The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

The Island at the End of Everything

 

Leprosy was widespread for millenia throughout Asia, Africa and Europe until a cure was developped in the 1980s. At that time it was estimated that around 5.2 million people had leprosy around the world. Leprosy still exists today but with cases numbering in the hundreds of thousands instead of millions. Culion Island in the Philippines was once the largest leper colony in the world. From 1906 to 1910 alone, 5,303 men, women, and children were transported to Culion Island by the government.

The Island at the End of Everything tells the story of Ami, a twelve year old girl who has lived on Culion Island her entire life. The catch, she does not have leprosy, but her mother does as well as most of her friends and neighbors. Ami doesn't see her life as living in a leper colony, she sees a beautiful island with lush forests, the clear blue sea, and a close knit community that she loves. All is good until the government steps in and decides where and how these people should live. Ami's journey is sometimes heartbreaking, but also sweet and lovely. I personally loved the connection that Ami makes with the beautiful but rare butterflies on her island and the hope that they bring her for a better future.