Island's End

Island's End

4.3 3
by Padma Venkatraman
     
 

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From the acclaimed author of Climbing the Stairs comes a fascinating story set on a remote island untouched by time. Uido is ecstatic about becoming her tribe's spiritual leader, but her new position brings her older brother's jealousy and her best friend's mistrust. And looming above these troubles are the recent visits of strangers from the mainland who

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Overview

From the acclaimed author of Climbing the Stairs comes a fascinating story set on a remote island untouched by time. Uido is ecstatic about becoming her tribe's spiritual leader, but her new position brings her older brother's jealousy and her best friend's mistrust. And looming above these troubles are the recent visits of strangers from the mainland who have little regard for nature or the spirits, and tempt the tribe members with gifts, making them curious about modern life. When Uido's little brother falls deathly ill, she must cross the ocean and seek their help. Having now seen so many new things, will Uido have the strength to believe in herself and the old ways? And will her people trust her to lead them to safety when a catastrophic tsunami threatens? Uido must overcome everyone's doubts, including her own, if she is to keep her people safe and preserve the spirituality that has defined them.

Drawing on firsthand experience from her travels to the Andaman Islands, Padma Venkatraman was inspired to write this story after meeting natives who survived the 2004 tsunami and have been able to preserve their unique way of life. Uido's transformation from a young girl to tribal leader will touch both your heart and mind.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Inspired by the author's trip to India's Andaman Islands, where she had "passing contact with an ancient mode of life that pulses with its own special beauty," this lovely novel introduces readers to a fictional island tribe that has practiced the same customs for thousands of years. Fifteen-year-old Uido is blessed with the ability to visit spirits in the "Otherworld" through dreams and see into the future. She will become the next spiritual leader of the En-ge people, but first must undergo a rigorous apprenticeship with the wise Lah-ame, during which Uido learns lessons in healing and meditation that test her courage and faith. But no amount of mentoring can prepare Uido for her first great challenge: protecting her people from intruders, whose "magic," greed, and diseases threaten to destroy her people. Offering an enticing blend of mystic traditions and imaginative speculation, Venkatraman (Climbing the Stairs) beautifully expresses a primitive tribe's connection to nature and their struggle to find safety in the 21st century. Uido's strength, compassion, and commitment should win respect and spur discussions on the casualties of imperialism. Ages 10–up. (Aug.)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Uido, all fire and passion and easy strength, is a strong, personable element. . . . Fans of survival novels . . . and informed readers curious to know more about how modern society would impact an isolated tribe will both feel they’ve found the right book."
Voice of Youth Advocates
"The research Venkatraman incorporated into this novel is apparent. . . . A fantastic cultural story with identifiable characters and a plot in which the reader will want to believe."
starred review Booklist
"Succeeds spectacularly. . . . Uido is a remarkable heroine. . . . Heart-stopping action . . . the larger issues of modernity versus tradition offer much to think about. An intricate yet wholly accessible story."
From the Publisher
"Succeeds spectacularly. . . . Uido is a remarkable heroine. . . . Heart-stopping action . . . the larger issues of modernity versus tradition offer much to think about. An intricate yet wholly accessible story." — Booklist, starred review

"Readers will immediately connect with Uido. The doubt she feels in her own abilities will resonate with teens, as will her conviction to protect the ways of her people. . . . Vividly written and expertly paced . . . a moving story that will stay with readers long after the end." — School Library Journal, starred review

"Uido's clear, intelligent, present-tense voice consistently engrosses as she pushes through doubt and loss to find the right path. The beach, jungle and cliff settings are palpable. . . . Refreshingly hopeful and beautifully written." — Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Offering an enticing blend of mystic traditions and imaginative speculation, Venkatraman beautifully expresses a primitive tribe's connection to nature and their struggle to find safety in the 21st century." — Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Uido, all fire and passion and easy strength, is a strong, personable element. . . . Fans of survival novels . . . and informed readers curious to know more about how modern society would impact an isolated tribe will both feel they’ve found the right book." — The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

"The research Venkatraman incorporated into this novel is apparent. . . . A fantastic cultural story with identifiable characters and a plot in which the reader will want to believe." — Voice of Youth Advocates

VOYA - Kristi Sadowski
Island's End tells the story of Uido, a Pacific Islander living the same way her tribe has for millennia: without the influence or presence of modern civilization. Uido can communicate with the spirits in which her tribe believes, and she has been picked to be their new oko-jumo, leader of the tribe. A man, however, has decided to start visiting the tribe's island, bringing food, matches, and disease. Uido's brothers are entranced by these treasures, while Uido is sure they are bad for her tribe. After her youngest brother falls ill with a modern disease, Uido takes a canoe across the ocean to try to save him and confirm her fears. Upon her return, she embarks on a journey to save her people and their way of life. The research Venkatraman incorporated into this novel is apparent. Many tribes have been destroyed by modern society, and reading about one that has survived is refreshing—even if it does not happen to be real. This is a fantastic cultural story with identifiable characters and a plot in which the reader will want to believe. Island's End, a gentle story incorporating the slightest hint of romance, will have broad age appeal. This will be a great asset to school and public libraries alike. Reviewer: Kristi Sadowski
Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
Exoticism is a difficult trap to avoid when one is writing from the outside, and that too, writing about a people who do not have a voice in contemporary global discourse. So from the start, in Island's End, Venkatraman takes on a challenging setting and cultural context. She chooses to illustrate an indigenous people's struggle for survival in the person of her young protagonist, Uido. Selected to be her tribe's first female oko-jumu within living memory, Uido is only marginally aware of the threats she will need to face in this traditional role of spiritual leadership. But strangers, bearing alluring gifts, have begun to visit the island. When Uido's younger brother Tawai falls ill, following the visit of a speculator, Uido has to decide if she must risk traveling to the stranger's island in search of a cure. Venkatraman's prose is direct and simple, allowing the first person narrative in Uido's viewpoint to guide the story. But the real power of the novel lies paradoxically not in its fictional dream but in an external focus, the author's own awareness of the fragility of this world she has fictionalized. Approaching boats growl, matches are fire-sticks, car exhaust leaves a bitter taste in the throat, and contact with strangers can cause great harm. Island's End draws a veil of fiction over the reality of the threats to the tribes of the Andaman Islands, yet in the end its most important contribution is the raising of necessary, tough questions about development and colonization. Further, it carries a kind of touching resonance, a hope for the stories of such people to "end differently." Reviewer: Uma Krishnaswami
School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—Isolated from the influence of the mainland, the En-ge people live on one of the Andaman Islands east of India. Uido, daughter of the chief hunter, has the special ability to enter the Otherworld where spirits can send her messages and guidance. Because of this natural affinity, she is chosen to train as the next oko-jumu, or spiritual leader and healer, of the tribe. The position carries increasing responsibility as strangers arrive on the island and the tribe needs strong leadership to ensure their spiritual, cultural, and physical survival. Readers are fully immersed in the lives of the fictionalized En-ge tribe, whose language, culture, and beliefs are based on ethnographic studies of native Andaman Islanders. Despite how unfamiliar her life may seem, readers will immediately connect with Uido. The doubt she feels in her own abilities will resonate with teens, as will her conviction to protect the ways of her people even if they cannot continue to live in isolation. The first-person narration encourages readers to feel Uido's fears, curiosity, joy, grief, and determination. Vividly written and expertly paced, Venkatraman's novel delivers a moving story that will stay with readers long after the end.—Amanda Raklovits, Champaign Public Library, IL
Kirkus Reviews

In an isolated island culture, a girl guides her people into the future despite encroaching mainland influences.

Uido lives on an Andaman Island in the Bay of Bengal. Her family is one of 40 in this island's communal hunter/gatherer tribe; they live in a village of thatched huts during the dry season and move to the jungle for the rainy season. Because Uido visits the Otherworld in dreams, the tribe's oko-jumu (spiritual leader) chooses her as the next oko-jumu. Lah-ame trains Uido in the jungle, teaching her how to start fires, make medicines from plants, perform rituals and chase away lau (illness spirits). What Lah-ame can't teach Uido is how to handle the biggest threat: Strangers who keep landing on their island, bringing matches and digital cameras, provoking curiosity and discontent. An insect-eating plant hints that adaptation enables survival, but Uido's choices become increasingly difficult, especially when the strongest spirit, Biliku-waye, warns her of "[m]onster waves" approaching. Uido's clear, intelligent, present-tense voice consistently engrosses as she pushes through doubt and loss to find the right path. The beach, jungle and cliff settings are palpable. Perhaps most important, Venkatraman never undermines the portrayed religion. There is very little information about Andaman Islanders, making it hard to gauge the authenticity of this portrayal; the author's note indicates a respectful and diligent approach to her subject.

Refreshingly hopeful and beautifully written.(Fiction. 12 & up)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399250996
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
08/04/2011
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
409,100
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile:
800L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

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