The Last Mapmaker by Chistina Soontornvat


Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

In The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat, a young girl named Sai tries to escape her past (and her present) by joining the mapmaker she assists on an expedition to the southern seas. On her journey, she discovers that she is not the only one pretending to be something she's not. She finds that people aren't always what they seem as she learns to discern right versus wrong or good versus evil. She learns to listen to her heart even when it seems like that might stand in the way of her dreams.

This book is adventurous and exciting for the young reader. It fosters imaginiation in the reader as they envision what it would be like to be twelve-years-old, trying to figure out themselves and the world in an exciting and often dangerous situation. It felt like the classic good versus evil story with which children are very familiar. It highlights issues of colonialism, poverty, classism, and the environment in a manner that is suitable and appropriate for kids to understand.

My daughter read this when she was nine and it has been such a favorite for her that she now seeks out books by Christina Soontornvat. I love when children discover authors that they adore because it only strengthens their love for reading. If you have a middle-grader who loves adventure, this book is definitely for them!

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