Illustrated by Kerry Millard, first published by Allen & Unwin, Australia, 1999
Random House, USA, 2000
; see below for other editions
An irresistible adventure fantasy about Nim - a young girl alone on a tropical island except for her three amazing friends: an iguana, a sea-lion and a turtle. When a hurricane strikes, Nim becomes a hero in a single-handed sea rescue. Now a major feature film starring Jodie Foster, Abigail Breslin ('Little Miss Sunshine') and Gerard Butler ('300').
Buy it Now: Click on your country below
Australia (paperback & ebook)
Audio Book, read by Rebecca Macauley
also available on iTunes
Canada (paperback & ebook)
USA (paperback & ebook)
read by Kate Reading
In a palm tree, on an island, in the middle of the wide blue sea, was a girl.
Nim's hair was wild, her eyes were bright, and around her neck she wore three cords. One was for a spyglass, one for a whirly, whistling shell and the other a fat red pocket knife in a sheath.
With the spyglass at her eye, she watched her father's boat. It sailed out through the reef to the deeper dark ocean and Jack turned to wave, and Nim waved back though she knew he couldn't see. Read more
Nim lives on an island in the middle of the wide blue sea with her father, Jack, a marine iguana called Fred, a sea lion called Selkie, a turtle called Chica and a satellite dish for her e-mail. No one else in the world lives quite like Nim, and she wouldn't swap places with anyone.
But when Jack disappears in his sailing boat, and disaster threatens her home, Nim must be braver than she's ever been before.
And she needs help from her friends, old and new.
"A fantasy tale as welcome as a breath of fresh tropical air."
(Starred review in Publishers Weekly, USA, Feb 19, 2001)
"Appealingly offbeat tale... Nim, with her unusual associates
and just-right mix of self-reliance and vulnerability, makes a
character young readers won't soon tire of."
(Kirkus Reviews, USA, Dec 15, 2000)
"Teachers can springboard many geographic or scientific studies off this novel as they read
it aloud, but kids can just enjoy the fun." (School Library Journal, USA, Feb 2001)
"Wendy Orr tweaks coincidence to create a refreshing fantasy tale... With ample doses of suspense and comedy and a pleasingly sappy happily-ever-after ending, the tale portrays the improbable so cleverly that readers will want to believe everything about the likable Nim and her idyllic isle." (Los Angeles Times, December 2001)
Named one of the Best Books for Children of 2001 by the L.A. Times.
Shortlisted, The West Australian Young Readers' Book Award (WAYRBA) 2001
Families Just Like Us: The One Parent Families good book guide, UK, 2000
New York Public Library's "Children's Books, 2001 – 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing"
A Parent's Guide 2001 Children's Media Award Winner (USA)
Maine Student Book Awards (3rd place)
Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Book Award finalist
Cochecho Readers' Award, (New Hampshire) nominee 2002-3
2005-2006 Battle of the Books Official List, Alaskan Association of School Librarians
2009 Mits'ad Hasfarim" - "The March of Books” – most popular book for 4th to 6th graders, Israel
Editions and Translations:
Nim’s Island is currently in print in several editions and many translations:
Australia: Allen & Unwin
USA: Random House/Knopf
Brazil: A Iilha de Nim; Brinque Books
China: (Simplified Chinese) by Dolphin Media Co
France: L’ille de Nim; Flammarion
Germany as Wie versteckt man eine Insel? ; DTV Junior
Israel: Iguana (email@example.com)
Italy as L'Isolo di Nim ; paperback by Adriano Salani Editore, www.nordsudedizioni.it
hardcover by Fabbri Editori (www.delfinifabbri.it)
Lithuania: Nimes Sala; Obuolys
Netherlands: Nim’s Eiland; Lemniscaat
Poland: Wyspa Nim; Wydawnictwo Zielona Sowa
Portugal: A ilha de Nim; Dom Quixote
Spain (Catalan) L’illa de la Nim
(Basque) Nimen Uhartea
(Spanish, La Isla de Nim, Edelvives
Sweden: Nim Och den Hemliga On; Wahlstroms
Taiwan (in Complex Chineses Characters); Wind-Ball
Turkey: Nim’in Andasi;Tudem
Nim and her dad live all alone on their island. Do you think this would be a fun way to live? What might be some of the problems?
Think of all the different things you could make out of coconuts if you lived on an island like Nim’s. What else could you make out of things you could find on the island?
Could a whale really have swallowed Nim’s mother? What do you think happened?
Would you like to have Nim as a friend? What could you learn from her? What could she learn from you?
Alex Rover does all her research from her apartment. What are the good and bad things about learning this way?
What would you name Nim and Jack’s island? What about their boat? What do you think Nim’s mum’s name might have been?
Where do you think Alex Rover lives? Are there clues in the book?
Nim’s Island has been made into a movie. Does this change how you think Nim looks? What about the hut? The island? Why do you think the animals may be different?
A book and a film tell a story in different ways. Divide into groups and have a debate about which way you like best and why.
Write a letter describing where you live to someone who lives on a small island and has never seen a home like yours.
Find actual email pals, either within the class or in a safe environment such as www.think.com
Write the story that you think Alex Rover is writing
Write a journal as if you were Jack while he is on his boat and trying to get back to the island.
Look at a globe. Where do you think Nim’s Island might be? Are there clues in the book?
Research on the net –(like Alex Rover):
Marine iguanas - how are they different from other iguanas and lizards?
Where do they live? Find out more about the Galapagos Islands.
If they are only supposed to live on the Galapagos Islands, why might they also live on Nim’s Island?
Sea lions – how are sea lions different from dolphins? Find out more about sea mammals.
Sea turtles – how are they different from land turtles? Can they retract (pull in) their head and flippers? If not, can you guess why it wouldn’t be as useful for them as land turtles? How long do they live?
Coconut pearls – are they real? How many coconuts might you have to open to find one?
Volcanoes – what happens when a volcano erupts?
Where might you see a real volcano like the one on Nim’s Island?
How hot would it be inside?
Time zones – why is it a different time of day for Alex and Nim, even if they are writing at exactly the same moment?
Q& A for Nim’s Island: Also see Nim's Island section of FAQ
What was your inspiration for this book?
Nim’s Island was inspired partly by two letters from girls asking me to write a book about them. I said that I couldn’t do that, but I started playing the writer’s game of “What if?” (two very important words in finding stories). “What if a girl wrote to an author and said “Could you please write a book about me?” and the author said, “No, because I’m a very famous writer who writes very exciting books, and since you’re just a little girl your life would be much too boring.” But what if the girl’s life was more exciting than the author’s?
I then decided that the girl’s life was more exciting because she lived on an island, and write the book all in letters between the girl and the author – which was very boring. Finally I remembered a story I’d written when I was 9, about a little girl running away from an orphanage to life alone on an island – and finally Nim’s Island came to life.
So the inspiration was partly those letters, but the deeper inspiration was seeing a tiny little island when I was 9 and thinking that I’d like to live on it, because that’s why I wrote that first story.