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1001 The Island
Added on 23rd August 2020

Author and illustrator Armin Greder
First published 2002, Germany
First published in English 2007, Allen & Unwin

A powerful and dark picture book about prejudice and fear.

Story

One morning a man washes up helpless and naked on an island. Because he is different, the islanders want to cast him back into the sea. A lone fisherman argues that they should look after him and so the man is locked into a cage. The stranger manages to escape. He is starving and needs to find more food. He is captured and locked into a more secure cage with only scraps to eat. However, the man haunts the Islanders' dreams.

In the end, the terrified islanders drive him back into the sea and set fire to the boat of the fisherman who suggested he be housed. Governed by their fear, the islanders build a huge wall around the island to protect themselves from savages, foreigners and outsiders who want to steal their jobs and food.

Why we chose it

A powerful picture book for older children and teenagers which looks at bullying, intolerance, social hierarchy, treatment of refugees and general fear of the unknown.

Where it came from

Armin Greder is a Swiss graphic designer who emigrated to Australia in 1971. As a child he was required to be silent due to his mother’s fear of being evicted by the landlady downstairs. Therefore, he sketched. In interview, Greder stated that his stories are always critical of some part of society and that his books do not necessarily conform to the accepted notion of picture books. He first began illustrating picture books in the 1980s (Danny in the Toybox by Richard Tulloch). The Island is Greder’s first book as author-illustrator

Where it went next

The Island has won several international awards. It is the featured book on Bookchat podcast: Episode 3: Picture books for Key Stage 2 (2017).

Associated stories

His other works include, The City (2009), Australia to Z (2016) and, The Very Lonely Snake (2016). He tends to favour working in charcoal. Greder has also illustrated number of books written by Libby Gleeson including The Great Bear, An Ordinary Day, and I am Thomas.

Added on 23rd August 2020

Author and illustrator Armin Greder
First published 2002, Germany
First published in English 2007, Allen & Unwin