Energy Island by Allan Drummond


Written by Allan Drummond

(2011) New York, New York

Frances Foster Books

Farrar, Straus, Giroux

On the small island of Samsø in Denmark, there is a community of people made up of farmers, teachers, fishermen, etc. This island was chosen to be a site for renewable energy efforts, and the cause was led by a teacher named Mr. Hermansen. He and his students came up with the idea to use wind as an energy source to create power for the island! They faced a lot of opposition from the other adults on the island until one stormy night when the power for the entire island went out.  Only two people had taken the wind idea seriously and put up wind turbines, and that night they were the only ones with electricity! From then on, the people of Samsø put a lot more effort into using non-renewable energy sources, from electric cars, wind turbines, even solar panels.  This is what made the little island famous!

Lexile Measure: AD920L

Accelerated Reader: 5.4

Words to describe this book: nonfiction, informative, engaging, colorful, illustrated

Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.

Suggested Delivery: read aloud

Reading Strategies:

Before Reading: Have students fill out an anticipation guide. You can add on to the one provided in the link. This activity will get the students thinking about what they believe or know about renewable energy sources, and will prepare them for reading the book.

During Reading: Have students complete a story map to organize and track the details of the book including characters, setting, conflict, and resolution. This will help students to summarize and understand the main points of the story to improve their comprehension.

After Reading: Have students refer back to their anticipation guides, and see if any of their answers have changed after reading the story.  Invite students to discuss why they did or did not change their answers, or ask more questions.

Writing Activity: Have students write a sample letter to their local newspaper or town officials about what kinds of changes could be made to their town to improve or expand renewable energy resources. Students should draw upon what they have learned from the book, and relate to the challenges the characters faced, as well as how they overcame them. This will require students to apply what they have learned from their reading and comprehension activities to their own lives.

Additional Resources:

Allan Drummond’s website allows readers to learn more about Drummond’s life, artwork, and other books. He also periodically updates the “News” section of his website with new artwork he has done for various organizations or other books, book previews, etc. This allows the reader to learn more about the author!

Check out this map from National Geographic showing which countries are using renewable energy sources and what types of renewable energy (wind, solar, geothermal) they are using!

This video from PBS explains how we use energy, and discusses forms of renewable energy as well as their pros and cons. This resource will help build schema for this topic.

Key Vocabulary:

  • Harbor-a part of a body of water along the shore deep enough for anchoring ship for the purpose of providing protection from winds, waves, and currents.
  • Tanker-a ship designed for bulk shipment of liquids or gases.
  • Ideal-a standard of perfection or excellence.
  • Nonrenewable-something that cannot be reused or revived.
  • Turbine- a machine driven by the pressure or momentum of a moving fluid, as steam, water, hot gases, or air.
  • Secondhand-previously used or owned.
  • Independent-not relying on another or others for aid or support.

(all definitions obtained/modified from


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