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Last updated Friday, September 28, 2018

Author: Junot Diaz
Illustrator: Leo Espinosa
Date of Publication:
ISBN: 0735229864
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Sep. 2018

Synopsis: Every kid in Lola's school was from somewhere else. Hers was a school of faraway places. So when Lola's teacher asks the students to draw a picture of where their families immigrated from, all the kids are excited. Except Lola. She can't remember The Island—she left when she was just a baby. But with the help of her family and friends, and their memories—joyous, fantastical, heartbreaking, and frightening—Lola's imagination takes her on an extraordinary journey back to The Island. As she draws closer to the heart of her family's story, Lola comes to understand the truth of her abuela's words: “Just because you don't remember a place doesn't mean it's not in you.” Gloriously illustrated and lyrically written, Islandborn is a celebration of creativity, diversity, and our imagination's boundless ability to connect us—to our families, to our past and to ourselves.

Note to readers:
•  Some kids might be reluctant to talk about other countries, especially if they or their family members have immigrated. Please be mindful of this and keep conversation positive.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Do you know anyone from another country? Do they talk about what they remember most?
•  What does Islandborn mean?
•  What is your favorite thing about your home?
•  What is your favorite thing about a place you've visited?


•  psychic - a person considered or claiming to have psychic powers; a medium; the study of psychic phenomena.
•  grouchy - irritable and bad-tempered; grumpy; complaining.
•  contraption - a machine or device that appears strange or unnecessarily complicated, and often badly made or unsafe.
•  interviewing - asking questions.
•  titanic battle - huge fights
•  Bendicion - blessing

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What is your favorite memory mentioned in this book?
•  What other places would you like to visit in the future?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw a picture of one of the places described in the book or a place you remember.
•  Check our craft ideas on Pinterest!

Special activities:
•  Dance like in the story.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!