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Aldabra, Or the Tortoise Who Loved Shakespeare

Written by Silvana Gandolfi

Translated by Lynne Sharon Schwartz


A country that gave us Carlo Collodi (Pinocchio), Umberto Ecco, and Italo Calvino had to have some wonderful authors writing for children today. And I was frustrated that I knew so few of them. Fortunately, my friends Luigi Spangol and Mariagrazia Mazzitelli of the august Italian publisher Salani introduced me to a treasured writer on their list, Silvana Gandolfi.

What remained was for us to find the perfect translator. I'd done one previous book with award-winning novelist Lynne Sharon Schwartz - a beautiful picture book called THE FOUR QUESTIONS. And I'd been a big fan of her adult fiction, particularly LEAVING BROOKLYN. I had no idea that she was also a brilliant translator, until one of my associates saw her name on the P.E.N. website. It seemed a huge stroke of kismet, given that these two women have such compatible sensibilities. It was a thrill to work with Lynne again, and to discover a new writer through her.

The book begins with a tantalizing statement from Elisa's grandmother, an actress with a flair for the dramatic: "The way to outsmart death, Elisa dear, is to turn into something else!"

But when it seems as if Nonna might actually be changing literally, Elisa must uncover a series of mysteries: why is it that her mother and her grandmother don't talk? Where is the exotic island of Aldabra - and how can it help her grandmother? Who is the man on the Internet so eager to know the details of Nonna's transformation? And where can Elisa turn for help?

Suspenseful, funny, and beautifully observed, this is a book to be savored, like Italian chocolate.


Reviews and Awards

"The well-written story has enough plot twists and turns to keep readers involved, and they're sure to be intrigued by Nonna Eia's unique means of controlling her own destiny. " - School Library Journal

"From Italy, a gently whimsical tale of transformation and survival.... Elisa's dogged devotion to her grandmother... is the emphatically human element that grounds this magical tale in reality." - Kirkus Reviews

"Fans of fantasy will enjoy the poignancy, mystery, fast pace, and readability of this unusual story." - Voice of Youth Advocates


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Spring 2004
Young Adult Fiction
ISBN: 0-439-49741-8
Price: $15.95/$24.99
Trim Size: 5 1/2" x 8  1/4"
Page Count: 208
Foreign Rights: Scholastic
Translation Rights: Grandi & Associates
Rights Available? yes