A dramatic and moving story set in the same world as the international bestseller The Island from the celebrated novelist Victoria Hislop.
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
I loved this book because it was so interesting to learn about the disease, but also to realise that if you are courageous like Maria even illness does not have to hold you back.
― Books Up North
Among the feelings of sorrow, separation and, at times desperation, there is happiness, hope and so much kindness. These are effortlessly woven into an absorbing, realistic and wonderful, wonderful story that must be shared. I adored this book. It is a real treasure. But please, have the box of tissues to hand. There will be tears, both of sadness and joy.
― Fallen Star Stories
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