President Barack Obama and his family hike on Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park during a 2010 vacation to Mount Desert Island. OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO BY PETE SOUZA

President Obama picks up a few books by Deer Isle writer



Deer Isle writer Cynthia Voigt’s name recently appeared in national headlines when U.S. President Barack Obama and his daughters purchased three of her books. Here she is with her granddaughter, Birdie Coit. CYNTHIA VOIGT PHOTO

DEER ISLE — When U.S. President Barack Obama took his daughters Sasha and Malia on their ritual post-Thanksgiving trip to a Washington, D.C., book store to pick up some holiday reading material, they left with nine works of fiction.

Two were by relative celebrities in the mature fiction world, “Purity” by Jonathan Franzen and “Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights” by Salman Rushdie, according to CNN.

The rest were geared toward a younger audience. Only one author had not one but three books chosen by the Obamas in their latest outing, and she lives far away from the hustle-and-bustle of our nation’s capital.

Cynthia Voigt, a fiction writer who has won the prestigious Newbery Medal, lives year-round on Deer Isle. Her three novels selected by the first family were “Elske,” Jackaroo” and “On Fortune’s Wheel.” They’re part of Voigt’s “The Kingdom” series.

“These are adventure stories that take place in a distant past at a time when reading is a privilege restricted to the wealthy and powerful, where justice is hard to come by, where danger — from without or within, from above or below or any side, from natural or human causes — threatens,” reads a blurb on Voigt’s website. “The heroines and heroes of these stories have to fight to win what is important to them, and sometimes they have to give it up.”

Book3“On Fortune’s Wheel,” for example, is about the 14-year-old daughter of an innkeeper who dives into a river in pursuit of a supposed thief, falls in love with him and journeys across the world, getting shipwrecked, rescued by pirates, sold into slavery and more.

Malia and Sasha’s dad isn’t an innkeeper, but it’s not hard to see how such tales — forged on the rugged Maine coast — might appeal to them, or any other young adults for that matter.

Charles Eichacker

Charles Eichacker

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
Charles Eichacker covers the towns of Bucksport, Orland, Castine, Verona Island, Penobscot, Brooksville and Dedham. When not working on stories, he likes books, beer and the outdoors. [email protected]

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