A ground-breaking picture book, uncomfortable in its narrative realism; coupled with the disturbing and provocative illustrations make it a compelling, thought-provoking and challenging read.
The Island by Armin Greder introduces children to the concepts of acceptance, isolation and xenophobia. It tells the story of a stranger, who finds himself washed up on the shore of a cold and bleak island.
The islanders instantly fear him, and as a result, conflict, mistrust and blame spreads across the community like evil spirits escaping from Pandora’s box.
A lone fisherman shows empathy for the man and believes he should be taken care of. However, the stranger is locked in a goat pen and given morsels of food. The islanders invent reasons why they cannot help this man. For example, if he worked in the kitchen, the people would not eat the food.
One of the most powerful images is of a group of children, imitating the adult’s behaviour by isolating one of the other children.
Hungry and desperate, the man attempts to reason with people of the island and tries to express his need for food and water. The community quickly turns into a mob, before chasing the stranger back to the weather-beaten sea.
In order to avoid anyone else ever setting foot on their island the people build a great fortress around the island. No outsider, human nor creature will be tolerated there again.
Published by Allen & Unwin
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