Islandborn is a wonderful story about uncovering one’s past. Lola has no memories of the place where she was born but as she talks to family and friends she learns about a place that is very much a part of her.
Lola’s school is a wonderful mixture of children all from different places. They come from huge cities, small villages, places so hot that even the cactuses wilt and tropical jungles. And Lola was from the island. When her teacher, Ms. Obi, asks the children to draw a picture of your home country everyone is excited, everyone except Lola. She has no memories of the island she left when she was just a baby.
But as she talks to the people in her neighbourhood they tell her of the most magical and beautiful of places. They talk of a brightly coloured place where the sounds of music filled the air and people would dance all day and night, even in their sleep. Lola hears of wonderful foods and drinks, of bats as big as blankets and beaches and oceans inhabited bu dolphins and whales.
As Lola learns more about the island and draws what she hears a clear picture begins to form in-front of her and she realises that although she does not remember the island for herself it is most definitely a part of her. As Lola’s abuela says, “Just because you don’t remember a place doesn’t mean it’s not in you.”
This is a superb picture book that explores identify and belonging. A diverse range of characters help paint a vivid picture of life on the island - of the good times and of the scarier times. The text is poetic and flows seamlessly as Lola learns about her past. The book is brilliantly illustrated and the vibrant illustrations are an absolute treat.
A lovely picture book about celebrating who you are and where you are from and will no doubt leave many readers curious to find out more about their own family ancestry.
Recommended for 6+.