Bookstorm™: Orphan Eleven

Bookmap Orphan Eleven

Orphan ElevenFour orphans have escaped from the Home for Friend­less Chil­dren. One is Lucy, who used to talk and sing. No one knows why she doesn’t speak any­more; silence is her protection.

The orphans find work and new friends at a trav­el­ing cir­cus. Lucy loves car­ing for the ele­phants, but she must be able to speak to them, and to warn oth­ers of dan­ger. If Lucy does­n’t find her voice, she’ll be left behind when the cir­cus goes on the rails. Mean­while, peo­ple are search­ing for Lucy, and her puz­zling past is about to catch up with her. This live­ly, heart­warm­ing nov­el by is full of mar­vels and surprises.

The book is writ­ten at a lev­el for 4th to 8th grade read­ers (and adults). It has many plot ele­ments that will appeal to read­ers who like mys­tery and adven­ture: cir­cus life, selec­tive mutism, a sep­a­rat­ed fam­i­ly, friend­ship, and ele­phants. It’s an excel­lent choice for a class­room or book club dis­cus­sion, espe­cial­ly about sci­ence and exper­i­men­ta­tion on human sub­jects. The author based the sto­ry on a true psy­cho­log­i­cal exper­i­ment, known as “The Mon­ster Study.”

In each Book­storm™, we offer a bib­li­og­ra­phy of books that have close ties to the the fea­tured book. We’ve includ­ed books, arti­cles, web­sites, and videos for a vari­ety of tastes and interests. 


You’ll find more infor­ma­tion about Gen­nifer Chold­enko on her web­site.


Cir­cus Fic­tion and Non­fic­tion. Much of the book is set with­in the envi­rons of a cir­cus. The cir­cus per­form­ers and staff are an inter­est­ing assort­ment of kind and brave, car­ing and thought­ful, as well as mean-heart­ed and evil.

Ele­phants. There are many sto­ries of ele­phants in fic­tion and non­fic­tion. An ele­phant plays a major role in Orphan Eleven. Here are books to learn more about these pachy­derms, as well as a web­site for Save the Elephants.

Lit­tle Peo­ple. Jabo is a lit­tle per­son who aspires to be the ring­mas­ter of Sac­chi’s Cir­cus. He is a kind, help­ful char­ac­ter. Can you think of anoth­er nov­el that fea­tures a char­ac­ter who is a lit­tle person?

The Mon­ster Study. Learn more about the real psy­cho­log­i­cal study behind this book.

Orphan­ages. Read­ers have been fas­ci­nat­ed by orphan sto­ries for as long as there have been print­ed books. The Home for Friend­less Chil­dren is an unhap­py place, enough so that the orphans do their best to escape.

Selec­tive Mutism. Lucy, the main char­ac­ter, does not speak. She com­mu­ni­cates by writ­ing. Selec­tive mutism is known to psy­chol­o­gists. We sug­gest a num­ber of books that have been writ­ten on the subject.

Sewing. Lucy’s sis­ter is a seam­stress. She plays an impor­tant part in Orphan Eleven. The work she does may inter­est read­ers in sewing on their own.

Sis­ters. One of the cen­tral themes of the book, Lucy has been alone at the orphan­age for a very long time. Has her sis­ter for­got­ten about her?

Stut­ter­ing. For those who stut­ter, it is often embar­rass­ing and may cause that per­son to guard how they speak. There are a num­ber of books with char­ac­ters who stut­ter and there’s a web­site as well, estab­lished by a 13-year-old boy.

Let us know how you are mak­ing use of this Book­storm™. Share your ideas and any oth­er books you’d add to this Bookstorm™.

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