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A Mostly True Story from Iceland

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ISBN: 9781646869916

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ISBN: 9781646869923

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Written by Ævar Þór Benediktsson
Illustrated by Anne Wilson

Based on a true story, the author humorously recounts the time his grandfather got stranded with a friend on Surtsey, a brand new volcanic island in Iceland. The adventurers face epic challenges like molten lava, melted eyeglasses and scant supplies before finally getting rescued. Graphic novel-like layouts and spirited text invite readers to search for the one thing that's not actually true in this thrilling yet light-hearted tale of adventure. Endnotes include information about volcanoes, Icelandic culture and Norse mythology.

Key Selling Points:
  • GLOBAL: Icelandic culture permeates this adventure story set on a new volcanic island in Iceland.
  • ADVENTURE: The story of being stranded in the wilderness next to a volcano without food and water will keep readers on the edge of their seats.
  • HUMOR: Humorous storytelling creates joy and relief in a tense story.
  • TRUE STORY: Based on a true story told to the author by his grandfather.
  • GRAPHIC NOVEL-LIKE LAYOUT: Graphic novel style layouts are incorporated into the book’s colorful illustrations.
  • ENDNOTES: Endnotes include information about volcanoes, Icelandic culture and Norse mythology.

More Details

  • Product Dimensions: 10.00 x 9.75 inches
  • Page Count: 32 pages
  • Age Range: Ages 6-10 years
  • Leveling: P
  • Grade Level: 3

Awards & Accolades

  • Washington Children’s Choice Picture Book Award Shortlist, 2025
  • ALA Notable Children's Books, 2024
  • JLG Gold Standard Selection!
  • The best books for children 2023, Sunday Times
  • Kirkus’ Best of Picture Books 2023
  • Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best books of 2023

★ “Two amateur explorers become stranded on a newly formed volcanic island when the fishing boat that drops them off fails to come back” – Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“This strikingly unusual picture book contains a true story about the author’s grandfather, a scientist stranded on a volcanic island” – The Sunday Times

“Based on a true account, the book’s comfortable and engaging storytelling presents the tale in a humorous way sprinkled with Icelandic myths and a dash of magic . . . Highly recommended for public or school libraries. This gently exciting story will be enjoyed by adventure-loving children” – School Library Journal

“Benediktsson’s Icelandic grandfather inspires this ‘mostly true,’ magically buoyed tale of a volcanic excursion that teeters on disaster” – Publishers Weekly

About the Contributors

Written by - Ævar Þór Benediktsson
Ævar Þór Benediktsson is one of Iceland‘s most popular authors. He is Iceland‘s first UNICEF Ambassador and is known for launching popular nationwide reading challenges to encourage Icelandic children and teenagers to read more. In 2017 Ævar was chosen as one of the Aarhus39 – a collection of the 39 best emerging writers for young people from across Europe. He is the author of more than 30 books.
Illustrated by - Anne Wilson
Anne Wilson was born on Ascension Island, a volcano in the South Atlantic. Her work is inspired by everyday life and traveling. The images she creates are constructed in layers, starting with drawing, mark making and printing, these are then manipulated in Photoshop. Anne has an MA in illustration from St Martins College of Art, London and has been an illustrator for over 20 years. She has illustrated many projects for Barefoot Books, including We're Roaming in the Rainforest and The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales.

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