Lepra offers free educational resources for “Maria’s Island”
Maria’s Island is a compelling story for #KS2 and #KS3 students which follows a family impacted by leprosy, a disease which is often misunderstood. The book examines the challenges they face and how they overcome them.
If your school is looking for a charity to support, then the educational resources, created by Walker Books, can be used for free in class or assembly, alongside a video presentation about how your school can fundraise for Lepra.
Reunify The Marbles
Victoria hislop joined protestors, including six members of parliament, at the British Museum in London on Sunday to call for the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles with Greece as international support grows for a resolution to the decades-long cultural row.
The protest was organized by the advocacy group British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles (BCRPM) and marked the 13th anniversary of the inauguration of the Acropolis Museum in Athens.
Activists unfurled Greek flags and a banner reading “Reunify the Marbles!” inside the museum, while English author and honorary Greek citizen Victoria Hislop presented a cake with the numbers “1” and “3.” The 5th-century BCE statues have been held in the British institutions since 1816, after they were removed from the facade of the Acropolis under the direction of Scottish nobleman Lord Elgin.
The absorbing story of the Cretan village of Plaka and the tiny, deserted island of Spinalonga – Greece’s former leprosy colony – is told to us by Maria Petrakis, one of the children in the original version of The Island. She tells us of the ancient and misunderstood disease of leprosy, exploring the themes of stigma, shame and the treatment of those who are different, which are as relevant for children as adults. Gill Smith’s rich, full-colour illustrations will transport the reader to the timeless and beautiful Greek landscape and Mediterranean seascape.
“The idea came out of a conversation with some school teachers in Crete.” said Victoria “They commented that there were so many themes in the story that were as relevant to children as to adults but felt that the original novel was a little too grown-up for many of them. I realised that much of the book is actually about children and their experiences of stigma and loss, so this has been a wonderful experience for me, to look at things through their eyes. Writing for children requires a whole different set of skills and I hope they will enjoy reading it.”
Praise for Maria’s Island
The tale is narrated by Maria, one of the children in Hislop’s novel The Island, from which this engrossing yarn is skillfully adapted for younger readers.
― The Daily Telegraph
Sometimes poignant but never upsetting, this book highlights the strength of love, friendship and resilience over adversity. Complemented wonderfully by Gill Smith’s beautiful illustrations, this is an ideal book for older early readers who are ready explore more complex themes associated such as coping with adversity and having respect for others who may be different from themselves.
– Gazette Herald Books of the Month
I picked this book up as soon as it arrived and couldn’t put it down. My favourite things were the Greek setting and the history in the story, and I loved that the character was called Anna – best name ever! I didn’t know much about this story before I read it and enjoyed finding out about the adventures. I would recommend it to my friends. I liked the illustrations too.
— Anna, Age 11 ― Toppsta
“…a powerful story about love, stigma and hope.”
– Mini Travellers
Victoria on Facebook
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