Pages: 48
Imprint: Rock the Boat


Junot Díaz

A powerful tale about the magic of memory and the infinite power of the imagination

The Book

A powerful tale about the magic of memory and the infinite power of the imagination

Every kid in Lola's school was from somewhere else.

Hers was a school of faraway places.


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.

Additional Information

Pages 48
Imprint Rock the Boat


About the Author

Junot Díaz was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Drown; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and This Is How You Lose Her, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

Leo Espinosa is an award-winning illustrator from Bogotá, Colombia, whose work has been in The New Yorker, Wired, Esquire, The New York Times, The Atlantic, and more. Leo lives with his family in Salt Lake City, Utah.


Islandborn engages with many of the same themes that Mr. Díaz has wrestled with in his fiction: immigration and identity, the weight of collective memory, and feelings of displacement and belonging.' 

- New York Times

‘Beautiful and joyous.'

- Press Association

'With his tenacious, curious heroine and a voice that's chatty, passionate, wise, and loving, Díaz entices readers to think about a fundamental human question: what does it mean to belong?'

- Publishers Weekly starred review

‘A sensitive and beautiful story of culture, identity, and belonging — a superb picture book outing for Díaz and one to be shared broadly in a variety of settings.'

- School Library Journal

‘The exuberant, brightly coloured illustrations are filled with a child's interpretation of the memories and fill the double-page spreads with details to pore over. This important title will be enjoyed by young children and may spark many significant discussions.'

- Booklist

'This is an amazing book. It celebrates diversity, tolerance. and belonging. It's a powerful story. A great way to start talking about family backgrounds and belonging. You will ADORE this story.'

- Liz Gaydon, Waterstones bookseller

‘Timely and relevant.'

- School Librarian