Becoming a member of the LoveReading4Kids community is free.

No catches, no fine print just unconditional book loving for your children with their favourites saved to their own digital bookshelf.

New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop plus lots lots more...

Find out more

Turtle Boy

Written by M. Evan Wolkenstein

Debuts of the Month Family / Home Stories Featured Books for 11+ readers Featured Books for 9+ readers Gritty Reads Personal Social Health Economic (PSHE) Star Books Stories about Animals

LoveReading View on Turtle Boy

Inspired by the author’s own life story this is a touching story of friendship – and turtles!

August 2020 Debut of the Month

Will Levine has two passions in his life, the local wildlife reserve behind his school and the turtles he has found there. The rest of his life is a bit of a disaster in his eyes – he is given an unkind nickname at school, due to a facial difference, he has to cope with an upcoming Bar Mitzvah, and he has a community service he needs to fulfil for a boy who is confined to a hospital room. Then, to make matters worse, the county plans to sell off the nature reserve. Plus, there is a looming surgical procedure for Will – who hates having blood tests, never mind anything else.


How can he make these things work for him – how can he survive it all, when all he really wants to do is look after his turtles and hide away.  


Slowly Will responds to the needs of RJ who is stuck in the hospital, and they build a strong and wildly adventurous friendship that takes Will away from his comfort zone and helps RJ experience things he would never have chance to do himself.  As well as the obvious empathy the book elicits from its readers there is a wonderful amount of humour, and some passing knowledge gained about turtles too!  


A wonderful story for all of life’s outsiders – offering hope and new perspectives.

Find more books with Positive Images of Disability.


Tricia Adams

LoveReading4Kids Kids Zone

We've got some great stuff related to this book in our KidsZone.
Head over there and check it out now.

Turtle Boy Synopsis

Twelve-year-old Will likes two things: turtles and the local nature reserve. Everything else is a nightmare, because Will has a facial difference that has earned him an unfortunate nickname.

But when Will's Bar Mitzvah community service project introduces him to RJ, a boy who is confined to a hospital room, Will discovers they both have strength to lend the other and that life is too short to live in a shell.

Turtle Boy Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

This book is great! Full review

George Daniels (Age 12)

This story is about two friends who meet in a hospital, and help each other. Read the book to find out what’s on RJ’s bucket list which Will helps complete and how RJ helps Will in return. It will remind you what true friendship looks like! Full review

Lucas Blake (Age 9)

Very emotional and very well-written book about a new friendship developing under tragic circumstances. Full review

Joshua Bertenshaw (Age 8)

Turtle Boy is such a great book, making you laugh and feel sad, whilst thinking about what friendship is really all about. Full review

Luke Killen (Age 12)

If you loved this, you might like these...

When We Got Lost in Dreamland
The Invisible Boy
The Space We're In
The Lost Soul Atlas

All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781474981385
Publication date: 06/08/2020
Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781474981385
Publication date: 6th August 2020
Author: M. Evan Wolkenstein
Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 400 pages
Suitable for: 11+ readers, 9+ readers
Genres: Family / Home Stories, Gritty Reads, Personal Social Health Economic , Body / Health, Animals
Recommendations: Debuts of the Month, Reviewed by Children, Star Books
Collections: Summer Reading 2020, 85 Brilliant Books about Friendships, 30 Books with Positive Images of Disability, Our favourite children's books of 2020,

About M. Evan Wolkenstein

M. Evan Wolkenstein is a Jewish educator, style writer and illustrator. His work has been published in Tablet Magazine and the Washington Post. Evan's debut novel, Turtle Boy, began as an autobiographical comic strip about his experiences growing up with a facial deformity. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and baby daughter.

More About M. Evan Wolkenstein

Share this book