Martha is looking forward to
spending the summer at her grandmother's house at the ocean. But
then came the knock on the door. A woman who Martha didn't know is
standing there. The woman is Olive Barstow's mother. Olive
has died and in her journal, she wrote about Martha and how she wanted
to be friends with her. Martha hardly knew Olive and wonders why
Olive would want to be her friend. Throughout the summer at the beach,
Martha explores her feelings for Olive, for her grandmother who may be
dying and the people next door.
“She is the nicest person in
my whole entire class.” That's what Olive wrote about me in her journal.
The page her mother handed to me on my front doorstep before thanking me
and walking away. My name is Martha. I knew who Olive was, but I didn't
really know her. Now I won't be able to. She's dead.
Killed in a bike accident at 12. And I'm stuck here at my grandmother's
house on the ocean for summer vacation. Olive wanted to see the ocean.
Why would she write about me? She also wanted to be a writer.
I do too. It’s weird how much we have… or had in common. I
wonder if she would think the same about other things that I think about
too, like about growing old and boys? I wonder. Olive’s Ocean
by Kevin Henkes. (Meg Torrens, email@example.com,
Palmetto Bays Elementary, Myrtle Beach SC)
“We could have been friends.
We could have been but at first she was shy and now she is gone. Olive
Barstow was hit by a car Monroe Street while riding her bicycle weeks ago.
Her mother delivered her journal to me. A journal filled with her secrets
of wanting to be a writer, to see the ocean, her wanting to get to know
Martha Boyle, which happens to be me, and wanting to write an emotional
book instead of neither adventure nor mystery. She wanted to be my friend.
She had the same dream as me, but now she is gone. And after learning these
things I can’t stop thinking of her. A family summer on Cape Cod should
fix things but they seep in everywhere just like the ocean. And this year
there is more drama here than ever with the Manning boys.” (Martha talking)
This 2004 Newbery Award book
by Kevin Henkes called Olive’s Ocean is deceptively simple with topics
like values, honesty, guilt, mortality, trust, family, ambition, and mush
more. Olive’s Ocean is a Contemporary realistic fiction using many coming
of age themes. In this book Martha the protagonist will learn how to deal
with her first confrontation with romance, betrayal, and death. As time
goes on Martha learns and grows. Learn how much she grows by reading Olive’s
Ocean by Kevin Henkes. (Amanda Wilson, Mandolyn24@gmail.com,