by Theodore Taylor | Grades 4-6 | Lexile Level 860
When the freighter on which they are traveling is torpedoed by a U-boat, an adolescent white boy, blinded by a blow on the head, and an old black man are stranded on a tiny Caribbean island where the boy acquires a new kind of vision, courage, and love from his old companion
Phillip is excited when the Germans invade the small island of Curaçao. War has always been a game to him, and he's eager to glimpse it firsthand-until the freighter he and his mother are traveling to the United States on is torpedoed.
When Phillip comes to, he is on a small raft in the middle of the sea. Besides Stew Cat, his only companion is an old West Indian, Timothy. Phillip remembers his mother's warning about black people: "They are different, and they live differently." But by the time the castaways arrive on a small island, Phillip's head injury has made him blind and dependent on Timothy.