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2006 Nominee
Voted 1 out of 20

Airborn

By Kenneth Oppel. Published in 2004 by HarperCollins

Airborn is an exciting, Jules Verne like, adventure story set in an imaginary past. Ken Oppel has created a story in which great airships filled with hydrium, the lightest gas in the world, travel between continents. The story is told by fifteen-year-old Matt Cruse, who is a cabin boy on the luxury airship Aurora. Matt knows every inch of the Aurora, the same ship from which his father dropped to his death while making repairs during a storm.

While on watch on a trip over the Pacificus Matt helps rescue an old man from a crippled hot-air balloon. Before dying the severely injured man speaks of some fantastic, beautiful creatures he has observed and remarks that, “Kate would’ve loved them.”

On a trip back across the Pacificus a year later Matt discovers that one of the passengers is Kate de Vries, the granddaughter of the dead hot-air balloon pilot. Kate has her grandfather’s journal that describes the strange animals he observed and she is determined to locate and photograph the mysterious animals.

The Aurora is attacked by air pirates who rob the rich passengers. As the pirates depart a sudden storm blows the ships together and cripples the Aurora. The crippled airship manages to land on an uncharted island that turns out to be the home of the mysterious animals and the pirates. Kate and Matt are the center of several connected adventures and conflicts dealing with the repair of their airship, the winged animals and the pirates.

Middle school students will enjoy this fast paced, unique adventure filled with great characters.

Airborn is an exciting, Jules Verne like, adventure story set in an imaginary past. Ken Oppel has created a story in which great airships filled with hydrium, the lightest gas in the world, travel between continents. The story is told by fifteen-year-old Matt Cruse, who is a cabin boy on the luxury airship Aurora. Matt knows every inch of the Aurora, the same ship from which his father dropped to his death while making repairs during a storm.

While on watch on a trip over the Pacificus Matt helps rescue an old man from a crippled hot-air balloon. Before dying the severely injured man speaks of some fantastic, beautiful creatures he has observed and remarks that, “Kate would’ve loved them.”

On a trip back across the Pacificus a year later Matt discovers that one of the passengers is Kate de Vries, the granddaughter of the dead hot-air balloon pilot. Kate has her grandfather’s journal that describes the strange animals he observed and she is determined to locate and photograph the mysterious animals.

The Aurora is attacked by air pirates who rob the rich passengers. As the pirates depart a sudden storm blows the ships together and cripples the Aurora. The crippled airship manages to land on an uncharted island that turns out to be the home of the mysterious animals and the pirates. Kate and Matt are the center of several connected adventures and conflicts dealing with the repair of their airship, the winged animals and the pirates.

Middle school students will enjoy this fast paced, unique adventure filled with great characters.

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