“The Last Mapmaker” by Christina Soontornvat

Title: The Last Mapmaker

Author: Christina Soontornvat

Publication Info: 2022 Candlewick Press

The Plot: Sai lives in the kingdom of Mangkon and works as an assistant to the famous mapmaker Paiyoon Wongyai.  Unbeknownst to her master, Sai comes from the troubled underclass of Mangkon society and has little room for advancement in life.  When the Queen of Mangkon announces a voyage to map the unknown lands of the southern ocean, Paiyoon and Sai find themselves part of this dangerous expedition.  Sai hopes that this maritime adventure will be her way to a better life, but she must keep her true identity guarded even as she comes to question the true intentions of the voyage.   

My Take: With a light does of fantasy and adventure, Soontornvat paces this novel in such a way that it sweeps the reader along with Sai in her dangerous journey.  Soontornvat also does an excellent job presenting the complicated questions of advancement in a morally compromised society. Recommended for ages 11-14

One Interesting Note About The Author:  According to her website, Soontornvat “spent a decade working in the science museum field, where she designed programs and exhibits to get kids excited about science.”  She is passionate about STEM.