The Wanderer

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The Wanderer Study Guide

Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Sharon Creech's The Wanderer. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.

Brief Biography of Sharon Creech

While Sharon Creech grew up in a suburb of Cleveland, she frequently visited her cousins in Quincy, Lewis County, Kentucky, a location that has found a presence in many of her books under the name of “Bybanks,” Kentucky. Creech went to college in the U.S., where she developed an interest in story-telling, later moving to England where she would teach secondary school English and writing. Creech wrote two novels for adults, The Recital (1990) and Nickel Malley (1991), which were published in the U.K., before starting to write children’s books. Her work in children’s literature has received many awards. Most notably, her book Walk Two Moons (1994) won the American Newbery Medal in 1995 from the American Library Association, and the Children’s Book Award for long novels in the U.K. The Wanderer was a runner-up for the Newbery, and won the Parents’ Choice Award in the U.S. Overall, Creech has written twenty-two books and one play. She now lives in the United States, having returned from England in 1998 after being abroad for eighteen years.
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Other Books Related to The Wanderer

Sharon Creech’s Newbery Award-winning novel Walk Two Moons, like The Wanderer, also tells the story of how a thirteen-year-old girl deals with loss, navigates changing family relationships, and comes to understand herself and her own story through telling another’s.
Key Facts about The Wanderer
  • Full Title: The Wanderer
  • When Published: 2000
  • Literary Period: Contemporary Young Adult Fiction
  • Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Adventure/Coming of Age Novel
  • Setting: The crew of The Wanderer sets sail from Connecticut, makes stops at Block Island and Martha’s Vineyard, moves along the southeast coast of Canada (stopping at Grand Manan), and then crosses the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean to arrive at England.
  • Climax: Sophie meets Bompie and learns the truth about her parents and her past.
  • Antagonist: The wave, symbolizing the painful memory of her parents’ death that haunts and antagonizes Sophie’s mind
  • Point of View: The novel is told from two first-person perspectives—Sophie and Cody—in the form of their individual diary entries.

Extra Credit for The Wanderer

Family influence. The first couple of stories which Sophie tells about Bompie were stories told by Sharon Creech’s father. Creech created the others.

Strange coincidences. Sharon Creech got the name “Bompie” from her sister-in-law, who called her grandfather by the same name. Interestingly, after her sister-in-law read the book, she told Creech that, like Bompie in The Wanderer, the name of her grandfather’s wife was Margaret, and that he also had a son named Mo. Creech claims to not have known this before writing the book.