10 books like The Islands at the End of the World

By Austin Aslan,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Islands at the End of the World. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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KINO and the KING

By Jen Angeli,

Book cover of KINO and the KING

With a sacred stone in hand, twelve-year-old Kino hides from bullies in an ancient grass hut on display at Bishop Museum. In a blinding flash, she travels back in time to 1825 and meets a young boy who is destined to become King Kamehameha III. Together they go on an epic adventure facing sharks, Night Marchers, wild boars, and more as they collect the four items Kino needs to return home. I love this fantasy story with Hawaiian kids as heroes because it treats Hawaiian history and culture as both magical and ordinary rather than sensationally exotic.

KINO and the KING

By Jen Angeli,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked KINO and the KING as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Want to escape into an epic adventure back in time? Pick up a copy of KINO and the KING and follow Kino Kahele on her visit when Hawaii was a young nation, and the Kamehameha Dynasty ruled the land. After Kino receives a pohaku (stone), that is supposed to help Kino find her destiny, she is chased by bullies into the Hawaiian Hall at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. She ducks into the ancient grass hut display and hides her rock in a conch shell. With a flash of bright light, she is transported to 1825 where she meets 11-year-old…


Night of the Howling Dogs

By Graham Salisbury,

Book cover of Night of the Howling Dogs

What starts out as a camping trip in remote Halape for a boy scout troop from Hilo turns desperate when an earthquake hits and their camp is devastated by a tsunami. The boys are scattered, and it’s up to Dylan and his nemesis Louie to reunite the troop and get them to safety. Inspired by real events that I remember, this book is a survival story about friendship, leadership, and teamwork that keeps readers on the edge of their seats.

Night of the Howling Dogs

By Graham Salisbury,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Night of the Howling Dogs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

DYLAN'S SCOUT TROOP goes camping in Halape, a remote spot below the volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. The only thing wrong with the weekend on a beautiful, peaceful beach is Louie, a tough older boy. Louie and Dylan just can't get along.That night an earthquake rocks the camp, and then a wave rushes in, sweeping everyone and everything before it. Dylan and Louie must team up on a dangerous rescue mission. The next hours are an amazing story of survival and the true meaning of leadership.


Written in the Sky

By Matthew Kaopio,

Book cover of Written in the Sky

Raw and real, ‘Ikauikalani, is a middle grader who is adrift after the death of his grandmother. Through ‘Ikaui’s daily experiences, we see firsthand the effects of mental illness, drug abuse, bullying, and dispossession faced by the homeless living in Ala Moana Park. ‘Ikaui struggles to eat, keep clean, and fill his days. If he’s swept up by social services, ‘Ikaui fears a physical and spiritual death. But in the middle of his struggle, there are also remarkable moments of grace that allow ‘Ikaui to thrive. ‘Ikaui begins to discover who he is, connects his amazing gifts with his ancestral past, and heals generational wounds. It’s a thought-provoking story about the difference between being homeless and houseless.

Written in the Sky

By Matthew Kaopio,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Written in the Sky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A young abandoned Hawaiian boy, living among the homeless in Ala Moana Park, spends his days observing tourists, swimming in the ocean and rummaging in the trash. At first glance there is nothing special about young Ikauikalani, till you learn he can see the future in the movements of the clouds. Following directions received from his deceased grandmother, Ikau sets off on a journey of self-discovery releasing his past and helping him to understand his own future.


'Ewa Which Way

By Tyler Miranda,

Book cover of 'Ewa Which Way

This coming-of-age story is powerful, immediate, and like a bloody scraped knee, painfully evocative of the transition between childhood and adulthood. I loved this book for its ability to show all the complicated rules, expectations, and entanglements of being a kid trying to make sense out of adult behavior. Set in ‘Ewa Beach, Hawai‘i, in 1982, Landon and Luke face prejudices of class and race, their parents’ alcohol abuse and valium popping coping mechanisms, and sheer dysfunction. Landon shares his reality with heartbreaking twelve-year-old clarity.   

'Ewa Which Way

By Tyler Miranda,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 'Ewa Which Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fiction. EWA WHICH WAY is a coming-of-age novel set in the early 1980s, around the time of Hurricane ‘Iwa. The DeSilva family, in economic straits, has suffered the setback of having to move from town to Ewa Beach, and the dissonance between parents impacts the lives of their young sons, Landon and Luke. In addition to humorous moments of growing up local, Portuguese, and Catholic, there are serious underlying themes regarding religion, ethnic tensions, assimilation issues, domestic violence, and the reality that children sometimes need to find their own way in the world at a very young age. With problems…


Alex's Wake

By Martin Goldsmith,

Book cover of Alex's Wake: The Tragic Voyage of the St. Louis to Flee Nazi Germany-And a Grandson's Journey of Love and Remembrance

In 1939, Goldsmith’s grandfather and uncle were passengers on the St. Louis and hoped to receive asylum from the mounting threats of Nazi Germany. The St. Louis was turned away from Cuba, the United States, then Canada, and its passengers returned to Europe. In this book, Goldsmith recounted his six-week journey across Europe to retrace the final steps of his grandfather and uncle’s long and harrowing journey. It’s a powerful memoir that has stayed with me years after reading it.

Alex's Wake

By Martin Goldsmith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Alex's Wake as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Alex's Wake is a tale of two parallel journeys undertaken seven decades apart. In the spring of 1939, Alex and Helmut Goldschmidt were two of more than 900 Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany aboard the St. Louis , the saddest ship afloat" ( New York Times ). Turned away from Cuba, the United States, and Canada, the St. Louis returned to Europe, a stark symbol of the world's indifference to the gathering Holocaust. The Goldschmidts disembarked in France, where they spent the next three years in six different camps before being shipped to their deaths in Auschwitz.In the spring of…


Paper Love

By Sarah Wildman,

Book cover of Paper Love: Searching for the Girl My Grandfather Left Behind

A poignant, well-written and deeply researched non-fiction story of the author’s search for the girlfriend her grandfather had left behind in Vienna. As my family left Vienna because of the Nazi regime, and my own novel takes place in Vienna, I found Ms. Wildman’s book especially meaningful, raising the question not only of what had happened to the woman but also of how much guilt and responsibility the grandfather carried?

Paper Love

By Sarah Wildman,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Paper Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One woman’s journey to find the lost love her grandfather left behind when he fled pre-World War II Europe, and an exploration into family identity, myth, and memory.

Years after her grandfather’s death, journalist Sarah Wildman stumbled upon a cache of his letters in a file labeled “Correspondence: Patients A–G.” What she found inside weren’t dry medical histories; instead what was written opened a path into the destroyed world that was her family’s prewar Vienna. One woman’s letters stood out: those from Valy—Valerie Scheftel—her grandfather’s lover, who had remained behind when he fled Europe six months after the Nazis annexed…


We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled

By Wendy Pearlman,

Book cover of We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: Voices from Syria

Pearlman expertly, delicately and lovingly assembles elements from the stories and journeys of close to 90 Syrians into a mosaic “mapped onto Syria’s historical trajectory from authoritarianism to revolution, war, and exile” as she explains in the introduction. For me there are echoes of Maalouf’s Origins in this book: More than a hundred years later and Syrians and Levantines are still having to flee their homelands because of tyranny, conflict and political and social upheaval. Pearlman is an accomplished professor at Northwestern University who speaks Arabic and has spent more than 20 years studying and living in the Middle East. Her expertise and empathy shine through in a book that gives us a chance “to listen to actual Syrians, as human beings,” as she says.

We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled

By Wendy Pearlman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

LONG-LISTED FOR THE CARNEGIE MEDAL

Reminiscent of the work of Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich, an astonishing collection of intimate wartime testimonies and poetic fragments from a cross-section of Syrians whose lives have been transformed by revolution, war, and flight.

Against the backdrop of the wave of demonstrations known as the Arab Spring, in 2011 hundreds of thousands of Syrians took to the streets demanding freedom, democracy and human rights. The government's ferocious response, and the refusal of the demonstrators to back down, sparked a brutal civil war that over the past five years has escalated into the worst humanitarian…


When Heaven and Earth Changed Places

By Le Ly Hayslip, Jay Wurts,

Book cover of When Heaven and Earth Changed Places: A Vietnamese Woman's Journey from War to Peace

A memoir from the perspective of the other side, this book tells the story of a young girl in Central Vietnam who was recruited into the war and, by her teens, had suffered near-starvation, torture, imprisonment, and more, in addition to losing much of her family. Later she married an American and moved to this country, but since 1986, she has helped rebuild her homeland through the charitable organizations she established. 

When Heaven and Earth Changed Places

By Le Ly Hayslip, Jay Wurts,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked When Heaven and Earth Changed Places as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“One of the most important books of Vietnamese American and Vietnam War literature...Moving, powerful.” —Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Sympathizer

In these pages, Le Ly Hayslip—just twelve years old when U.S. helicopters landed in her tiny village of Ky La—shows us the Vietnam War as she lived it. Initially pressed into service by the Vietcong, Le Ly was captured and imprisoned by government forces. She found sanctuary at last with an American contractor and ultimately fled to the United States. Almost twenty years after her escape, Le Ly found herself inexorably drawn back to the devastated country…


The Gangster We Are All Looking For

By Thi Diem Thuy Le,

Book cover of The Gangster We Are All Looking For

Lê Thi Diem Thúy’s novel tells the story of a young refugee girl in San Diego. The novel is a lyrical accounting, full of disjointed narrative and poetic language, that captures her thoughts and feelings as a Vietnamese immigrant to San Diego in 1978. Early on in the war, most of the literature was written by soldiers and correspondents and dealt strictly with the military side of the war. Later in the eighties and nineties, the scope and quality of the writing about Vietnam has vastly improved, as different perspectives are brought to bear on the war. Lê Thi Diem Thúy writes about refugees whose experiences were much more traumatic compared to the American soldiers who never actually saw combat. Originally published in 2003, it is imminently relevant today.

The Gangster We Are All Looking For

By Thi Diem Thuy Le,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Gangster We Are All Looking For as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1978, six Vietnamese refugees were pulled from the sea just off California. In San Diego, a little girl's matter-of-fact innocence masks the ghostly traumas that still haunt her: the cataclysm that engulfed her homeland; the memory of a brother who drowned; the heartbreaking spectacle of her parents trying to make a new home, their struggle backlit by the memory of a forbidden love when they were young. le thi diem thuy has revealed a world of great beauty and enormous sorrows. The Gangster We Are All Looking For is an authentically original novel about remembering and forgetting, about home…


Voices from the 'Jungle'

By Calais Writers,

Book cover of Voices from the 'Jungle': Stories from the Calais Refugee Camp

Thinking about camps and incarceration brings me to Voices from the ‘Jungle’: Stories from the Calais Refugee Camp. I choose this book because it offers insights into the lives and aspirations of refugees who congregated in the refugee camp in the coastal town of Calais in northern France. As such, it is an antidote to much contemporary reportage of refugees as a faceless and anonymous mass. Their vivid first-person accounts testify to the violence and persecution from which they escaped, whether in Afghanistan, Eritrea, Sudan, or Syria, and their subsequent adventures and odysseys, including endless waiting for official decisions or for the opportunity to make their way to the UK to join family or friends. The camp and its residents have been much photographed, but most of these images give little idea of the extent to which the “jungle” became a vibrant community; juxtaposing images and words, as in…

Voices from the 'Jungle'

By Calais Writers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Voices from the 'Jungle' as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Often called the 'Jungle', the refugee camp near Calais in Northern France epitomises for many the suffering, uncertainty and violence which characterises the situation of refugees in Europe today. But the media soundbites we hear ignore the voices of the people who lived there - people who have travelled to Europe from conflict-torn countries such as Syria, Sudan, Afghanistan and Eritrea: people with astounding stories, who are looking for peace and a better future.

Voices from the 'Jungle' is a collection of these stories. Through its pages, the refugees speak to us in powerful, vivid language. They reveal their childhood…


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