This book continues the excellent children’s book travel series featuring twelve year old Amanda as she visits remote locations, where she joins us in learning about history and culture, and manages to also squeeze in time for adventures and solving a mystery or two.
In this book, Amanda visits the beautiful Mediterranean archipelago of Malta, (including the island of Malta as well as the smaller islands of Gozo and Comino) with her friend Caleb and his parents.
Full disclosure: my parents are Maltese and I lived in Malta for a few years, beginning when I was, coincidentally, twelve years old and I now live in frigid Canada, as does Amanda. Given that Amanda and my returning nostalgia are so deeply in synch, it’s no surprise that I was curious to read this book. The good news is that I was delighted to find Amanda’s perspective of Malta, as well as the snippets of history and the travelogue provided, not only interesting and wonderfully researched but presented in a fun and lively manner that I’m sure middle school children will enjoy as well as take learnings back from.
Amanda and her friends visit all the expected tourist locations in Malta, including (amongst other stops on this tour) the walled capital city of Valletta, the ancient ruins of Hagar Qim, the caves of Ghar Dalam, the historical Mosta dome cathedral, and the underground temple known as the Hypogeum. They also sample local cuisine (including everyone’s favourite Maltese pastizzi pastries), and experience the azure splendor of the waters and caves of the Blue Grotto.
To complement the story, Amanda’s motivation for visiting Malta is driven by her need to help her friend Leah out of a jam and this sub-plot nicely interweaves learning about the islands with an element of mystery and danger that is sure to delight modern day Nancy Drew fans.
A big thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and the author for an advance review copy of this engaging book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts presented are my own.