraph. The words were so descriptive, and the book was so thick. I am a faast reader, and Isome people say that I devour books. There is constantly a stack of books on my desk, and since I want to read so many books, I normaly don't reread a book right after I finish reading it. This book was different. I think I read it three or four times before moving on to a different book.
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Best book i have ever read!!!! You will not regret buying it! :)
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has a lot of pages but are short you connect with the characters and your mind gets castded away with the stoy its anenjoyable read and i recomend this book
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is pretty cool but i am going to put 4 stars because sophies uncle stew is all about a girl