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Gone-Away Lake Chapter Books

How would you like to spend a picturesque summer exploring old houses, enjoying the marvels of nature, and making new friends? Take the whole family on a vicarious summer adventure in the Gone-Away Lake series by Elizabeth Enright—it’s a complete and utter delight, perfect for read-aloud.

Book cover of Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright

Where Is Gone-Away Lake?

During a chance afternoon of exploration in a swamp, Portia Blake and her cousin, Julian, stumble upon something unexpected: a long-abandoned lakeside community. The decrepit buildings are in extreme disrepair, overgrown with vines, and completely uninhabited—or are they?

A memorable summer of adventure begins at Gone-Away Lake, with unexpected friendships, shared stories, and the opportunity to create something beautiful out of something almost lost.

Take our free Gone-Away Lake checklist to your local library!

About the Author

Elizabeth Enright wrote twelve books for children before her death in 1968, and the lasting impact of her work continues today. Enright won the Newbery Medal in 1939 with Thimble Summer and a Newbery Honor in 1958 for Gone-Away Lake. She also wrote the beloved Melendy Quartet series.

Enright spent much of her life in New York, but she was born in Illinois and had deep ties to the Midwest, thanks in part to childhood visits with her uncle—renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright—at his estate in Wisconsin. The Midwestern influence is easily noted in the settings of some of her books.

One of the many endearing aspects of Enright’s work is her intense appreciation of nature and the seamless way that she intertwines this love with her stories.

About the Books

Book cover of Return to Gone-Away

In Gone-Away Lake, we meet Portia, who is “beginning to be eleven,” and Julian, who is an “ardent amateur naturalist.” Before long, we also make the acquaintance of an elderly woman named Minnehaha Cheever and her eccentric and distinguished brother, Pindar Payton, who are the only inhabitants at Gone-Away Lake. A sweet friendship forms as “Aunt Min” and “Uncle Pin” introduce the children to the history of Gone-Away Lake, and a summer of flurried activity follows as the children choose one of the abandoned homes to transform into a clubhouse.

At its core, Gone-Away Lake is a quiet, peaceful book with kind, gentle characters and minimal conflict. In fact, the Syracuse, New York, Post-Standard newspaper may have said it best in 1966, calling the book “a wonderful story about likable people.” And we agree!

The sequel, aptly titled Return to Gone-Away, picks up where the first book ends and reintroduces us to the beloved cast of characters from book one. Portia’s family is now in the midst of renovating one of the forgotten houses on the lake, and the children are not without hope that they’ll discover hidden treasure as they clean and repair the mansion. It’s a summer of stories, searches, and surprises during this memorable Return to Gone-Away.

Best of all: contemporary editions of the Gone-Away Lake series still feature the original black-and-white illustrations by famed children’s book illustrators Beth and Joe Krush. The illustrations perfectly suit the style and flavor of the series and are as charming as the text.

The Gone-Away Lake Series at a Glance

Book cover of Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright

Author: Elizabeth Enright
Genre: classic children’s fiction
Interests: friendship, childhood, mystery, exploration, home
Suggested age range: 7 to 12
Gender preference: boys and girls
In the series: 2 books, 224 to 272 pages

Gone-Away Lake Series Checklist

Download the Gone-Away Lake Series Library List

Do your kids need extra encouragement to read?

Take our Gone-Away Lake Series checklist to your local library and have your child check off the books as he reads them.

Looking for more great chapter books? We’ve got you covered!

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Crystal

says:

Always looking for interesting chapter books that keep attention of 1st, 3rd and 5th grader.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Crystal,
Your children may be just the right ages to enjoy this series. I hope they do enjoy it.

Tonya

says:

This looks great for my current kiddos!!!

Michelle

says:

I really appreciate your book series reviews. They are so helpful for our family! We are always in search of good books with moral qualities and values. Thanks so much for sharing!

Merry

says: Customer Service

Hi Michelle,

You’re welcome! Happy reading :-).

becky scott

says:

Wow! I really appreciate the information on the books. When I go to the library, it is sometimes hard to find wholesome books. As for the 7-12 age range, my daughter has read The Little House on the Prairie series, but I haven’t heard about this author. Thank you so much!!!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Becky,
You are welcome, and I hope your daughter enjoys this series. Gone-Away Lake is similar in reading level to many of the Little House books.

Jana

says:

Looking forward to trying these!

jen

says:

I love these!, just ordered to add to our library :)

Lacey

says:

Thanks so much for all of the book recommendations. It makes it so much easier to find good, quality literature.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Lacey!

Jennifer

says:

Oh, these are so great! We love the Melendy family books by the same author, too.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jennifer,
I haven’t read the Melendy family books, but now I am interested! Thanks for mentioning them.

Amber Richards

says:

Thanks for the review! My oldest is reading the book per your recommendation and my 7 year old is listening to it on cd.

Vicky

says:

Thank you! We will definitely get these.

Danielle

says:

We love books!

Megan

says:

Always great to learn of new book series suggestions!

Kimberly

says:

Great series

Danielle

says:

I love getting new book recommendations! Thanks!

Heather

says:

I haven’t heard of these, they seem interesting. I really love how you have been sharing books lately. Some we have and read and some we didn’t know about. Thank you for sharing.

Merry

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Heather. Good books are like meeting new friends. :-)

Cara F

says:

Books ❤️

Amy

says:

❤️❤️❤️

Kim

says:

Sounds like a good story to read aloud to all my kiddos :) Love book recommendations.

K

says:

These look great to engage my reader whom gets overwhelmed with too much print! Thanks!

Merry

says: Customer Service

I hope she enjoys the story as much as we did!

Melissa

says:

Love all of your books.

Betsy

says:

We can’t wait to try these books.

I will be adding these to our (long!) list of books to read!

Lynae

says:

We loved this book as well. Read it years ago, need to read book two!

Bekka Ewald

says:

Love this program!

Tanya

says:

Looks interesting!

Ashley

says:

I am always on the lookout for good book recommendations. These look awesome, I will definitely check them out. Thanks for sharing!

Merry

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Ashley; enjoy!

Katy

says:

Great book suggestion! Will have to look for the series, next time that we are at the library!

Amy Horton

says:

My guy would dig these, thanks

Stephanie B

says:

We just put both of these on hold at the library can’t wait to go pick them up.

Char

says:

Sounds cute!

Brenda Walker

says:

Always looking for great read alouds. Thank you for the recommendations.

Annie

says:

This series sounds very adventurous! I think my daughter will love following the characters as they transform an abandoned space into a club house.

Tamara H

says:

Always love book recommendations!

Tanya

says:

Those books look awesome!

Candice Meadows

says:

I think my kids would love these read alouds.

Brittney Galloway

says:

They sound like a peaceful read aloud that will inevitably be followed with some pretend play reenacting.

Merry

says: Customer Service

LOL, yes! I always loved it when my kids would reenact their favorite stories. :-)

Tiffany DeOs

says:

These books sound great. Thanks for the recommendation.

Sharon Ellington

says:

Thanks for the recommendation

Ivy parrish

says:

These books look awesome!

Destiny

says:

Just ordered these books. Can’t wait for them to arrive!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Destiny,
I think the second-best thing to getting new books is the waiting in anticipation for new books to arrive! Enjoy your anticipation and your new books.

Laura Stephenson

says:

These books sound very intriguing and will likely be added to our read aloud list.

Melissa G.

says:

This look like great books. We love AAR and AAS!

A Kidd

says:

Thanks for sharing about these books! I am sure my daughter will enjoy them. We are always looking for interesting, innocent stories to read. We love AAR AND AAS! Keep up the great work, folks!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I hope your daughter will enjoy this series greatly!

Cass

says:

These look like some great books to add to our collection. Thanks

Julie Wine

says:

Oh this is exciting to find… my kids will love these! Thanks for the recommendation!

Jen

says:

These look so fun! Love the recommendations, thank you.

Tiffany

says:

These books look delightful! Love all the suggestions!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Tiffany,
“Delightful” is a wonderful adjective for these books!

Elizabeth

says:

I’m always looking for quality books. Thank you!

Lisa

says:

Always looking for new books to add to our collection. Thanks!

Sarah

says:

My daughter loves these books, classic!

Kacy

says:

These books look great! I’m always looking for books that my daughter will enjoy!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kacy,
We have many chapter book reviews here, if you need even more ideas.

Donald

says:

These blogs on chzpter books are very useful and informative

Margaret

says:

I absolutely love everything about All About Reading. It literally teaches itself. Hands down the best resource to use to teach your child how to read. Thank you for your amazing reading curriculum!!!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Margaret!

Thank you for the valuable info! My son is loving your program and we’re ready for the next level.

Jess

says:

Thanks for the recommendation. We’re always looking for good read alouds.

Amanda B

says:

Looks great! Excited to check it out. Thanks!

Heather Krupa

says:

Thanks for suggesting these chapter books. I’m always in need of the next book for my daughter and myself!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Heather. We have a number of chapter book reviews if you need more book ideas.

Janessa Dowdy

says:

Thanks for the recommendation!

Caroline

says:

A new author I haven’t read! Hurray!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Caroline,
I love finding new wonderful authors too!

Texas Momma

says:

This series sounds prefect for my oddest daughter!

Jennifer

says:

Looking forward to reading these with my children! I love good books, thanks for the recommendation!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Jennifer!

Laurie

says:

I loved these books as a child and my kids have enjoyed them too.

Julie

says:

Thanks for the recommendation!

Sara

says:

Seriously this looks amazing. I can’t wait to try this series in my homeschool for my two girls.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sara,
I hope you and your girls enjoy this series a lot!

Maya

says:

We are always looking for new books to read. Thanks!

JennieT

says:

Always looking for great books thank you

Janelle

says:

I’m always on the lookout for new books for my children, thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Janelle. It’s a great series.

Melissa Perkins

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We were looking for a new chapter book, thank you.

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