The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
Orchard Books, 1990
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What’s this book about?
An ocean voyage of unimaginable consequences …
Not every thirteen-year-old girl is accused of murder, brought to trial, and found guilty. But I was just such a girl, and my story is worth relating even if it did happen years ago. Be warned, however: If strong ideas and action offend you, read no more. Find another companion to share your idle hours. For my part I intend to tell the truth as I lived it.
Story Behind the Story
I began the last story about a story by telling how Book A (Something Upstairs) led to Book B (The Man who was Poe). Here is the story how the Poe book led to Book C, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle.
Poe is generally credited with having invented the detective tale with his short story, Murders on the Rue Morgue. (1841) That story, profoundly influential, also came to be known as a “Locked Room Mystery.” Which is to say something happens in a room that is presumably inaccessible.
Well, I thought, living as I was on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, what could be more of a “locked room” than a sailing ship at sea?
Awards and Recognition
- Newbery Honor Book, 1991
- Horn Book-Boston Globe Award, 1991
- Association of Library Service, 100 Books Kids Should Read, 2000
- SLJ 100 Most Significant Children’s Books of the 20th Century, 2000
- Massachusetts Children’s Choice Award, 1996
- Florida Young Reader’s Award, 1994
- Utah, YA Award, 1994
- ALA Notable, 1991
- ALA Notable Recording (Recorded Books, Inc.) 1992
- Best Books for Young Adults 1991, YASD
- Booklist Editors’ Choice 1990
- Fanfare 1991, Horn Book
- School Library Journal Best Books, 1990
- New York Public Library Best Books for Teens, 1990
- NCTE Notable Children’s Trade Book in the Language Arts, 1991
- Lopez Memorial Foundation Award, 1990
- Child Study Association Best Books of 1990
- IRA Children’s Choice, 1990
- Library of Congress 100 Books for Children, 1991
- English Journal’s Honor List, 1991
- Booklist, 1990, starred review
- Horn Book, 1991, starred review
- School Library Journal, 1990, starred review
- Kirkus Reviews, 1990, starred review
“On a long, grueling journey from England to Rhode Island in 1802, a 12-year-old changes from a prim and proper girl to a swashbuckling mate of a mutinous crew and is accused of murder by the captain. Awash with shipboard activity, intense feelings, and a keen sense of time and place, the story is a throwback to good old-fashioned adventure yarns on the high seas .… A breathtaking seafaring adventure.” (School Library Journal)