Reviewed by Laura Lovelock
This fantasy novel tells the tale of a magical island and those chosen to protect it.
Set on the island of Arranmore, off of the west coast of Ireland, and inspired by the true story of the rescue of the SS Stolwijk in 1940, this book follows Fionn, an 11 year old boy, and his sister Tara, as they go to stay with their illusive grandfather for the summer holidays.
The magical element of this story is interwoven with the realities of Fionn’s everyday life, which is affected by his mother’s mental health problems. This aspect of the story is dealt with sensitively, as is the grandfather’s Alzheimer’s disease.
Fionn is a likeable protagonist, and through his eyes we experience his attempts to piece together memories of his father, who died before he was born, from the memories of those who knew him, against the backdrop of a gathering storm which will put to the test all that he fears about himself: that he will never be as brave as his father.
Above all else, this novel is a story which casts light on anxieties experienced by an 11 year old boy, and the ways he tries to address the struggles associated with them.
The Storm Keeper’s Island would be ideal for an Upper Key Stage 2 reader, and would make a wonderful addition to a primary school library collection.
Make sure to keep an eye out for the second book in the series to be published.
The Storm Keeper’s Island is published 12th July by Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Laura Lovelock is an English Literature graduate (BA, MA) and a Primary SCITT trainee in a Year 5 class in North Essex.