Erin's Shelf Treasures

Welcome to Shelf Treasures, a new feature here on the Northeast Library page!

I will be highlighting children's books on the D.C. Public Library's shelves that I consider "treasures"---great stories that are either out of print, or simply not as well known as I think they should be---with the goal of introducing these titles to a new generation of kids and their parents.

Our first Shelf Treasure, Keeper of the Isis Light by Monica Hughes, is a book that has remained vivid in my mind ever since I first read it in middle school. 

At times, older science fiction titles can seem weirdly out-of-date to a modern reader, but Keeper of the Isis Light remains fresh because it deals with classic themes like coming of age, heartbreak and what it means to be human, within a science fiction setting. 

"It was a day like another on Isis, and yet, when it was over, nothing would be the same again." 

Olwen Pendennis has lived all her life on the planet Isis, free to roam the vast plains and mesas, alone except for her pet and Guardian, the artificial intelligence who has raised her for as long as she can remember. Her duty is to help maintain the Isis Light, a broadcasting station that communicates with passing spaceships and a distant Earth.

Her quiet yet happy life changes on her 16th birthday, when she learns that Earth has finally approved a settlement on Isis, and settlers will be arriving soon. At first angry about the changes, she gradually becomes more and more fascinated with the new arrivals, and even begins to fall in love. 

But life on Isis has changed her in ways that she doesn't understand or suspect--will she and the settlers be able to accept each other when all the mysteries of Isis (and of Olwen's life) are revealed?

I can't say too much more because you really want to read this book unspoiled for the later plot twists!

I'd encourage any teen or tween who likes science fiction, suspense or romance to look past the old-fashioned cover and give Keeper of the Isis Light a try.