A stark and sombre tale to stimulate discussion of racisim and prejudice, while the striking artwork gives it interest for adults and collectors too.
A powerful marriage of text and illustration, and desperatley uncomfortable, with motifs that could be applied to most of the bad things tnat are happening in the world today. This is a bookshowing that we have much to learn, in many different ways.
(Guardian Best New Children's Books Supplement
With spare, poetic text and menacing illustrations excecuted in a limited range of sombre colours, this picture book for older children by Armin Greder conveys a strong sense of drama and obliges readers to think about xenophobia and the consequences of an instinctive act of compassion. Eloquent and passionate, 'The Island' is a picture book that poses questions rather than supplying answers.
Editor's choice: All the protagonists in the tale are white and the story thus evokes the pogroms and ethnic cleansings of Europe although its message is one that applies to all the many places in the world where refugees are made unwelcome in camps and detetions centres. The title is also resonant recalling John Donne's 'No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main... any man's death diminishes me, beacause I am involved in Mankind...' [Greber's] strickingly forceful artwork in sombre pastelsd with charcoal line contrasts the vunerability of the small figure of the naked man with the burly, thickset men who menace him with their pitchforks. The turbulent sea that surrounds the island underlines the man's desperate need for a safe place. This is a book that will prooke a great deal of discussion and techers can download uselful teaching notes from www.allenandunwin.com
(Books for Keeps
The Island by Armin Greder is a picturebook, but is not beneath the attention of teens. It is an extraordinary parable about refugees. A naked man is washed up on an island, where the inhabitants treat him with suspicion, won't give him a job, and, finally, work themselves up into a state of fear and hatred and send him to his death, turning their island into a fortress that won't accept strangers. The dark, expertly drawn, charcoal images, with references to Munch and Fuseli, would stimulate teenagers interested in art and anyone interested in society
(Nicolette Jones Sunday Times
An astonishing book about refugees, xenophobia, racism and human rights.
This is a bleak, dark, sad book and a useful prompt for discussion.
(Books for Keeps
About the Author
Picture book illustrator Armin Greder was born in Switzerland and migrated to Brisbane, Australia in 1971. Armin has worked as a graphic designer and currently lectures tertiary art students, illustrating picture books in between teaching and other interests. As a child Armin spent a lot of time drawing in the back of his exercise books when he should have been paying attention in class. In books such as The Great Bear
and An Ordinary Day
his art reflects his European background. Charcoal often features in his work.