I can think of no country, no person, and no situation where this book wouldn’t be relevant and important, both in terms of the broad sweep of current affairs (it should be required reading for all those in government positions, leaders especially), and in terms of the very real sense of fear and self-protectiveness that is part of being a human being. Most very young children will accept the villager’s fear and also think that the outsider might eat their bones, so following-up the book with discussion is critical.
But that said, with the possible exception of the very familiar looking schoolteacher, it won’t be too frightening for young children. The darkness is inherent, and isn’t overt for anyone under about eight. Adults, though, may have nightmares. So they should. The Island is a book which will cross both age and cultural boundaries and belongs on bookshelves everywhere. Originally published in Germany in 2002 with the title of Die Insel, the book has won a swag of awards, and hopefully will now become widely read with its release in English.