Kensuke’s Kingdom: Facts About the Book by Michael Morpurgo

Here are some facts about Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo.

  • Kensuke’s Kingdom was first published by Egmont in 1999.
  • The original edition of the book is 161 pages long.
  • The main character in the book, a boy called Michael, is shipwrecked on an island in the Pacific Ocean. The book focuses on his life on the island and the relationships he makes with its inhabitants.
  • The front cover of the early edition has an illustration inspired by the work of Japanese painter Hokusai Katsushika. The painter is mentioned in the story, too.
  • Michael Morpurgo wrote the book after on of his fans wrote to him asking him to write a story about a boy stuck on a desert island.

Kensuke's Kingdom

  • In order to learn more about yachts and round the world voyages, Michael Morpurgo took some sailing lessons before he started writing the book.
  • Kensuke, the Japanese soldier who Michael meets on the island, is named after one of Micheal’s fans who he met at  a book signing event. It’s pronounced Kensky.
  • Michael Morpurgo thought he had finished writing Kensuke’s Kingdom, but after reading it again, he decided it need something else. He added the letter to Michael as the final page.
  • Like Private Peaceful, War Horse and several other of Michael Morpurgo’s novels, Kensuke’s Kingdom has been turned into a play.

  • Michael got the name for the main character’s dog, Stellas Artois, from a boy who came to stay on his farm in Devon. The boy’s dog, an Alsatian, was called Stellas Artois.
  • As a child Michael Morpurgo enjoyed reading Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, and although this book is very different to Kensuke’s Kingdom, they do share some common ground.

  • When asked by  a reader what he would do if he were stranded on a desert island, Michael Morpurgo said he would make himself “as comfortable as I could. Learn how to fish really well, and play on the water-slide I’d take with me!! To keep myself occupied and cheery.”

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