Linda’s Book Obsession Reviews “The Islanders” by Mary Alice Monroe and Angela May, June 15, 2021. On tour with Suzy Approved Book Tours
As a retired teacher (and always a teacher at heart) I love everything about “The Islanders” by Mary Alice Monroe and Angela May. This is a book that is written for middle grade children, and yet I think it is a book for all ages. The author/s vividly describe the perfect environment for learning about nature. There are animals, plants, trees, water, insects, turtles, and so much more. The authors discuss the importance of caring for the environment and the importance of family, friendship, and learning responsibility and compassion.
Mary Alice Monroe describes her colorful children as inquisitive, curious, and are like sponges absorbing all kinds of important information about life. The adults in the story are eager to compromise and be both teachers and learners. Jake is an 11 year old boy that is going to be spending the summer with his grandmother on Dewees Island. His father is in a hospital after being hurt in Afghanistan, and his mother has to take care of him. Jake is both confused and conflicted about being away from his parents, and spending the summer with his grandmother, who doesn’t believe in learning from the internet. He meets two other children his age. Macon is another boy who is on the island, and his mother needs rest before she has another baby. The third “friend” is Lovie, who is very familiar with the island, and is willing to show the boys around. There are some secrets that some of the friends have.
After making a mistake, the children are given the “punishment” of being part of the Island Turtle Team. The children learn to track the loggerhead turtles and see where the nests are. There are natural predators on the island, and it is difficult to protect the turtle eggs.
I love that the kids are learning about the cycle of life, and the environment. I also appreciate that the children use journals to record what they see. Jake sends letters of encouragement and “tales” of his experiences to his father. If I were in my classroom, I could only imagine the different ways we could discuss, write, illustrate and act out the story. Kudos to Mary Alice Monroe and Angela May for writing such an informative, memorable and thought-provoking book. I highly recommend this book to other readers.