By the Book @ Rogers Memorial Library

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

When we view old photographs we engage in time travel.  We are able to see people — long dead — and the world they lived in. Ransom Riggs, blogger, photograph collector and first time author, has incorporated authentic photographs into his novel of peculiar children caught in time.

Jacob Portman has always been close to his Grandpa.  He loves the stories that his Grandpa tells about being sent to a small island off the coast of Wales when he was young, and living in an enchanted orphanage full of children with supernatural powers.  He even had a box full of photographs picturing his friends: an invisible boy; a levitating girl; a boy who had dreams that foretold the future.

As Jacob grows older, he begins to doubt his Grandpa’s stories.  He learns that after his entire family was killed by Nazis during World War II, his Grandpa was sent to the island to keep him safe until the War’s end.  Clearly these stories represent a way for him to deal with a horrific childhood.

Then one day while at work, Jacob gets a frantic call from his Grandpa.  By the time he reaches him, he’s dead.  The death occurred under suspicious circumstances, and Jacob wants to discover both the truth of his grandfather’s death and of his life.  Jacob travels with his father to the island of Cairnholm to see if anyone remembers his Grandpa and if the orphanage that saved him still exists.  When they arrive on the island, the locals are rough, the electricity is from a generator and the internet connection is nonexistent.  Jacob learns little from the men who seem to live in the island’s only pub, but he does locate Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children…or, what’s left of it.  Although the orphanage was bombed on September 3, 1940, there may still be a way for Jacob to contact his Grandpa’s fellow orphans — peculiar children with sad histories, who banded together during the worst of the Second World War and who remain trapped on the island.

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is not just a book with a gimmick. Ransom Riggs is both a serious photography collector and a talented writer, who has combined the two art forms to create a creepy yet moving allegory of lost children of the Holocaust.  Appropriate for both teen and adult readers, this is a beautiful book both in content and design.  Readers interested in World War II, family histories and secrets, time travel or experimental fiction should check out this unique book.


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