Ginny Off the Map

Ginny Off the Map cover
Ginny Off the Map by Caroline Hickey. Illustrated by Kelly Murphy

by Caroline Hickey
Illustrated by Kelly Murphy
Christy Ottaviano Books / Little, Brown, 2023
304 pages

Ages 8-12

Eleven-year-old Ginny’s dad is an army doctor. Ginny (white) and her older sister, Allie, are blindsided when they learn his posting to Afghanistan in the new year has been changed; he leaves shortly after their expected move from North Carolina to Maryland at the end of the school year. Allie, who is gifted athletically and makes friends easily, is out playing with kids in their new neighborhood right away. Ginny, who is gifted academically but struggles socially, isn’t. Passionate about maps, she’s upset when a geography summer camp at the nearby community center is cancelled, and her efforts to engage the neighborhood kids in her interests fail. Ginny’s dad, who understands her best, video calls when he can, but not as often as any of them want. With their mom focused on a new job, and Allie and Ginny at odds, tensions in their house are high. As the family faces an additional unexpected challenge around the deployment, Ginny and Allie’s relationship and individual struggles with the move, and missing their dad, turn a corner as everyone in the family learns to be more honest, open, understanding, and supportive of one another. Believable characters ground this engaging book set in 2015 illuminating some of the challenges unique to military families, as well as challenges many families can understand.  It features a likely neurodivergent main character in Ginny. Smaller subplots involving the diverse kids in the neighborhood and Ginny’s expectations around school all further enrich this inviting, welcome story.  ©2023 Cooperative Children’s Book Center