“Secrets in the Islands” by Lauren de Leeuw

“Secrets in the Islands” by Lauren de Leeuw 640 1024 Reader Views Kids

Secrets in the Islands

Lauren de Leeuw
Tellwell Talent (2023)
ISBN: 978-1998190270
Reviewed by Michaela Gordoni for Reader Views (01/2024) 

Sami Johnson isn’t your average twelve-year-old. She has super-famous archaeologist parents for one thing, so her parents’ renowned status casts a unique shadow on her upbringing. She doesn’t even go to a real school. She’s never met her best friends in real life because she studies with them completely through the internet. For her family’s latest adventure, they are off to the island of Haida Gwaii, an archipelago off the coast of Canada. Sami finds that there is a lot more excitement there than some mere archaeological finds. A “destruction” (construction) company is out to privatize ocean access, taking it away from the natives of the islands and destroying their heritage in the process. With the help of her new Haida friend, Alaya, Sami sets out to stop them before it is too late.

“Secrets in the Islands” is the first in A Sami Series Adventure and has all the fun and adventure of “The Magic Treehouse” books, minus the magic. Sami is whisked away on a whirlwind adventure to find buried secrets and stop something terrible from happening. Author Lauren de Leeuw has been incredibly insightful with her choice of Haida Gwaii. She writes with sensitivity and depth as she shows children the importance of archaeology and cultural heritage and why certain things are important to the native islanders.

I also thought it was great how Lauren de Leeuw is very in touch with modern kids. Though Sami has a unique life, a lot of kids nowadays have to see their friends online instead of face-to-face. And just like any other kid, Sami wants to feel important and have some fun. So doing something meaningful checks both boxes.

Overall, this is a great book for kids to read for school or for their own entertainment. It’s full of adventure and suspense, with lots of sneaking around, spying, and occasionally running for one’s life. It draws attention to the collective responsibility to safeguard heritage, whether it’s your own or someone else’s, ensuring a captivating experience for its young and impressionable audience. I can say with certainty that “Secrets in the Islands” by Lauren de Leeuw would be a great addition to any school, public, or home library.

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