Cover image for Island in the sun
Island in the sun
Belafonte, Harry, 1927-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Dial Books for Young Readers, 1999.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 22 x 27 cm
Illustrations accompany the words to a song made popular by Harry Belafonte, paying tribute to his island childhood.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.0 0.5 42112.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



World famous entertainer and humanitarian Harry Belafonte's lovely, lyrical childhood recollection of Jamaica is a tender portrait that will easily strike a chord in anyone who feels bound to a special place. The "story" first appeared as lyrics to an engaging calypso song popularized by Mr. Belafonte. In concert with Alex Ayliffe's luminously beautiful illustrations, childhood days of sugarcane fields, shining sands, and fishermen casting their nets into glittering waters are affectionately recalled, expressing the ties of family, history, and personal experiences that make any well-loved place a home of the heart.

Author Notes

Alex Ayliffe lives in England.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4^-7. This lyrical tribute to Jamaica lends itself to a picture-book interpretation. Pure pools of lush tropical colors capture the abundant scenery of the island, and urban scenes are also crowded with color as they depict markets where people choose fruit and vegetables from street vendors. Simple borders feature the flora and fauna of the island. Children who have never been to the Carribean will get a feel for the details and pace of island life from the text: "I see woman on bended knee, / Cutting cane for her family. / I see man at the water's side / Casting nets at the surging tide." Lilting and lovely, the book also features the music and lyrics, so this can be sung as well as read. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

Turning the pages of this sunny picture book, adapted from one of Belafonte's hit songs, readers can almost feel a gentle ocean breeze and hear a calypso beat. Belafonte and Burgess pay tribute to the natural beauty of Jamaica and its hardworking people, describing scenes Belafonte fondly recalls from the five years he spent as a child on that island. "This is my island in the sun/ Where my people have toiled since time begun./ Tho I may sail on many a sea,/ Her shores will always be home to me." In some of her strongest work, Ayliffe's (Something Special) bright, distinctive cut-paper collages feature lush green palm trees, radiantly blooming flowers and a gorgeous cerulean sky. Men in straw hats gather coconuts and haul them to a busy market that crackles in confetti colors. A woman labors to cut long brown stalks of sugar cane for her family and a fisherman casts his net into the frothy waves. But there is time for fun, too: farmworkers take a break for the island equivalent of backgammon; young men jam on big drums; everyone dances the night away during carnival. This vibrant outing is the armchair equivalent of a Caribbean vacation. Ages 3-7. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 4-This picture-book version of a calypso song recorded by Belafonte in the 1950s is a paean to a beautiful tropical island. Each four-line verse describes an aspect of life there and is followed by the chorus singing praises of its beauty. Some of the lines are better when sung than when read, e.g., "Never let me miss carnival,/With calypso songs/philosophical," but throughout, a wishful longing is clearly expressed. Every two-line description is accompanied by a colorful double-page collage illustration. The pictures are alive with activity directly related to and enhancing the text. The sun is so burning, the pictures so bright, and the people so busy that readers will feel the perspiration and reach for their sunglasses. With this brief combination of words and pictures, children experience life on the island where there is hard work, joyous fun, and beauty all around.-Marlene Gawron, Orange County Library, Orlando, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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