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Groundwood Books

Avis Dolphin

Written by Frieda Wishinsky • Illustrated by Willow Dawson

For kids 9 - 12 years old | Published March 25, 2015 | ISBN 9781554984909
JUVENILE FICTION / Historical / Europe

Cover of Avis Dolphin

Regular price $14.95 CAD

128 pages
Digital Format

Also Available in Print

About this book

Avis Dolphin

Frieda Wishinsky • Willow Dawson

Inspired by the story of actual passengers on the ill-fated Lusitania, this is a novel of great adventure and suspense, including graphic novel-style illustrations.

Avis Dolphin doesn’t want to leave New York and sail to England on the Lusitania. War is raging in Europe, and the Germans threaten to sink the ship. Avis is lonely and afraid until she meets a kindly professor whose stories of a magical island help her face an uncertain future.

When the Lusitania is attacked, Avis must draw on all her newfound strength to cope with the confusion, terror and despair. How can she survive the sudden devastation of the ship? Will the people she cares about, especially the professor, live through the horror and danger? 

The immediacy of Frieda Wishinsky’s voice will engage readers in this thrilling story based on real events. They will identify with Avis and Professor Holbourn as they grapple with a stubborn captain, encounter German stowaways and contend with the feud between Avis’s two cabin mates. In an atmosphere of growing anxiety, readers will be glued to the dramatic events as they unfold and the surprising fate of the people they have come to know.

Willow Dawson’s art depicts the stories the professor tells Avis in enchanting graphic-novel form. They provide a riveting magical element to the story, creating a story-within-a-story.

Like Avis, readers will fall in love with Foula and will dream of the island long after they have reached the last page of this exciting story.

About the Creators

Frieda Wishinsky

Frieda Wishinsky is an award-winning author and teacher. She lives with her family in Toronto. Visit Frieda Wishinsky's website:

Willow Dawson

Willow Dawson is an award-winning author and illustrator whose books include Ghost Limb, Hyena in Petticoats, Lila and Ecco’s Do-It-Yourself Comics Club, and the upcoming The Wolf-Birds. Willow lives in Toronto.

Awards and Praise
This child’s view of the event with eye-catching illustrations is an accessible take on the historic event.
  • Short-listed Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People, 2016
  • Commended CCBC Best Books for Children and Teens, 2016
  • Short-listed The Vine Award for Canadian Jewish Literature, Children's/Young Adult, 2016