Islands in fiction for young people: A brief introduction

Ben Screech

Abstract


Islands have been a setting for a great deal of children’s literature, both historically and in present times. A number of the classic works of the genre have been tantalisingly set on island shores, and are often depicted as liminal sites. They are “fertile spaces for the exploration of the shifting sands of identity”. Such a preoccupation with ‘identity’ is a consistent concern for many of the writers introduced throughout this article, and I suggest that the islands explored could even be viewed as a metaphor for childhood and adolescence itself. Indeed, these are periods in life in which we often feeling unanchored and adrift en-route to being swept away by the ‘rising tide’ of adult experience.

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The Looking Glass: new perspectives on children's literature

ISBN 1551-5680