Local Fifth Graders Review The Last Mapmaker

Review by Luanne Clark

Sometimes independent bookstores are offered unique opportunities to partner with their local communities in meaningful projects. This happened for Inklings recently. Random House Publishing provided 25 copies of the newly released children’s chapter book,  The Last Mapmaker, to be given to students to review. We were fortunate to partner with a class of fifth graders at Naches Valley Middle School and their teacher, Michelle Downs. Each student received their own copy of The Last Mapmaker and Mrs. Downs guided the reading and the writing of the reviews. At the conclusion of the project, a group of teachers read the reviews and chose 4 that impressed them above the others. These students received gift cards from Inklings and the whole class enjoyed a celebration of donuts and pizza. A good book and pizza! Two of the greatest!

Here are the reviews that were chosen for publication.

Miller Maygra is a 5th grader at Naches Valley Middle School. He is nine years old and skipped second grade. He has one dog, three fish, and many, many digital pets. He enjoys playing Minecraft and playing with Legos. He also loves to make comics.The Last Mapmaker is a book created by author of A Wish in the Dark, Christina Soontornvat. Christina Soontornvat created the fictional book this year, 2022. 

The book is about a twelve year old girl named Sai who is poor. She wants to run away because her father has a bad reputation, as he is a criminal. She is tired of her father’s criminal background, and wants a lineal to make everyone think she is better than most. She then finds a newspaper showing the opportunity to earn 150,000 leks. She takes the chance to cross the fiftieth parallel into the Harbinger Sea. The setting takes place in Mangkon. 

My opinion of this book is that it is amazing. I loved the way it was written. I loved the book’s structure. The book is structured around fantasy, including fanciful characters, fictional history, and defined fictional reality. I would include suggestions for the author, but I do not have any, as the book was written amazingly. I did not expect it to be written as well as it is.

The book impacted me by teaching me that it is okay to care for others, fight problems, and that you can make decisions on your own sometimes.

This book was written beautifully. It tells about secrets, friendship, and betrayal. I would highly recommend this book, as I would rate it five stars, to other people. If you take the recommendation, it is available on Kindle, Audible, hardcover and softcover. 

Genevieve Robert is an 11 year old girl who loves to read, play soccer, and have fun with her friends. She lives in Naches, WA with her parents, older brother, older sister, two dogs, and two cats. She is in the 5th grade and has been going to Naches schools since kindergarten.Are you seeking a good book?  I would definitely recommend The Last Mapmaker by Christina Stoontornvat. The genre is adventure fiction and nautical fiction.

This book is about a girl named Sai who lives in a place called Mangkon where you get a lineal depending on if your family has a good reputation. Sai’s father is a thief and a liar and Sai will do anything to get away from her father and her life in the Fens. Sai has the chance to go on an expedition to find the mystical Sunderlands, so she takes her chances and goes on the journey.  

I think this is an amazing book and I love how many of the chapters end on a cliffhanger, so you can’t stop reading. I love the way the author wrote and structured this book. I would suggest making a sequel about Sangra and Bo’s journey.

This book taught me that you don’t have to be a bad person just because your family are bad people. Also, that if someone’s family has a bad reputation you should not treat them badly or treat them like they are not as good as you.

I would rate this book five stars, because this book is marvelous and very well written. This book is recommended for ages 8-12yrs, but I would recommend this book for anyone looking for a good book, kids and adults.

Kinley Kring is an 11 year old girl who loves animals and playing soccer. She lives in Naches, WA with her mom, dad and little sister. She has two dogs and has been in the Naches Valley School District since kindergarten. Now she is in 5th grade!

Have you been looking for a good book to read? Read this book The Last Mapmaker. This book is the best book ever written! The genre of this book is fantasy and the author is Christina Soontorvat. 

   This is a great book for you and your kids and you can pass it on through your family. The Last Mapmaker costs about $10 which is a good price and you can get it at Inkling’s bookshop. 

   The Last Mapmaker is about a brave girl who is the assistant of a very wise man that makes maps. She has a really bad homelife and got an opportunity to get away from it. The lesson of this book is about being brave and strong. Another lesson in this story is growing up and standing up for yourself. 

   In my opinion this book is fantastic! The book hooks you at the beginning so you want to keep reading. This book is great and makes you hope that there is a sequel to The Last Mapmaker

     I recommend this book for middle schoolers and beyond. In addition I recommend buying this book because it is thrilling and dramatic. I hope you are very interested in buying this book because it is such an inspiring story to read. So if you haven’t already please go and buy this book now!

Raylee Hill is a ten year old girl who lives in Gleed, Washington and enjoys reading any time she has spare time available. She also dances at Footlites Dance Studio in Selah. She has been going to the Naches Valley School District for 6 years. She is currently in 5th grade.Have you ever wanted to read a book that is exciting for both parents and kids? Well, I recommend that you read “The Last Mapmaker”. It is a historical fiction story that brings lots of adventure for the main character, Sai, and the many friends that she makes throughout the story.

In the beginning of the story, Sai is a very poor twelve year old who works for one of the best mapmakers, Paiyoon Wongyai, in fictional Mangkon (the continent that Sai lives on). After working with Paiyoon for a while, Sai notices that Paiyoon gets a letter. As Sai later finds out, it was an invitation to board a ship to cross the 50th parallel. Sai then agrees to go on an adventure that she knows will change the course of her life forever.

I think this book is a really fun book to read because it includes lots of adventure and a lot of exciting events. A suggestion for the author, Christina Soontornvat, would be to add more information on the different ships that Mangkon is using to claim new lands.

This book kind of relates to another book called “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio. August Pullman (the main character in “Wonder”) and Sai both overcome their fears. August had always had a fear that no one would like him and Sai had a fear that she would always be poor and lonely.

I would recommend you read this book because it includes lots of friendships and

generosity. It is a very good story for both kids and adults to read because it would help kids and adults learn how to control their emotions if they fail at something.


These fifth graders are very lucky to have an interested and involved teacher, Michelle Downs. She spoke with me about leading her students to explore how the characters and plot related to their personal lives and to the world around them.  “As adult readers this is something we do naturally. I try to help my middle grades readers make connections between the novel and their own experiences.” It was a pleasure to work with her on this project and her students seemed to enjoy The Last Mapmaker. So– big thanks go out to Random House Publishing, Naches Valley School District, Mrs. Downs, and especially to the fifth graders who volunteered for this partnership. Hooray for reading!