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June 5, 2016

The Kingdom of Oceana: Book Review, Freebie, and Giveaway

I'm not sure how it happened or why it happened, but somehow I got on a list. I suspect it was because I started blogging about middle school reading. Whatever... I am thoroughly delighted it happened! What is it, you wonder?

Every few months I receive an email from one of several children's book publicists asking if I would like to "review" a new book. Generally the email tells a little about the book and its author to allow me to make my decision. I seldom turn these invitations down and as a result have received MANY really good books, books that I normally would not have been exposed to. The Kingdom of Oceana is one such book.

The publicist's message contained this synopsis...

The Kingdom of Oceana, by Mitchell Charles, is recommended for ages 9-15.  At its core, it is a story about a sibling rivalry.

Five centuries ago, on the island now called Hawaii, there was a kingdom filled with adventure, beauty, and magic.  When 16-year-old Prince Ailani and his brother Nahoa trespass on a forbidden burial ground and uncover an ancient tiki mask, they unleash a thousand-year-old curse that threatens to destroy their tropical paradise.

Warring factions spar for control of Oceana, sparking an age-old conflict between rival sorcerers. With the help of ancestral spirit animals, a shape-shifting sidekick, and a beautiful princess, Prince Ailani must fight for his rightful place as the future king of Oceana.

... I was hooked!

And if that wasn't enough, the following book trailer sealed the deal.

The problem was that I couldn't start reading this book just yet because I had too many others already in the works. That's what happens when you teach three different sections of Middle School Language Arts.

Finally, this past weekend I could settle in to enjoy The Kingdom of Oceana, and enjoy I did! While there are numerous adventure,  mystery, and suspense books for middle school readers that are set in various settings I have yet to encounter one with this book's setting: the ANCIENT Pacific Island World of Hawaii. For me, then, The Kingdom of Oceana was a refreshing read.

The Kingdom of Oceana is a perfect book to accompany a historical study of ancient cultures of the Pacific and a terrific way to incorporate literature into the social studies curriculum, thus providing a focus for critical Common Core Standards. It is also a book to introduce middle school students to the importance of a book's setting, again a critical Common Core Standard. Filled with names, vocabulary, animals, and customs that are related to the setting the book opened my eyes to the ancient world of the Pacific peoples. I can envision middle school students fascinated by the words of the text made curious to research to learn more about this unique time and place.  To learn a little more about this book and some of the cultural information or to read an excerpt, please visit this website.

Since I enjoyed this read so much I plan on using it as the first read aloud when we return to school after summer break. It will fit perfectly with the other books I've chosen for my class to read; they are about adventure and survival in conflict with a wilderness setting. While The Kingdom of Oceana has a much different setting than the others, its theme is so similar that it will be perfect for comparing and contrasting important literary elements. To help my students focus on important literary elements and concepts while listening I created a few interactive notebook foldables to accompany this novel. I am making them available for your use as a forever freebie. Please download them HERE.

So that you can read this wonderfully refreshing novel yourself and share it with your middle school students I am offering a complimentary copy via a Rafflecopter giveaway. Simply complete the entries below for a chance to win The Kingdom of Oceana by Mitchell Charles, available for purchase at Amazon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I am so excited I have stumbled across you blog. Not only am I excited about this book because I lived in Hawaii for 14 years moreover, I am a first grade teacher moving to sixth. I walked into my new classroom the other day and there were no chapter books in the classroom. I now am in search of chapter books for my room.

    1. Welcome, Ilee! How exciting a move you are making? From first to sixth! Sixth grade is such an exciting time for students. Good luck with this giveaway. This is a great book to use with sixth graders and with your knowledge of Hawaii... perfect!


  2. This book looks like it would be great to use w/ my 6th graders, as well! Loved the interactive notebook templates too. So glad I found your blog! I look forward to following it and reading more about what you do in the classroom. Thanks so much!

    Lit with Lyns

  3. I'm sorry I missed the giveaway, but am glad to have found another 6th grade Reading teacher. Following you now!


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