Amazing Islands – Sabrina Weiss

Stars: *****

There are some incredible islands around the world with a range of different landscapes. There are Extreme Earth terrains, Incredible Animals that inhabit them and also the Ocean Worlds that surrounds them. Over 100 places are included which will make you want to travel the world and see each place; I loved the beautiful illustrations – by Kerry Hyndman – which depict each different location in stunning detail.

I am so excited to have a Q & A with the author of this lovely non-fiction book, Sabrina Weiss, for you today. Here, she will tell us why islands are so fascinating and what we can learn from them!

1. What inspired you to write about islands in particular? 
As an avid diver and photographer, I’ve always loved exploring islands and have been lucky to visit many of the islands featured in this book. But islands are not just made of pristine beaches, lush rainforests and volcanoes. They are home to incredibly rich and varied animal and plant life, and home to hundreds of millions of people. By covering the entire globe, I wanted to show how truly diverse islands are.

2. Which is your favourite island from the book? Is it one you’ve visited in real life? 
A part of me is still in Madagascar where I spent five weeks at the end of 2019. I wandered through vanilla plantations, swam alongside whale sharks and dolphins, and met the island’s most famous residents, the lemurs. I finished writing this book while I was there so it was only that natural that I would include this beautiful island nation.

3. When you wrote the book, what did you want the reader to feel about islands? 
Amazing Islands is a tour of the world. I hope the stories and illustrations will transport readers there and inspire them to learn more about the hundreds and even thousands of islands that didn’t make it into this book.

4. My favourite chapter was about the Mystery Islands! Which was the most interesting chapter for you to research? 
That has to be the Reclaimed by Nature chapter. I find it fascinating to see what happens when nature is left alone to thrive. A recovery we have to some extent been able to witness in real-time as people stayed indoors because of the coronavirus pandemic. Traffic and industrial production are down, which has reduced the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. The usually crowded beaches are cleaner. We’ve seen dozens of photos and videos of animals taking over the deserted streets of big cities.

Most major islands are inhabited, but there are some smaller ones that humans tried to colonise but had to abandon altogether. Five are featured in Amazing Islands. It’s absolutely astounding what happened once people left.

5. If you could visit any of the islands, which would it be? 
Socotra is the largest of four islands in an archipelago that belongs to Yemen. The island has many nicknames: Jewel of Arabia, the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, the Island of Bliss. It is famous for its biodiversity, in particular the otherworldly dragon’s blood tree. With its bizarre, umbrella-shaped crown, the tree is native to Socotra.

6. Why is it important for children (and adults!) to learn about the world around them? Our world is more connected than ever and it is important to learn about different countries, people and their cultures. Many countries are made up of islands. By reading and talking about the history of these islands, children and their parents can better understand the world in which we live now.  

AMAZING ISLANDS is written by Sabrina Weiss (@sabrinamweiss) and illustrated by Kerry Hyndman (@kerryhyndman) out now in hardback (£14.99, What on Earth Books)

I can’t wait to hear which chapter is your favourite! What islands will you discover?

Like the sound of this book? Buy it here:

*Review Copy*

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