2008 ALEX Award Winner (Young Adult Library Services Association)
2008 Best Books for Young Adults (Young Adult Library Services Association)
Commonwealth Writer's Prize Winner
Booker Prize Finalist
Selected for Common Reading at Queens University of Charlotte
In a novel that is at once intense, beautiful, and fablelike, Lloyd Jones weaves a transcendent story that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the power of narrative to transform our lives.
On a copper-rich tropical island shattered by war, where the teachers have fled with most everyone else, only one white man chooses to stay behind: the eccentric Mr. Watts, object of much curiosity and scorn, who sweeps out the ruined schoolhouse and begins to read to the children each day from Charles Dickens’s classic Great Expectations.
So begins this rare, original story about the abiding strength that imagination, once ignited, can provide. As artillery echoes in the mountains, thirteen-year-old Matilda and her peers are riveted by the adventures of a young orphan named Pip in a city called London, a city whose contours soon become more real than their own blighted landscape. As Mr. Watts says, “A person entranced by a book simply forgets to breathe.” Soon come the rest of the villagers, initially threatened, finally inspired to share tales of their own that bring alive the rich mythology of their past. But in a ravaged place where even children are forced to live by their wits and daily survival is the only objective, imagination can be a dangerous thing.
Praise for Mister Pip...
"One of the best books of the year! Poetic, heartbreaking, surprising. Matilda is a young girl in Bougainville, a tropical island where the horror of civil war lurks. Mr. Watts, the only white person, is the self appointed teacher of the tiny school where the only textbook is the Dickens novel Great Expectations. Storytelling, imagination, courage, beauty, memories and sudden violence are the main elements of this extraordinary book."—Isabel Allende, author of The House of Spirits
"Mister Pip is a powerful and touching story about one man's role in transforming the lives of young people. Although these children live on an island left behind by the modern world, their plight reminded me of the challenges my very own students faced in the inner-city. This novel demands we take note of the sheer power of education and literature to transform the lives of young people--whatever their circumstances and wherever in the world they may be. Every high school teacher and student should read this book."—Erin Gruwell, author of The Freedom Writers Diary
“Mister Pip is sheer magic, a story about stories and their power to transcend the limits of imagination and reside in the deep heart's core. Lloyd Jones is a brave and fierce writer, and he has given us Dickens brand new again.”—Keith Donohue, author of The Stolen Child
WINNER 2007 - Commonwealth Writer's Prize in the UK
WINNER 2007 - American Library Association Literary Awards
WINNER 2007 - ALA Notable Book
WINNER 2008 - Alex Award - YALSA
WINNER 2008 - YALSA Best Books for Young Adults
WINNER 2008 - Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize
Listen to the author's podcast episode.
Lloyd Jones is also the author of the forthcoming Here at the End of the World We Learn to Dance, The Book of Fame and Biografi, a New York Times Notable Book, among others. He lives in Wellington, New Zealand.