The most recommended books about islands

Who picked these books? Meet our 128 experts.

128 authors created a book list connected to islands, and here are their favorite island books.
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What type of island book?


Book cover of Dinotopia

Hannah Batsel Author Of A is for Another Rabbit

From my list on with super-detailed illustrations to stare at.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I fall in love with a fantasy world, I want to consume as much of that world as possible. That’s why I’m drawn to illustration that is so dense with worldbuilding elements. In my own work, I started indulging this obsession by creating tiny one-by-three-inch books that contained fully-illustrated alien worlds before eventually moving on to bigger books like A is for Another Rabbit, a book crammed so full of hidden jokes, Easter eggs, and thousand-rabbit-wide crowd scenes that my hand hurt by the end of it. Extreme detail is a way of prolonging the delight and discovery inherent in reading picture books, and I intend to keep pushing it to the limit!

Hannah's book list on with super-detailed illustrations to stare at

Hannah Batsel Why did Hannah love this book?

Another first book in a consistently-lovely series, Dinotopia delivers on exactly what its title promises: a lush utopia full of immaculately rendered dinosaurs (and their costumed human companions!) It’s no surprise that the breathtaking scenery of Dinotopia feels so real and immersive; author-illustrator James Gurney previously illustrated reconstructions of ancient civilizations for National Geographic. His illustrations pack so much worldbuilding into such a small space; from the actually-translatable dinosaur footprint language on all the signage to the consideration of the minutiae of Dinotopian life (where and how do sentient dinosaurs poop?), it’s no wonder this travelogue-style book has swept away both adults and children alike.

By James Gurney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When James Gurney's Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time first appeared in 1992, it was immediately hailed as a fully imagined world of the caliber of J. R. R. Tolkien's. Gurney's premise — of an undiscovered island where a race of mystical humans co-exists in harmony with intelligent dinosaurs — has been since reiterated over and over in numerous films and by scores of other writers. Now, Calla Editions brings Gurney's spectacular artistry to a new generation in this 20th anniversary edition. Digitally re-rendered from the original transparencies, Gurney's dramatic panoramas of Dinotopia and close-up character studies of its inhabitants…

Book cover of Rotten Island

Scott Menchin Author Of Wiggle

From my list on for funny and artistic young children.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a curious Pratt Institute art school professor and loving parent of a daughter who has also written and/or illustrated sixteen children’s books I want to share my favorite books with other children’s book connoisseurs. It also helps that I have lots of opinions. Too many to count. And when someone actually wants to listen to my opinions I get very excited. I’m hoping one of my favorites becomes one of your favorites. 

Scott's book list on for funny and artistic young children

Scott Menchin Why did Scott love this book?

This book by the author of Shrek and one of my favorite artist/authors is a story of an island inhabited by crazy awful disgusting creatures and how they make it a terrible rotten island until nature takes hold and corrects all that.

A great book when thinking about our planet and environment. And the artwork is magnificent.  

By William Steig,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rotten Island as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What would happen if every creature on land and sea were free to be as rotten as possible? If every day was a free-for-all; if plants grew barbed wire; if the ocean were poison? That's life on Rotten Island. For creatures that slither, creep, and crawl (not to mention kick, bite, scratch, and play nasty tricks on each other), Rotten Island is paradise. But then, on a typically rotten day, something truly awful happens. Something that could spoil Rotten Island forever. Out of a bed of gravel on the scorched earth, a mysterious, beautiful flower begins to grow...

Book cover of Isle Walk Clockwise: A year of half-marathons round the Isle of Barra

Margaret Moore Author Of From Sri Lanka with Love: A Tapestry of Travel Tales

From my list on travelogue memoirs to reminisce or plan a holiday.

Why am I passionate about this?

Primarily I’m a wife and mother, who loves holidays and writing about our experiences: from the many family holidays in a static caravan 90 minutes’ drive from our hometown in Scotland to the wonderful opportunities we’ve had to travel the world since, including through my work as a lecturer (when the family came too for a holiday while I worked!) or with friends. I like reading other authors’ personal experiences especially when I’m drawn into feeling I’m with the author during the travels, experiencing what’s not always included in travel guidebooks: the not-so-good as well as the good, the challenging as well as the amazing.

Margaret's book list on travelogue memoirs to reminisce or plan a holiday

Margaret Moore Why did Margaret love this book?

The Isle of Barra, a small island off the west coast of Scotland was a holiday destination I yearned to visit. Uniquely, planes land on a tidal beach. ‘Isle’, meaning island, is pronounced I’ll, so the title also reads I’ll walk clockwise.

The author walked the A888, a 13-mile-long road round the island once a month for a year—partly during the 2020 Covid pandemic restrictions. 

The book recounts the walks while giving an insight into remote island life with its varied scenery and wildlife through the changeable weather conditions.

The book fired my enthusiasm. Soon I experienced the island myself; the plane landing on the beach, walking Kath’s route—once (!) and seeing the fantastic, virtually deserted, golden sand beaches and clear water, while enjoying numerous other walks.

By Kath Kelly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Isle Walk Clockwise as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Things happen when you go for a walk.
What started as Kath Kelly’s only circuit of the beautiful Isle of Barra somehow became twelve half-marathons. She marched right around the calendar amidst everything the weather, the world and the wildlife went through in the turbulent times before autumn 2020. This is the true story of her year-long journey and the surprising discoveries she made along the way. Come along for a fascinating glimpse of lockdown life in the Outer Hebrides over one most extraordinary year!

Book cover of Beyond the Bright Sea

Kate McCarroll Moore Author Of Elinormal

From my list on navigating middle school years with honesty & empathy.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a former middle school teacher and librarian, I know first-hand the power of story to motivate and teach. Over the years, I have also been lucky enough to facilitate several mother-daughter book groups and have found that books that show characters wrestling with decisions about doing the right thing, and recovering from bad choices, help to show children that there is always hope. Middle school is a time of such challenge and change, and stories that show authentically drawn characters navigating this tough terrain can act as guideposts. Becoming independent, finding your voice, growing empathy, and cherishing family and friends are necessary steps to becoming confident and healthy humans.

Kate's book list on navigating middle school years with honesty & empathy

Kate McCarroll Moore Why did Kate love this book?

I read this book with my mother-daughter book group and we all loved it!

The story focuses on the quest for twelve-year-old Crow to discover where she came from and who she truly is. It’s a story filled with suspense and intrigue fueled by Crow’s insatiable curiosity. There are powerful lessons here for Crow and for the lucky readers who follow her journey. The writing is hauntingly beautiful!

By Lauren Wolk,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Beyond the Bright Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

'Harper Lee has a worthy successor. Wolk is a big new talent' - The Times

Crow has lived her whole life on a tiny, starkly beautiful island. Her only companions are Osh, the man who rescued her from a washed-up skiff as a baby and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their neighbour across the sandbar. But it is only when a mysterious fire appears across the water that an unspoken question of her own history forms in Crow's heart, and an unstoppable chain of events is triggered. Crow sets out to find her lost identity - and, ultimately, to learn…

Book cover of The Keepers of Metsan Valo

Kerry Anne King Author Of Improbably Yours

From my list on set on atmospheric fictional islands.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in the interior of British Columbia, hours from the water, but my father loved the ocean. Every summer we’d take a vacation on the coast and sometimes we’d take the ferry to Vancouver Island. Oh, how I loved those ferry rides! The wind, the smell of the sea, the waves, the smaller islands we passed. When the idea came to me to set Improbably Yours on my very own fictional island, I was over the moon! My resident Viking and I took a research trip to the San Juans to help me in my creation of Vinland, and I was utterly charmed and delighted by island life.

Kerry's book list on set on atmospheric fictional islands

Kerry Anne King Why did Kerry love this book?

I adore the wild, untamed island where this novel is set and the way the spirits of earth and water and forest make themselves known in eerie ways. Plus there’s the mysterious old house, Metsan Valo, the enigmatic caretaker, and his wife and the questions raised as to who (or what!) exactly they were. I’m also a total sucker for stories about characters who are faced with the challenge of accepting gifts and powers they didn’t know they had and aren’t sure they want to wield, so I was rooting for Anni. Plus there’s mystery and family drama and a touch of basically everything I love in a book is represented here.

By Wendy Webb,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Keepers of Metsan Valo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The spirits of Nordic folklore come calling in this entrancing tale of family secrets and ancient mysteries by the #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author of The Haunting of Brynn Wilder.

In Metsan Valo, her family home on Lake Superior, Anni Halla's beloved grandmother has died. Among her fond memories, what Anni remembers most vividly is her grandmother's eerie yet enchanting storytelling. By firelight she spun tall tales of spirits in the nearby forest and waters who could heal-or harm-on a whim. But of course those were only stories...

The reading of the will now occasions a family reunion. Anni and…

Book cover of The Island of Doctor Moreau

Ben H. Winters Author Of The Bonus Room

From my list on malevolent beasts.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve written across genres, including mysteries like The Last Policeman and big works of alternate history like Underground Airlines. But Bedbugs—now republished as The Bonus Room—was one of my first books, and very dear to my heart. I’ve always loved books that pit a single, relatively helpless protagonist against some inexplicable force that he or she cannot begin to fathom. A force that can’t be reasoned with or bargained with. You just have to beat it. Perhaps that’s why I love these books about man vs. beast—the natural world is our friend, and animal are subservient to us…until suddenly, terrifyingly, they’re not.   

Ben's book list on malevolent beasts

Ben H. Winters Why did Ben love this book?

Wells is one of the great early masters of science fiction, creator of The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds, but with Moreau he was also one of the masters of what David Cronenberg fans know as body horror—the gross, startling, and menacing intermingling of the human body with exterior elements.

In this case, pumas, pigs, you name it. With characters like Ape-Man and Sloth-Man, there is a definitely campiness here, but never enough to distract from the fact that it’s deeply, resonantly disturbing.  

By H.G. Wells,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Island of Doctor Moreau as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Island of Doctor Moreau has inspired countless homages in literature, film and television.

Book cover of The Teatime Islands: Adventures in Britain's Faraway Outposts

Simon Michael Prior Author Of The Coconut Wireless

From my list on remote tropical islands.

Why am I passionate about this?

Simon Michael Prior loves small islands, and has travelled to remote countries in search of unique island experiences. He inflicts all aspects of life on himself so that readers can enjoy learning about his latest exploits. During his forty-year adolescence, he’s lived on two boats, sunk one of them; sold houses, street signs, Indian food, and paper bags; visited fifty countries, lived in three; qualified as a scuba diving instructor; learnt to wakeboard; trained as a Marine Rescue skipper, and built his own house without the benefit of an instruction manual.

Simon's book list on remote tropical islands

Simon Michael Prior Why did Simon love this book?

As an Englishman, I’m very taken by books which combine travel with English history. Ben Fogle takes us through the last remnants of the British Empire, tiny islands that have refused independence and resolutely fly the Union Jack. His adventures in Tristan da Cunha, Diego Garcia, and St Helena took me to three places I had never been to. Like me, Fogle is an islandophile and I recommend this for anyone wanting to know about these islands that are in many ways more British than Britain.

By Ben Fogle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Teatime Islands as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Welcomed with open arms, derided as a pig-ignorant tourist and occasionally mocked mercilessly for his trouble, Ben Fogle visited the last flag-flying outposts of the British Empire. With caution, dignity and a spare pair of pants thrown to the wind, he set out to discover just exactly who would choose to live on islands as remote as these and - more importantly - tried to figure out exactly why. Landing himself on islands so isolated, wind-swept, barren and just damned peculiar that they might have Robinson Crusoe thinking twice, Fogle: almost becomes lunch on the appropriately named Carcass Island; gets…

Book cover of We Were Liars

Lori Duffy Foster Author Of Never Let Go

From my list on thrillers with twists.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my years on the crime beat, I often met good people who did bad things and criminals with good intentions and good hearts. We tend to draw a line between good and evil, putting ourselves on the good side. From that perspective, we sit in judgment, believing we are incapable of evil because it’s “over there.” Inaccessible. Unfathomable. But that line is fictional. We redraw it constantly to feel good about ourselves and avoid empathizing with the worst of human nature. What I love about these five novels is that they expose that truth. The twists remind me that even my own line is blurred and ever-shifting.

Lori's book list on thrillers with twists

Lori Duffy Foster Why did Lori love this book?

I wasn’t sure what to think of this novel. I picked it up in a bookstore after reading the back cover with no recommendations from anyone. I should do that more often.

This book pulled me in quickly with its well-crafted mystery and buildup of suspense. I thought I knew what was happening, who to suspect, who to love, and who to despise. I didn’t want to put it down. Then, in the end, the author turned everything upside down and broke my heart.

It left me questioning the validity of my perceptions and my own reality for a long time after. It stayed with me, and, for me, that is evidence of a successful twist.  

By E. Lockhart,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked We Were Liars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

The TikTok phenomenon and #1 New York Times bestseller.

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends-the Liars-whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honouree E. Lockhart.

Read it.

And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

Don't miss FAMILY OF LIARS, the thrilling prequel to We Were Liars, published in May 2022.

Book cover of The Magus

Richard Vaughan Davies Author Of Fireweed

From my list on books from a pre-internet era, full of action, humour and social comment.

Why am I passionate about this?

The list reflects my interest in history and my own recollections of the days before the current era of mass tourism and online globalisation. I confess to a feeling of painful nostalgia for a time when we all had a very different worldview, and these books are all of that period. They feature temporal grief for an age that has passed. They are all highly readable books by writers at the top of their game.

Richard's book list on books from a pre-internet era, full of action, humour and social comment

Richard Vaughan Davies Why did Richard love this book?

Every young man’s dream of living on a Greek island in the 60s before the tourist invasion ruined the idyll forever.

The antiquity, the sun, the resin-flavoured wine, the turquoise sea, and the sweetness of the islanders’ welcome is the background to a tale of mystery and magic, sexual promise and deadly intrigue.

This book changed my life. I went to the islands as soon as I could after reading The Magus, and sixty years later wish myself still there.

By John Fowles,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Magus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Magus is the story of Nicholas Urfe, a young Englishman who accepts a teaching assignment on a remote Greek island. There his friendship with a local millionaire evolves into a deadly game, one in which reality and fantasy are deliberately manipulated, and Nicholas must fight for his sanity and his very survival.

Book cover of Untamed: The Wildest Woman in America and the Fight for Cumberland Island

Jennifer Pharr Davis Author Of Becoming Odyssa: Adventures on the Appalachian Trail

From my list on women who love the outdoors.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jennifer Pharr Davis has covered over 14,000 miles - and explored trails on six different continents - and in all fifty states. In 2011 she set a record on the Appalachian Trail by covering 2,190 mile miles in 46 days (an average of 47 miles per day). Jennifer is a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year and a member of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition.

Jennifer's book list on women who love the outdoors

Jennifer Pharr Davis Why did Jennifer love this book?

Carol Ruckdeschel is one of the foremost naturalists of our time. The majority of her learning did not come from books or classrooms but from tens of thousands of hours spent outdoors studying animals and their environment. A book that leaves you feeling more wild.

By Will Harlan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Carol Ruckdeschel is the wildest woman in America. She wrestles alligators, eats roadkill, rides horses bareback, and lives in a ramshackle cabin that she built by hand in an island wilderness. A combination of Henry David Thoreau and Jane Goodall, Carol is a self-taught scientist who has become a tireless defender of sea turtles on Cumberland Island, a national park off the coast of Georgia.

Cumberland, the country’s largest and most biologically diverse barrier island, is celebrated for its windswept dunes and feral horses. Steel magnate Thomas Carnegie once owned much of the island, and in recent years, Carnegie heirs…