Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 6 to 8
- Grade: 1 to 3
- Reading age: 6 to 8
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.
About the authors
After obtaining a diploma in film animation at Les arts Décoratifs de Paris, French artist Marion Arbona started working as an illustrator for children’s books. Her illustrations, painted with gouache, are colorful and funny. She likes to draw fully detailed scenes. When she is not drawing, she is particularly interested in deep sea fish, cats (even though she is allergic) and weird plants. Marion was awarded several illustration prizes in the USA and in Canada where she lived for 10 years. She returned to live in Paris in 2015.
Sophie B. Watson is an award-winning freelance writer who has been published in several magazines, including Briarpatch Magazine, Canadian Dimension, Canadian Living Magazine, Legacy Magazine, and Sustainable Times (among others). She holds a degree in English and French literature from the University of Alberta as well as a master's in creative writing from Bath Spa University. She has been a library page, a waitress, a substitute dj, a bookseller, and, most recently, the editor of Cork University Press. Cadillac Couches is Sophie's first novel. Read more about Sophie (and her aquatic larks) on her blog at sophiebwatson.com.
- Commended, CCBC Best Books starred selection
- Commended, Sigurd F. Olsen Nature Writing Award
"The care and tenderness with which Imarvaluk describes her home throws the consequences of climate change into stark relief…[an] environmental conversation starter."
"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. "
"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."
Youth Services Book Review
★ "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."
Quill & Quire, starred review
“Pensive...With splatters, swirls, and other stormy patterns, Arbona's art adeptly visualizes the story's focus.”
The Horn Book Online
"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. "
Canadian Children's Book News
"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."
"Sure to evoke serious conversation…Ms. Arbona's mixed media illustrations match the tone perfectly."
Sal's Fiction Addiction
"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."
"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?"
Montreal Review of Books
"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."
School Library Journal