Book Review: Kensuke's Kingdom by Michal Morpurgo

Book review by TIS English Specialist Kristie Weldon

KenIf you enjoy stories of freedom and of survival, then you’ll love Kensuke’s Kingdom. The main character, ten-year-old Michael, has a fairly normal life. He goes to school, plays soccer and hangs out with his friends. All of that changes, however, when his parents both lose their jobs.

After searching unsuccessfully for new jobs, Michael’s family decides to live out their dream of sailing the world. They spend a year visiting far away places and weathering storms at sea before Michael
and his dog Stella are tossed overboard by a unexpected wave. Washed up on a small island, Michael must learn to survive.

It is in his search for survival that Michael meets the only other inhabitant of the island, an elderly Japanese man named Kensuke. The story of this relationship between Kensuke and Michael is frustrating, fantastic and full of surprises!

I would recommend this book to third (strong readers), fourth and fifth graders who like realistic fiction about sea travel, or wilderness survival. Though the novel is fiction, there are some historical connections for those who like making connections between fiction and the real world. The book is Kensuke’s Kingdom; check it out!

Available in the TIS Library.