When Macmillan launched their groundbreaking ‘tween’ novella Island Fiction series in 2009, they started off with 6 titles and an initial print run of 2,000 copies. Originally they had planned to release 10 titles but then the world economic system went topsy-turvy and the global recession kicked in. They decided to release 6 instead.
Macmillan has now launched ebook editions of all the original titles, evidently with an eye on the changing times in publishing and the global book trade.
The fast-paced, Island Fiction stories are set in the Caribbean and they’re based on science-fiction, fantasy and the legends and folklore of the islands. They’re aimed at young readers age 10 and older.
Explaining the story lines, Macmillan says, “The young heroes and heroines follow intriguing quests, dice with danger and overcome all manner of evil forces as they attempt to save themselves and those closest to them.” They insist the books are “guaranteed to get teenagers reading and eager for more.”
The Island Fiction series editor, the indefatigable and acclaimed Trinidadian children’s author Joanne Gail Johnson, remains upbeat about the future of the series. Knowing all too well what her authors are up against in trying to capture young readers’ attention, from the outset she stood foursquare behind them offering support and helping to promote the books on her website, in the media and in schools. She encourages them to harness technology by using all available online tools to create buzz, including blogging, book trailers on You Tube and Skype-video visits.
“Teens want a legit stretch, that’s why there’s so much mischief when they are not challenged,” says Johnson. “Island Fiction series was published with this in mind. Our heroes struggle with themselves and their circumstances and make the journey home, metaphorically and sometimes, literally … Kids who read IF usually light up with something like, “When is the movie coming out? I could just see it so clearly!”
“Island Fiction titles are great gifts for travelling, packing, downloading – these unique, electrifying, fast paced adventures are suitable for mature readers, both boys and girls from 10 and up and are great “first” chapter books for reluctant teen and young adult readers.”
Johnson added, “You will meet River Mumma, La D’iablesse, Alex a Waspachu of the Cougar Clan on the South American continent who sees and hears the legendary pan man from a nearby island; there’s a suicidal student who flunks Common Entrance exam and opts to swim through time on the back of a turtle named Odysseus. You’ll encounter Legba and the temptress Zulie, and the androgynous blue-skinned Loba and … an entirely new race of Goans and much more.”
The books are also available in print from Amazon.com and R.I.K. bookstores in Trinidad and other shops throughout the Caribbean.