Maria’s Island

Victoria Hislop, illustrated by Gill Smith

This is a tale that takes us to Crete, to beautiful beaches, warm sunshine and loving communities who live and work together. Victoria Hislop’s first children’s book (for readers aged 8+) is a reimagined story based on her best-selling adult novel “The Island”. Yet despite the warmth of the Cretan sun there is darkness here as the threat of leprosy and the mysterious island of Spinalonga slowly reveals itself. 

This is a story within a story that introduces young readers to something they might not be aware of – the history of leprosy and its cure – as well as leading them to discover more about a part of the world they may only know of as a holiday destination. Mention must also be made of the gorgeous colourful illustrations by Gill Smith which really bring the island to life.

Published by Walker Books

Reviewed by Rachel Bolton