The Wanderer

The Wanderer

by Sharon Creech, David Diaz


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Thirteen-year-old Sophie and her cousin Cody record their transatlantic crossing aboard the Wanderer, a 45-foot sailboat.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780756911119
Publisher: Harpercollins Childrens Books
Publication date: 09/01/2000
Pages: 305
Sales rank: 770,996
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Sharon Creech has written twenty-one 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.

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.


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

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.

Table of Contents

1.The Sea15
2.Three Sides17
3.Slow Time21
4.The Big Baby25
6.Slugs and Bananas40
8.The Dolt and the Orphan46
14.Bompie and the Car70
III.The Island
15.Grand Manan75
18.Bompie and the Train89
19.Wood Island95
20.The Little Kid103
21.The Baptism107
22.Bompie and the Pastor112
IV.Under Way
24.Oranges and Pizza125
32.Bompie and the Swimming Hole157
34.Little Kid Nightmares167
35.The Blue Bopper170
V.Wind and Waves
40.No Time188
44.The Son195
46.Bompie at the Ocean197
47.Force Ten200
50.The Wave208
53.Bompie and His Father217
54.Mr. Fix-it219
58.Little Kid: Push and Pull227
59.New Dreams230
61.Ahoy Ahoy241
64.New Body249
66.The Visitor253
67.Phone Calls255
69.The Little Girl260
70.The Castle266
71.The Cottage267
73.The Story272
75.Oh, Rosalie!282


Barnes & Interviews Sharon Creech

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 novel, 13-year-old Sophie is the only girl among the six-person crew of The Wanderer, sailing across the Atlantic. She's eager to face the challenges of the sea, but her goofball 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. Jamie Levine of Barnes & spoke to Sharon Creech and found out more about The Wanderer, her work, and her family life.

Barnes & Did you want to be a writer when you were growing up?

Sharon Creech: A writer was one of the things I wanted to be. I think like a lot of kids, I changed my mind about every six months. I wanted to be a singer, and an ice skater...and the closest thing to being a writer I wanted was to be a reporter. Because I thought that's what writing was. My brothers and I would interview people in my neighborhood for our own made-up newspapers, but often I didn't like their answers, so I would change them. I realized later, maybe when I was in middle school or high school, that there was this thing called fiction where you could change the facts of the story. I think that's when I really became interested in fiction -- really in college, when I studied good stories.

B& The dedication in The Wanderer is "For my daughter, Karin, who journeyed across the ocean and who inspired this story. From the mother who worried while you were gone." Tell me about that.

SC: My daughter is an amazing person. She does all the things that I am not brave enough to do. When she graduated from college, she and six of her friends -- all male -- sailed across the ocean, from Connecticut to Ireland, as a sort of celebratory "we-finished-college" trip. I was terrified when she set off on this trip -- it meant three weeks without being able to call her and check on her -- but she kept reassuring me, "Mom -- don't worry, everything's going to be fine." And she was going to keep a journal of the trip, and she said she'd share it with me when she got back. So about 12 days into their journey, I got a phone call that had been relayed from a ham-radio operator saying that they were fine, they were about halfway across, and there were no problems. So I relaxed a bit. And then another two weeks went by, and I finally got a call from Karin in Ireland, and she was just breathless and she said, "Mom -- we almost died!" Oh -- I was just shattered! So when I finally did hook up with her again, and she gave me her journal, it was just fascinating to read this story of living on a boat and then encountering a terrible storm that ripped the booms and the sails and knocked out their communications equipment. There were several days there when they didn't think they were going to make it. So ever since I read her journal, I've been wanting to sort of fictionalize that trip -- take characters on that same geographical journey and have them encounter a storm. That's really what The Wanderer came out of.

B& So you have no familiarity with sailing, yourself?

SC: Well, I do have a little bit. I have sailed, and I did take a course in sailing right before I started writing this book. I can sail on a lake or a river, but I would never, ever attempt the ocean!

B& Many of your characters -- including Sophie in The Wanderer -- spend a lot of time with their extended families. What was your family life like when you were growing up?

SC: It was very much like that -- extended families. I spent a lot of time with grandparents and aunts and uncles, and my father was from a really big family. Most of them lived in southern Ohio and Kentucky, and when they would come up to visit, it wasn't just two people coming, it was maybe eight people. And they would stay for several weeks. There were always people like that around me. I think that when I start developing a character, I naturally begin thinking, "What's the family like?" Actually, when I wrote Walk Two Moons, I was trying to create an opposite of my family -- just a single child in a family, whereas there are five kids in mine. But then almost immediately, I had to snare in the grandparents, because I couldn't identify with just one child, two parents, no extended family. So I think that just naturally comes up in every book I write.

B& So many of your stories are about teenage girls on journeys of discovery, dealing with difficult issues like loss and abandonment. Is there any particular reason why you keep returning to this theme?

SC: I thought about this after writing Walk Two Moons, because I was very puzzled when people started asking me this. I wrote Walk Two Moons right after my daughter went away to college. We were living in Europe, and she returned to the States. I'd encouraged her to do this, because she hadn't lived around Americans since she was seven years old, and yet I was practically in mourning when she left; I could hardly bear it. What I did in the story is that I turned it, flipped it, so that it wasn't the mother writing about the daughter who goes away; it was the daughter writing about the mother who goes away. And I wasn't doing that consciously. I think I was just exploring the idea of "How do you deal with the fact that someone you love is gone?" And that's just the form that it took.

When I try to put myself in the mind of a 13-year-old, it seems to me that one of the things I keep coming back to, what they're all sorting out that's universal, is "Who am I?" You don't question that when you're very young -- you're just part of a family, part of a unit. But there comes that point at age 10, 11, 12, 13, where you start trying to be like your friends, trying on all these different identities, and trying to figure out, "What am I going to be? What am I going to be like?" I think that's so interesting. It's such fertile ground for stories.

B& The Wanderer is told through the travel logs of two cousins -- a boy and a girl. Was it difficult writing in a boy's voice for a change?

SC: No. It was kind of fun. I have three brothers, and I have grown up more around boys than girls, so that's where it comes pretty easy for me. And I like the personalities of my brothers. They're very funny people. I mean, there's a serious tone to them, but they like humor. So it's nice to kind of pull from boys like that.

B& Do you have a favorite book you've written? Is there a character with whom you most identify?

SC: I know that most people expect me to say Walk Two Moons is my favorite, and it does have this special life all its own because of the Newbery, but it's sort of like if you had five children and someone said, "Which is your favorite?" You can't do it -- you can't choose. They're all so different, and there's this love that went into making each one of them. And as far as my characters, I think if you took the main character in each book and maybe the secondary character and put them all together, that would be me. Like in Walk Two Moons, Salamanca has a very lyrical voice, she's very calm, and yet there's a humorous edge to her. And Phoebe is this sort of wacky, off-the-wall, yackity person. But I'm like both of them at different times.

B& What kind of advice would you give to kids who say they want to be authors?

SC: Continue to read a lot and write a lot -- all different kinds of stuff, like plays, poems, and short stories -- and just experiment with different things. Kids shouldn't expect to have the whole story in their head before they begin. I think that's what scares so many people [away] from writing. But if you just start out with a person and a place and start thinking "Who do they know?" or "What would happen to them? What are they like?", if you just start describing all that, then the story will come. And it's OK to stop something and put it away for a couple of weeks and then go back to it. I think that's reassuring to a lot of children.

B& I recently spoke to Chris Raschka, and he told me you have a picture book coming out in the fall (which he illustrated). Tell me about that project.

SC: It's been the most fascinating process. I've never done a picture book before. I had given a talk somewhere, and in this talk, I told a story about going with my father when I was young to look for the house he was born in. We couldn't find the house, and later we went fishing, and while we were fishing, I sort of re-created the house in my mind. I could remember vividly this picture, this image, and after I gave this talk, one of the editors from HarperCollins said, "Have you ever thought of doing a picture book? Because it seems like that might make a great picture book story." So that's how I came to write Fishing in the Air. And it was about that time that I had met Chris Raschka at another conference where we were both speaking. He's so amazing, and I just remember thinking, "His brain is so incredible -- I want to work with that person!" When I turned the manuscript in to the editor, one of the first people she suggested as an illustrator was Chris Raschka, and I said, "Please, yes!" So he took on the project.

The book is about a father and a son, and they go fishing, and they're not just fishing for fish; the more important thing is that the father is transferring things in his imagination to the kid's imagination -- sort of like how we learn how to see the world through other people, like our parents. But most of the action in the book is mental -- the kid imagining things. And I'm sure that was one of the challenges for Chris -- how to illustrate that. But he has done this amazing thing where the book becomes very active in the middle -- just through the line and the way the characters are swirling around the page -- and he's been able to portray, visually, this action of the imagination. I think he's done a brilliant job.

B& What else are you working on now?

SC: I've just finished the fourth draft of a book called Ruby Holler. That's a name of a place in Kentucky. It's like a Bybanks kind of place -- but further out in the country. It's sort of weird how that book came about. It came from one line in a letter my aunt wrote to me. She was telling me a story about when my father was younger and she said, "I think that was when we lived in the Holler." And I thought, "They lived in the Holler? What Holler?" And then several months ago...some of my relatives have a family web site, and one of the pictures that somebody posted was the house in the Holler. And to me, it was just so terrific -- it's a falling-down cabin, and this great, big, huge family lived there for a time, probably during the Depression. I just had to write about this place. And out of that came this story of two kids -- a boy and a girl -- who hook up with an elderly pair, a grandparent-like man and woman. And the kids are very rough-edged and rambunctious, and the older people have this very humanizing effect on them -- and the place, the Holler, has this effect, a sort of tranquilizing effect, too.

B& What are some of your favorite children's books?

SC: Actually, I hadn't read very many before I received the Newbery. It was sort of like I came in through the back door to children's literature. I had studied and taught classic adult literature, and when I wrote Absolutely Normal Chaos,, which was about a 13-year-old, it was my agent who said, "You know I think that's a children's book." So I thought I'd better find out about children's books! And after Walk Two Moons received the Newbery, I thought, I really have to go back and read some of this stuff, because people were always asking me about my favorite children's books and authors. And I didn't know any. But now I have lots of favorites. Like Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Shiloh. Christopher Paul Curtis's books; I especially liked his first one, The Watsons Go to Birmingham. I like Patricia MacLachlan's Sarah, Plain and Tall. It's such a simple gem of a book. Katherine Paterson's books -- anything she's written I like. And Gail Carson Levine. I especially like Ella Enchanted.

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The Wanderer 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 193 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 "Bompie." 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, "The Wanderer", 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.
CatheOlson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think I liked this one even more than Walk Two Moons and Chasing Redbird! It was the story of a 13-yo girl who sails with her uncles and cousins from the US to England to visit her grandfather (Pompie). Sophie is such a great character -- she loves sailing and the ocean so passionately. However, she has some dark secrets in her past as well. She is adoped into this clan but doesn't admit she ever had other parents and though she has never met Pompie, she knows all of his stories--stories that no one else has ever heard. The story is told from Sophie and her cousin Cody's journals. Excellent, excellent book.
Jessica Morrison More than 1 year ago
A tale of adventure, this story has stuck with me since middle school. It was such mind-trip, and it will always hold a special place in my literary journey. It's a beautiful tale of family, reality, nature, and adventure. It's a beautiful mix written in a writing style that is totally unique. A great book for any middle schooler that enjoys a good adventure.
pinkmaster024 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is about a adopted girl named sophie who wants to go on a trip on a ship with her cousin's and uncle. she is only one there but she shows that she is really brave. They are going to see there grandfather Bompie.
mcgarry on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Yr. 7 - Yr. 8.The ocean has always flowed through Sophie's life. It proimises journeys of adventure and discovery. And when she gets the chance to cross the Atlantic on board her uncle's boat, 'The Wanderer', she can't wait to set sail. But Sophie has a secret. Deep down she's terrified of where 'The Wanderer' will take her. For this storm-tossed voyage will also be a journey into the mysterious past of her forgotten childhood. And she, and the rest of the motley crew aboard 'The Wanderer', may not survive it.
Shelbs5 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Wandere is one of the best books I have ever read. It is a wonderful out to sea adventure
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So good
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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