The Islanders Search for Treasure By Mary Alice Monroe and Angela May

Do You Believe Pirates’Treasure Lies Along the SC Coast?


July 2022 Issue
A Book Review by Elizabeth Skenes Millen

If your child has ever been intrigued by alligators, sea turtles, otters and marshlands, or driving golf carts, visiting islands only accessible by boat, pirates or buried treasure, New York Times Bestselling author, Mary Alice Monroe in collaboration with Angela May have a summer read for your 8-12 year old that I promise you will enjoy, too. Mary Alice and Angela have worked together for years, however Search for Treasure is the second book in The Islanders Young Adult adventure series, and we have been assured a third book is coming!

The book opens with Jack, along with his father Eric, going to visit his grandmother for the summer to Dewees Island, which is only accessible by boat. Tragedy has struck Jake’s father and the family is struggling to find a new normal.

In Search for Treasure, Jake, Love and Macon learn that real treasure is about far more than what’s in a pirate’s chest. They discover the treasure of a rich father-son relationship, the support of community and true friendship. The novel also offers a wealth of environmental lessons valuable to both youth and adults. The friends witness sea level rise, observe the consequences of disturbing alligators, and also experience countless interactions with wildlife: raccoons, egrets, dolphins, a river otter, and even share the miracle of bioluminescence. Search for Treasure also continues the important rallying call for less screen time and more green time.

This is a fun and valuable read as children can escape with Jake to Dewees and jump right into nature, learning many lessons along the way. “I wrote this book for my grandchildren. There are mature themes in the story, especially as relates to the grandparent/child and the father/child relationship. I hope parents and grandparents will enjoy the story together with their young ones and then explore and learn about our amazing coastal landscape,” Mary Alice said.

With such adventures awaiting, we couldn’t wait to talk to
Mary Alice and Angela. Here’s what they had to say:

Elizabeth (to Angela): How do you and Mary Alice write together? It seems it would be difficult to make your writing styles meld into one book.

We brainstorm and dream together, honing in on the message we want to convey. Then we put together a detailed outline and pass the chapters back and forth. We have a great time writing together.

Elizabeth (to Mary Alice): Why did you choose the Young Adult (8-12 years old) genre? 

Mary Alice:
I always wanted to write for this dynamic age group. While talking to students with my picture books, I was thrilled by their can-do attitude and confidence. These kids believe they can make a difference! I want these kids to be excited about nature, getting outdoors, and learning about the wild.  They are our future.

Elizabeth (to both):
Tell us more about the environmental factor in this book.

Mary Alice and Angela:
We know the power of story can influence kids (and adults) much more strongly than any nonfiction because the reader feels the emotion through the eyes of the characters. When Macon is awed by Big Al, the reader shares Macon’s senses and tingles with excitement at how long the alligator’s tail is and how majestic the gator is sitting on the raft in the pond like a king on a throne. So later [story spoiler alert], when that same alligator’s life is threatened due to harassment by others, the reader’s heart pounds in worry about Big Al and he wants to protect the animal. This caring for the species comes from the fun learning and sharing of experiences. The realization of caring often surprises the reader at the book’s end. 

Elizabeth (to Mary Alice):
Having a side environmental nature theme is common in your adult novels, too.

Mary Alice:
I always say, “To care is to take care.” I have used the power of story in my adult novels the past twenty years to educate and inspire readers, and I’m thrilled to be writing for children with the same message.

Elizabeth (to both):
If you could encourage people to read this book, what would you say? 
Mary Alice and Angela: Have fun reading this book, then go out and explore—children and adults together! Nature makes children of us all.

Buy the Book: The Islanders Search for Treasure (Aladdin) hit the book stores on June 14.
You can find it at your favorite local book store, as well as Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Audible.

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