Illustrated by Anne Yvonne Gilbert
Published by Creative Editions
Armando’s home is the rainforest—he knows its sights, smells, tastes, and sounds. He even knows its moods. From the bottom of the forest floor to the top of the emergent layer, the trees are also home to a multitude of creatures. When outsiders begin laying claim to and destroying the surrounding landscape, the displaced animals find refuge with Armando in the only remaining pocket of untouched forest, his “island.” As people come in and animals are forced out, this poignant tale shows the cumulative and disastrous effects of Amazonian deforestation.
The Story Behind The Story
It’s difficult for me to remember the story behind the story for Armando’s Island, as I wrote it over twenty years ago! The story was rejected in 2003 by my editor, so I put it in a drawer for a very long time, until…my wonderful agent, Karen Grencik, wanted to send it out in 2012. But no takers! My agent tried again in 2020. Success! We had two publishing houses interested! I was delighted to sign with Creative Editions who had previously done such beautiful work with my story Lights Out!
I know when I first wrote Armando’s Island, I was concerned about deforestation in the rainforest. I wanted to write a story about the beautiful animals being affected. Sadly, deforestation continues to happen around the globe and animals continue to be affected by the loss of their homes.
Armando’s Island is an ode to conservation heroes who stand against masses and a song to the rainforests. It has been described as a modern-day fable, telling of pressing dangers against rainforest inhabitants and of hope portrayed by one man, who courageously keeps his “island” safe, a solitary refuge for the animals and plants he loves. I encourage children to make their own “islands” for wildlife around their homes, whether for fox, birds, honeybees, or lizards.
Awards and Honors
Riverby Award for exceptional natural history book for young readers, presented by the John Burroughs Association
Around The Web
- The Long Journey of Armando’s Island
- Interview with Illustrator and Author
- Children’s Books About Rainforests
- STEM in the Rainforest
- Six Questions – Armando’s Island plus One Small Thing
- Seven Questions with Erin Dealey
- Simply Seven with Jena Benton
- Interview with Mindy Alyse Weiss
- Unpacking the Power of Picture Books
- Interview on Unpacking the Power of Picture Books
- Carol Baldwin Review
Laurie Thompson, Author
“Armando’s Island is a gorgeously illustrated introduction to the Amazonian rainforest. The story serves as a cautionary tale about what is lost when we allow greed and exploitation to destroy our natural spaces and is a persuasive call to action to value and protect them. The combination of story and art will inspire environmentalists of all ages.”
Simply 7 with Jena Benton
“It’s a dazzling combination of text and illustrations with a call to protect the natural world around us.”
Sandy Brehl, Unpacking the Power of Picture Books
“Marsha Diane Arnold has produced another sure-to-be classic picture book…informational fiction at is best.”