There's an invisible creature in the waves around Sarichef. It is altering the lives of the Iñupiat people who call the island home. A young girl and her family are forced to move to the center of the island for refuge from the rising sea level. Soon the entire village will have to relocate to the mainland. Heartbroken, the young girl and her grandfather worry: what else will be lost when they are forced to abandon their homes and their community?
Addressing the topic of climate refugees, My Wounded Island is based on the challenges faced by the Iñupiat people who live on the small islands north of the Bering Strait near the Arctic Circle.
"My Wounded Island succeeds because it depicts climate change as a character in its own right—the evil sea monster that is slowly eating away at Sarichef…Arbona's haunting mixed-media illustrations mesh perfectly with the tone of Pasquet's story…It's refreshing that Pasquet does not downplay the situation on Sarichef…This story is raw, melancholic, and completely unforgettable. It is a must for helping children understand the realities of climate change using imagery they can understand."
"This is a beautiful but sad book told by Imarvaluk who lives on a small island that lies near the Arctic Circle between Alaska and Russia…Illustrations done using gouache, ink, pencil and a toothbrush and done in an Inupiat style create the tragedy simply but effectively."
"Pasquet's moving story does introduce the concept of climate change, and its imminent catastrophic impact on many indigenous communities, to young readers. Arbona's illustrations are by turns lyrical and frightening, truly indicative of the themes of the book. A moving...look at a very real threat."
"The mixed-media, full-bleed illustrations use a mostly bright palette, which provides some relief from the serious tone of the tale. Scenes of the encroaching water are particularly powerful…This introductory tool fills a gap. Recommended where there is interest or a curricular need."
"Sure to evoke serious conversation…Ms. Arbona's mixed media illustrations match the tone perfectly."
"It's not an uplifting book—nor should it be. There is the issue of where the people of the island will relocate to and who will pay for it…The story also raises another important question—if we humans have set many places on track for destruction, how will we, at the very least, remember them and their inhabitants?"
"The care and tenderness with which Imarvaluk describes her home throws the consequences of climate change into stark relief…[an] environmental conversation starter."
"Jacques Pasquet has created a character with whom young readers can identify. In doing so, he successfully cultivates empathy not only for Imarvaluk, but for her people, the Iñupiat, and the terrible predicament in which they find themselves. Marion Arbona's illustrations are both beautiful and haunting…This picture book represents a slice of reality that evades our expectation of a happy ending. But as a story, it is important and timely…it will immediately provoke questions and discussion among young readers—which is satisfying in itself. This book would make an engaging introduction to the subject of climate change and the real consequences it has for communities around the globe. "
"The art work, of gouache, ink, pencil and toothbrush, is exquisite in its depiction of contrasts of the daily lives of the Inupiat people…It is a thought-provoking depiction of causes and effects of climate change on a physical environment and the people inhabiting that environment…My Wounded Island could also be incorporated into a study unit on northern indigenous cultures. "
"The topics of the book, climate change and climate refugees, are very timely and significant. My Wounded Island helps put a face on how climate change is impacting people and not just the environment…The narrative is dense and lyrical, and the illustrations are thoroughly engaging."