Touch Blue

by Cynthia Lord (Author)

Touch Blue
Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade
An exquisite second novel from the Newbery Honor author of RULES! TOUCH BLUE, sure as certain, will touch your heart.

The state of Maine plans to shut down her island's schoolhouse, which would force Tess's family to move to the mainland--and Tess to leave the only home she has ever known. Fortunately, the islanders have a plan too: increase the numbers of students by having several families take in foster children. So now Tess and her family are taking a chance on Aaron, a thirteen-year-old trumpet player who has been bounced from home to home. And Tess needs a plan of her own--and all the luck she can muster. Will Tess's wish come true or will her luck run out?

Newbery Honor author Cynthia Lord offers a warm-hearted, humorous, and thoughtful look at what it means to belong--and how lucky we feel when we do. Touch Blue, sure as certain, will touch your heart.
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Publishers Weekly

As she did in the Newbery Honorwinning Rules, Lord introduces a plucky, articulate girl from coastal Maine. When Tess's best friend's family moves away and there are no longer enough students to keep her island school open, her family is among those that offer to take in foster children to boost enrollment. Awaiting the arrival of Aaron, her teenage foster brother, Tess--an avid collector of good-luck talismans--is thrilled to find a piece of blue sea glass, since blue is especially lucky: "Touch blue and your wish will come true." Lord interlaces themes of loss, luck, superstition, family, and belonging, but at the heart of this tightly woven story is Tess's longing to help Aaron overcome his hurt and anger at having been taken from his alcoholic mother (years before) and shuffled among foster homes, and to make him feel like he's part of her close-knit family. His mother's unannounced appearance (at Tess's bold, clandestine invitation) at a talent show in which Aaron plays the trumpet adds tension and pathos to the finale of this stirring novel. Ages 912. (Aug.) Copyright 2010 Publishers Weekly Used with permission.

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 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Cynthia Lord
Derek Anderson is the New York Times bestselling illustrator of the Little Quack series by Lauren Thompson as well as the Hot Rod Hamster series by Cynthia Lord. He is also the author and illustrator of Ten Pigs: An Epic Bath Adventure and Story County: Here We Come! He writes and paints in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Visit him online at
Cynthia Lord is the award-winning author of Rules, a Newbery Honor Book and a Schneider Family Book Award winner, as well as the critically acclaimed Half a Chance, A Handful of Stars, and Because of the Rabbit. She made her picture-book debut with Hot Rod Hamster, which won several awards, including the Parents' Choice Award, and is the author of the Shelter Pet Squad chapter book series. She lives in Maine with her family. Visit her at
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Scholastic Press
Publication date
August 20, 2010
BISAC categories
JUV013000 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | General
Library of Congress categories
Foster home care
Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award
Nominee 2012 - 2012
Rhode Island Children's Book Awards
Nominee 2012 - 2012
Rhode Island Teen Book Award
Nominee 2012 - 2012
North Carolina Children's Book Award
Nominee 2012 - 2012
Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award
Nominee 2012 - 2012
Lupine Award
Winner 2010 - 2010
Virginia Readers Choice Award
Nominee 2013 - 2013
Grand Canyon Reader Award
Nominee 2013 - 2013
Charlie May Simon Children's Book Award
Nominee 2012 - 2013
Young Hoosier Book Award
Nominee 2013 - 2013
South Carolina Childrens, Junior and Young Adult Book Award
Nominee 2012 - 2013
Louisiana Young Readers' Choice Award
Nominee 2013 - 2013
Massachusetts Children's Book Award
Nominee 2012 - 2013
Sunshine State Young Reader's Award
Nominee 2014 - 2014
Volunteer State Book Awards
Nominee 2013 - 2014

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