About Eugene's Island

When Eugene’s father gets a job on a remote and uninhabited New Zealand bird sanctuary, Eugene isn’t sure the wild and windy island is going to be the wonderful adventure his parents think it will be. Especially when they tell Eugene they have to move on his birthday.

Written by Elizabeth Kirkby-McLeod and illustrated by Anna McKessar, Eugene’s Island is an early children's chapter book fiction series where readers can experience with Eugene the problems, pitfalls and potential that lie in island life.

Eugene’s Island are illustrated chapter books, appealing to independent readers 5 - 7 years old as they begin to read chapter books, and still suitable for reading aloud to younger children or for classroom use. Similar in size and market to series by Sally Rippin, Yvette Poshoglian and Susannah McFarlane, Eugene’s Island is unique in offering a New Zealand setting and a gentle introduction to environmental concerns, all within simple, enjoyable tales.

A large portion of the language used in the writing is from the ‘basic sight word’ lists used in many New Zealand primary schools.

Meet the team

Elizabeth Kirkby-McLeod (author)

If Elizabeth could travel in time she would go back to when Aotearoa New Zealand still had moa and giant eagles! Along with the Eugene’s Island book series, she is the author of children’s book World Folk Tales, poetry collection, Family Instructions Upon Release, and editor of the collection of New Zealand short stories Lit: stories from home. 

Anna McKessar (illustrator)

Anna McKessar is a New Zealand creative whose photography, video production, illustration and writing have appeared in a range of New Zealand productions and publications. She also produced the film 5 Hours with Raja which was released as part of the Documentary Edge Festival in 2010 and screened internationally by Al Jazeera. The film was a finalist in the Best Director and Best Documentary categories and Anna received the award for Best Emerging Filmmaker.

Anna deeply loves story telling and connecting with people and does so using a range of mediums. She has contributed articles to OhBaby magazine and The Record.