Mystery Of The Naga At Night ~ Author Lisa Travis , Illustrator Adam Turner

Get ready for an adventure in Thailand! Jess, an American and her friend Nong May, a Thai, volunteer at the village school for the hill tribes ( The Hmong). One night while Jess is sleeping, she hears a rustling a sound from the forest. When she peeps out the window, she sees a snake-like creature with seven heads creeping through the forest! When Jess tells Nong May and their brothers Jared and Pee Aran, they are sceptical at first but are convinced when they all see the serpent with their own eyes. What is the secret of the Naga? Is it a friend or foe, and why is it going into the forest every night? Jess and the others try to crack this mystery.

The book takes place deep in Thailand and tries to show the country through a child’s eye. The descriptions of the village, the school, Thai culture and food are beautifully interwoven with the story. The book gives the flavour of Thailand. There is also a description of the unique adventure of riding the tuk-tuk in Thailand. It was heart-warming to see the respect that Thai culture has been given in the book. There is a sequence where Jess greets Nong May with a wai (Thai greeting). The action of the wai is described in detail showing how important it is in Thai culture. Ancient Thai myths, crucial in indigenous Thai culture, have been treated sensitively. The children are made aware that these legends and myths were created and passed on from generation to generation, to protect nature and the need to respect them.

Jess and Nong May are typical girls who like hanging out and playing with each other. They have respect and affection for each other. They like having sleepovers and playing cards late in the night. Since Jess and Nong May help out the students of the village school in maths and English, they subtly set a good example for the young readers. They show courage by trying to crack the mystery of the Naga, even though they were both scared. Jess and Nong May are also not afraid to face the truth even if it hurts them.

The most important aspect the book talks about is the Thai saying “Pha khi rio ho thong ” or “waste cloth covers gold“. In other words, appearances can be deceiving. A person can look appealing but might be harbouring evil thoughts. Similarly, a person might make you feel uncomfortable but actually be honest and sincere. Most of us are inherently more distrustful of a person from a different culture as they are not familiar to us. The book shows us not to do so. Jess goes through the pain of trust being broken but learns the lesson to never fall for appearances.

The end of the book has more details about Thailand, including its geography, money and details about the Hmong tribe( the tribe in whose area the village was set). There is also a detailed recipe for Khanom Krok, the dessert which Jess loved so much. There is a glossary of commonly used Thai words and phrases with their English translations. They are written in Thai script too. There is a detailed footnote about the different tonal notes used in speaking as well. So the children can try speaking the phrases by themselves, using this footnote. The details about Thailand are followed by activity sheets like the Thai trip planner with separate tabs like what to do/where to go/what to pack/friends to send postcards, etc. 

The fast-paced book, written in simple language, will appeal to its target audience of young readers ( six-to-nine-year-olds). They will find the adventures of Jess and Nong May engrossing and will also have the added benefit of learning more about Thailand. There are illustrations to give the young readers a break from reading and keep them entertained. The illustrations also help the readers in visualizing the prose. Extra details about Thailand, the glossary as well as the activity sheets, all of these, will make the children more involved in the book, adding to the book’s charm. 

I received the Mystery Of The Naga By Lisa Travis as a gift for reviewing for The Multicultural Children’s Day 2021. The book has been published by The Pack-N-Go Girls and is available on Amazon.

Let’s learn a little bit more about Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2021 (1/29/21) is in its 8th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those book into the hands of young readers and educators.

Eight years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues. Read about our Mission & History HERE.

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This epically fun and fast-paced hour includes multicultural book discussions, addressing timely issues, diverse book recommendations, & reading ideas.

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4 thoughts on “Mystery Of The Naga At Night ~ Author Lisa Travis , Illustrator Adam Turner

  1. Harshita has presented extremely nicely worded review of the book that describes curiosity as the vital trait amongst the children. Apart from this she has also described the flavor of Thailand presented in the book. This has enhanced the quality of review.
    Dr S.K.Nanda

    Liked by 1 person

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