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‘Maria’s Island’, a beautifully illustrated chapter book by Victoria Hislop

Maria's Island front cover

Maria's Island (introduction)

Maria's Island illustrations

Maria’s Island is Victoria Hislop’s latest book and we have fallen absolutely in love with it. I read this in one sitting before passing it over to Florence and it has never left my mind. Based on Hislop’s best selling novel, The Island, Maria’s Island is the children’s version and it is beautifully illustrated by Gill Smith.

Set in the Cretan village of Plaka and on the tiny island of Spinalonga the story tells of Maria Petrakis’ childhood. Maria is telling the story of her granddaughter Rita who has come to visit her in Greece. Maria had an idyllic childhood and was surrounded by friends and family but her mother was then diagnosed with leprosy and was sent away from Plaka to stay on the leper colony of Spinalonga. Each and every morning Maria waves to her mother from the other side of the shore until the day her mother passes away. As the story continues, Maria herself is sent to the colony and is determined to find a cure for leprosy. It is also there where she finds love.

Maria’s Island is a tale of separation, stigma and heartbreak and it is truly an incredible book to read as a family.

Vanessa x


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