Island's End

by Padma Venkatraman

Uido lives in a village on one of the Andaman Islands in the Pacific Ocean, where... read more

Uido lives in a village on one of the Andaman Islands in the Pacific Ocean, where her people follow a centuries-old way of life—aware of the modern world but unchanged by it. Lah-ame, their spiritual guide and healer, knows that the tribe is facing great challenges, and he chooses Uido, who’s had dreams in which she visits the Otherworld most of her life, as his apprentice. As she goes through her training, Uido begins to gain the strength and courage she’ll need to help lead her tribe. Uido must provide that leadership sooner than she expected after Lah-ame dies and her younger brother falls ill. She makes the decision to seek help in the outside world after spiritual healing alone does not work. And when she returns, she faces her biggest challenge yet: She has a vision of a great wave wiping out the village and of the need to lead her people to high ground, but some refuse to follow. Author Padma Venkatraman lived for a year on one of the Andaman Islands close to people like Uido’s tribe. Her respectful, compelling story captures the way magical elements in the spirit world are very real to Uido and her people. Venkatraman also presents Western culture as different rather than bad, although Uido’s foray into the modern world shows her the importance of her people not losing their spiritual beliefs and values as they are exposed to other ways. Venkatraman’s terrific author’s note discusses the reasons she chose to create a fictional tribe that is a composite of the Andaman groups remaining and the challenges they face in this unusual glimpse into a world we rarely see. (Ages 12–15)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2012

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