Mysteries that Matter
Trouble at Turtle Pond
A Massachusetts Book Awards “Must-Read”
A 2023 Children’s Book Council Librarian Favorites Winner
When eleven-year-old Miles moves to the town of Marsh Hollow, Massachusetts, he’s desperate for a fresh start. At his old school, his ADHD-related challenges earned him a reputation as a troublemaker and cost him his friends. With just one chance to make a first impression, “Mayhem Miles” is determined to do something great in his new town, like solving a mystery. Marsh Hollow is home to a wildlife refuge where nesting turtles are on the move. His neighbor, Pia, convinces him to join the Backyard Rangers, who are working to protect them. Miles and Pia discover clues that suggest someone is poaching endangered Blanding’s turtles. Then a pair of hatchlings in Pia’s care vanish at a town event and turtle eggs go missing. The Backyard Rangers investigate suspects and advocate for the turtles. But when Miles becomes a suspect himself, he has to convince his new friends he’s not who they think he is, and stop the turtle crimes before more turtles–and people–get hurt.
A friendship-centered eco-mystery, Trouble at Turtle Pond celebrates community science, activist kids, and the power of paying attention.
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Praise and Awards for TROUBLE AT TURTLE POND
2023 Honor Book in the Nature Generation’s Green Earth Book Awards
2023 Children’s Book Council Librarian Favorites Winner
A Massachusetts Book Awards “Must-Read”
Category Finalist for the 2023 Eric Hoffer Book Award
“This book will make you stand up for turtles! I loved this story of friendship, self-reliance, and the meaning of becoming a good steward to all the creatures on our fragile planet. Bonus: A gripping mystery will keep you guessing!”
– Leslie Connor, National Book Award finalist, author of The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle and Has Anyone Here Seen Frenchie?
“I was drawn into Miles’s story right away, and happily followed him throughout his adventure as he navigated fresh starts, new friendships, and vanishing turtles. An engaging mystery, Trouble At Turtle Pond stars a compassionate character who does the right thing even when it’s difficult and fights to protect those who can’t protect themselves.”
– Lynne Kelly, author of Song For a Whale
“I absolutely loved joining troublemaker Miles in solving this eco-mystery! Fans of Carl Hiaasen’s Hoot will get lost in the fun antics and genuine nature of ‘Mayhem Miles,’ and they’ll revel in the adventures of the Backyard Rangers. Diana Renn brings a fresh new voice to middle-grade with Trouble at Turtle Pond, a story full of mystery, citizen science, and a whole lot of heart.”
– Fleur Bradley, author of Agatha-nominated Midnight at the Barclay Hotel and Daybreak on Raven Island
“Miles is heartfelt and resourceful, and always comes through for his neighborhood friends. With a full cast of suspicious characters to keep you guessing until the very end, Diana Renn’s charming eco-mystery will make you fall in love with turtles and yearn to be a Backyard Ranger, too!”
– Sheela Chari, author of Edgar-nominated Vanished, the Mars Patel series and Karthik Delivers
“Miles and Pia are such endearing young citizen scientists! I adored their big, caring hearts – and loved exploring and clue-seeking around the turtle pond with them. A sure hit for kids interested in wildlife — and for all of us who find our stride on nature trails.”
– Sally J. Pla, award-winning author of The Someday Birds and Stanley Will Probably Be Fine
“Nothing about this fun, fast-paced mystery moved at a turtle’s pace! Trouble at Turtle Pond is a truly intriguing read for young animal lovers and detectives everywhere!”
– Taryn Souders, author of Edgar Award-nominated Coop Knows the Scoop
“. . . [R]eads like a Nancy Drew mystery set in an endangered turtle habitat. The kids use a combination of research and daring to help protect the turtles. . . . There’s a nice balance of excitement and education.”
– Dragonfly: An Exploration of Eco-Fiction (full review here)
INTERVIEWS / GUEST POSTS
Featured on WBUR Radio Boston: “Regional Turtle Fostering Program Inspires New Children’s Book.” March 2022. Listen to the interview with Diana Renn and Zoo New England’s Emilie Wilder here!
Guest on “A Conspiracy of Lemurs” podcast with authors Frank Morelli and Ginger Park. “Empowering Young Readers through Middle Grade Fiction.” April 2022. Listen here!
Teaching Books, “Meet the Author” recording. Diana talks about the backstory behind Trouble at Turtle Pond. Listen here!
School Library Journal, guest post: “Helping Turtles: Writing as Conservation Work.” Read the guest post here!