Boatload of problems

Rodman Philbrick’s “The Young Man and the Sea” chosen as book club read

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — “The Young Man and the Sea,” award-winning Kittery author Rodman Philbrick’s latest book for ages 9 and up, is Island Readers & Writers’ choice for its Community Book Club’s summer read for people of all ages living and visiting Mount Desert Island. The moving, fast-paced story captures the adventurous Maine spirit and the ingenuity and strength of children.  

The summer book club program is free, but online registration is required. Participants may pick up materials from 10 a.m. to noon and from 2 to 6 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, June 23-25, at IRW’s office at 246 Main Street in Southwest Harbor. They will receive an Adventure Tote with a copy of the book, discussion questions, art activity and a logbook to record activities and thoughts.

“IRW is excited to offer this book club for children and adults living and visiting Mount Desert Island this summer,” said IRW Executive Director Jan Coates. “‘The Young Man and the Sea’ is an exciting and moving story that captures the adventurous Maine spirit.”

Philbrick started writing stories in sixth grade and never stopped. As a young, unpublished author, he worked as a carpenter and boatbuilder. After a career writing mysteries and suspense novels for adults, he stumbled on the idea for “Freak the Mighty,” his first book for young readers, which was made into a movie with Sharon Stone. His Civil War novel “The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg” won a Newbery Honor. In 2021, the Maine Library Association awarded him the Katahdin Lifetime Achievement Award for an outstanding body of work in children’s literature.

As part of the summer program, participants will read “The Young Man and the Sea” and attend various related events including a presentation and book signing by Philbrick from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 17, at the Camp Beech Cliff amphitheater in Mount Desert. Preceding that event, a virtual book discussion will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. Thursday, July 8.

“A parent, caregiver, relative, or other adult is encouraged to read the book and join in the fun the child,” Coates said. “Let’s model a love of reading.”

In addition, writer/journalist Nan Lincoln will offer a tour of the Tremont Historical Society from 2-3 p.m. Tuesday, July 13. She also will discuss the museum’s harpoon.

An art program, featuring Blue Hill artist and illustrator Rebekah Raye, will follow Wednesday, July 14, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Town Hill Community Hall at 1328 State Highway 102 in Bar Harbor.

This program, funded in part by the Maine Arts Commission and the Lynam Trust, was scheduled for 2020 as part of Maine’s bicentennial celebrations, but was postponed due to Covid-19. For more info and to register for the program, visit

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