PW10 Orca Canada Logo

Please log in to your Orca Book Publishers account.
Once logged in, your shopping cart will be saved if you need to leave the site before completing checkout. Your shipping addresses and discount codes will also be saved for future visits.

Search Orca Book Publishers
  • My Heart Fills with Happiness
  • Wolf Island

The Gnome's Eye
By author: Anna Kerz
Selling Points: Immigration, courage, superstition
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: Apr/01/2010
Pages: 224
Fiction Ages 9-12
Price:  $9.95
Bookmark and Share

Dear Martin:
I got in trouble yesterday. I thought about all the stories you made up, so I made up one of my own and told it to Herman-the-Pest, and now I have to stay beside my mother for a whole day. I thought it was a good story, but he thought it was scary. The funny part is that he cried again the next night because I wasn't allowed to tell him another one!

In the spring of 1954, when her father announces that the family has a chance to immigrate to Canada, Theresa's life changes forever. She and her family are wartime refugees from Yugoslavia, so it shouldn't be hard to leave Austria. But the weathered barracks of Lager Lichtenstein are the only home she knows, and they are filled with family and friends she doesn't want to leave behind.

As she says her good-byes, Theresa's friend Martin gives her two gifts: a package of postcards and a stone he calls the Gnome's Eye, which he says will "protect her from all things evil, living or dead." Theresa is convinced the stone has no power, but she still keeps it close as they travel on the crowded immigrant ship and when they settle into a rooming house on Kensington Avenue in Toronto.

At first Theresa is afraid of everything: the other tenants in the rooming house, the rat that lives in the kitchen, learning a new language. But as time goes by, Theresa's need for the Gnome's Eye fades, until she is finally able to give it to someone who needs it more than she does.
Library Media Connection - November 1, 2010
"A believable first-person narrative told through the eyes of an impressionable, imaginative child…This family interests the reader, and learning about a different time and place is intriguing. Recommended."
Puget Sound Council - October 1, 2010
"An excellent book for anyone interested in the struggles of an immigrant."
January Magazine - August 25, 2010
"A charming fish out of water story with sharply imaginative elements that children nine to 12 will enjoy."
School Library Journal - August 1, 2010
"This immigration story…presents itself through a strong first-person voice deft in creating an empathetic and engaging response in middle grade readers. Both laughter and genuine concern will be evident through Theresa's imaginative storytelling and descriptive narrative."
Canadian Children's Book News - July 1, 2010
"Sensitively written…Highly recommend[ed]."
Resource Links - June 1, 2010
"A touching story of immigration through the eyes of a young girl...Sensitive and fast-paced, this well-written novel will capture the reader's interest on many levels."
Quill & Quire - June 1, 2010
"Kerz provides a fresh take on...immigrant motifs in a well-shaped plot...Kerz does a particularly nice job of indicating that the characters are not speaking English."
Booklist - May 15, 2010
"[A] lively, detailed novel...The immigration drama will hold readers."
CM Magazine - April 9, 2010
"A realistic novel that shows the trauma of adjustment to a new culture. The Gnome's Eye also contains mythical, magical elements that give it an added dimension…Highly recommended."


Hackmatack Children's Choice Award nominee, short-listed  CA  2011
CCBC Best Books, commended  CA  2011
PSLA Top Forty, commended  US  2010
Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Books of the Year, commended  US  2011

Ebooks available from the following retailers:

You might also be interested in:

Better Than Weird
SKU:  3627
Format: Paperback

Add Better Than Weird to Cart

The Mealworm Diaries
SKU:  9822
Format: Paperback

Add The Mealworm Diaries to Cart

Your Cart


Middle Reader Fiction

Compelling fiction
for at-level readers

Key Features:
Compelling stories
Age-appropriate plots

Teaching Resources:
Accelerated Reader
Curriculum Connections


Discounts Available for:

See the full list of Middle Reader Fiction.