The Island

Title The Island

Author Armin Greder

Illustrator/Photographer Armin Greder

Publisher and Year Patmos Verlag GmbH & Co, 2002

Number of pages: 30

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Descriptive Annotation: One day, a man arrives at a foreign island by means of his raft. He does not look like any of the inhabitants of the island, and the townspeople are scared to take him in. A fisherman, however, insists that if they send him away, he will die, so they allowed him to live on their island so long as he stayed locked in a goat’s cage. The townspeople, including the priest, refuse to give this man a job or a proper home, and they begin spreading vicious rumors about the foreigner that cause a riot. Eventually, the townspeople rise against the fisherman and burn his boat as they force the foreign man out of the island. In order to never be bothered by scary foreigners again, the townspeople build a huge wall that surrounds the island—no one can come in, and no one can leave. The book is illustrated with simple sketches found on pages containing few lines of text. The sketches, done in neutral colors, help illustrate the darkness of the inhabitants of the island.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: This book includes a wide variety of vocabulary, ranging from shorter, simple words, to longer, more difficult adjectives and verbs. The Island is a great representation of the story of any immigrant when he or she first arrives in the new country. The “original” inhabitants are fearful of the newcomer—he looks and acts different from them—and worry he will take their jobs, murder children, and overall cause problems in the established country. The two opposing cultures in this story model how people are quick to judge others based on where they came from or how they look.IMG_3410

Interdisciplinary Connections: This book could be read at the beginning of a lesson on immigration. The Island mostly illustrates the ignorance of those who are not welcoming to immigrants or even newcomers in any situation (new school, neighborhood, etc.). Students could write a story from the man’s perspective—how did he feel when he arrived at the island? Why did he leave his home in the first place? A variety of prompts could be used to get students thinking from multiple perspectives—both those who leave their countries and those who welcome the newcomers to the new land.

Other Information: This book was awarded the title of “Short- Listed Book” by The Children’s Book Council of Australia. One thing I enjoyed about The Island is that there is no set time period for the story. It could take place anywhere, at anytime, and for that reason it becomes universal.

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