cover image My Wounded Island

My Wounded Island

Jacques Pasquet, trans. from the French by Sophie B. Watson, illus. by Marion Arbona. Orca, $19.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4598-1565-0

In pained first-person narration, an Iñupiat girl named Imarvaluk shares her concerns about the force of nature “that is slowly devouring our island.” Working in mixed media, Arbona (The Good Little Book) pictures this unseen threat as a jellyfishlike creature that swoops toward Imarvaluk’s Arctic island, and she uses delicately scratched lines to trace its sweeping tendrils and angry, hungry countenance. Halfway through Pasquet’s story, his young heroine reveals what some readers may have already guessed: the threat facing this Iñupiat island is a manmade one, not supernatural in origin (“The climate is changing, the earth is warming, and this heat gives the creature all of its destructive force”). The care and tenderness with which Imarvaluk describes her home throws the consequences of climate change into stark relief. “What worries Grandfather the most,” she concludes, “is that this creature will make not only our island disappear but also the memories of our people.” A brief glossary, defining both geographical and cultural terms, adds a bit more heft to this environmental conversation starter. Ages 5–8. (Aug.)