Newbery Medalist Erin Entrada Kelly (Hello Universe; Lalani of the Distant Sea) tells a compassionate, uplifting story of a very creative girl who is afraid of taking risks in Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey.
Eight-year-old Marisol Rainey lives in Getty, La., with her 12-year-old brother, Oz, her mother and sometimes her dad, who mostly lives and works on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. She has a huge imagination and loves naming the inanimate objects around her home: Buster Keaton the refrigerator, Betty Bigmouth the sofa and Peppina the large magnolia tree in the backyard. Everyone seems to think Peppina is "the best tree ever" and is perfect for climbing. That is, everyone except Marisol, because "Peppina is very tall. And Marisol's legs are very short." Mostly, though, because "falling is one of Marisol's greatest fears." Marisol would love to climb the tree to connect with her mother, who talks about climbing kalachuchi trees when she was young in the Philippines. So, when her best friend, Jada, finds a bird's nest high up in Peppina's branches, Marisol becomes determined to perch on that branch alongside the nest.
Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey is broken up into short chapters with accessible writing for children on the younger side of middle-grade. The author's own art is featured throughout, her sweet, entertaining black-and-white illustrations adding an extra note of fun to the story. This is the perfect book for a creative, sensitive and apprehensive child who might simply need an extra push to take a chance. --Natasha Harris, freelance reviewer