Winner of the 13th Naiin Awards National Book Competition 2012 and the first to win by unanimous votes, Linda Komalarajun's The Happiest Island on Earth is a young adult fiction with 7 impressions as in September 2016. It is also the runner- up in Seven Books Awards 2013 and listed in “100 books recommended for Thai children and youth 2012”, selected by Quality Learning Foundation (qlf.or.th).
A delightful coming-of-age novella, The Happiest Island on Earth traces the life of a young boy named Yano as he goes through his childhood in a small Vanuatu island, a place acclaimed by the New Economic Foundation as the most ecologically efficient country in the world or, basically, the happiest place on earth. In a village deep in traditions and familial bond, Yano introduces you to the small island full of bewildering mysteries, warm-hearted lifestyle, and unbreakable friendship. As the grandson of the village chief, Yano’s childhood is defined by the dream of one day attending the ‘Nimangki’ ceremony and becoming the chief himself. But first he has to find ‘Tagaro’ the revered god believed to reside in the volcanoes and known to appear in various shapes and forms, and only to the chosen ones who deserve the power of the chief.
This is not an easy task, especially when Yano is only a sixth grader, always accompanied by an inquisitive cousin, Joe-Michael, who is also vying for the same position. Yano faces many adventures from an encounter with a deep-sea shark, a spiritual journey up the volcano, to afternoon swims with the ‘Cowfish’ or dugongs. Along the way, he learns to have respect for everything and everyone, see beauty in the world around him, and, most importantly, make sacrifices, big or small, for the people he loves.
The Happiest Island on Earth not only charts the unusual rite of passage of a boy through a life in which the supernatural is candidly ingrained, but also reminds you that happiness is not measured by any possession or standards. Instead, happiness may be the simplicity and contentment in a life that is in harmony with the environment, like in Vanuatu. With realistic descriptions and thorough research, this book weaves together the true atmosphere of Vanuatu with the intricately invented tales, and leaves you fulfilled like you've just taken an actual journey to the Island of Ambrym.