Trusting True North

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Pub Date 05 Apr 2022 | Archive Date 19 Apr 2022

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True North Vincent feels lost and uneasy after the fear of a virus closes the border, meaning her mom can’t return home from Canada. With her father working long hours as a nurse helping people who are sick with the virus, she’s left at home with her grandma, who doesn’t have the energy to keep up with True’s adventures, or her older sister, always focused on her phone, or Georgie, her younger brother, whose severe asthma makes him more vulnerable to the virus. True is lonely and sometimes gets angry because she feels forgotten and unheard. True’s mom tries to talk to her by phone, but True refuses; she just wants her mom home in-person, not just her voice.

True finds escape and comfort in working on her maps, a skill she learned from her mother who is a cartographer. Not only does it fulfill her remote learning class assignment, but it helps to pass the time in isolation. She also creates an elaborate treasure map for Georgie that spans the entire thick forest beyond her backyard. While exploring, True finds the new kid, Kyler, playing tenderly with a litter of newborn kittens in an old barn.

Kyler knocked out Dakota Sullivan’s tooth during a fight and has a reputation of being a bully, so True waits until he’s gone before approaching the kittens. The smallest kitten, the runt of the litter, looks sickly and has been abandoned by the mama cat. True names her Teacup; she knows exactly how it feels to not have a mom around when you need her most.

As Teacup’s health worsens, True attempts to nurse the cat back to health by herself. Just when True thinks she and Kyler could be friends over their concern for Teacup, he starts acting strange and doesn’t return her calls. To make matters worse, True’s dad gets sick and must stay at the hospital, and then Georgie gets lost in the forest, and then their elderly neighbor gets the virus. True feels even more scared and alone. Running out of her own fixes and remedies, True reaches out and realizes that her family does care about her and wants to offer support and guidance to help her find her way through the unexpected challenges the virus and life bring.

True North Vincent feels lost and uneasy after the fear of a virus closes the border, meaning her mom can’t return home from Canada. With her father working long hours as a nurse helping people who...

Advance Praise

"A heartfelt and touching middle-grade book, where map-making serves as a wonderful metaphor for navigating relationships with family, friends, and community during the traumatizing start of the pandemic. Readers will love True and her X-marks-the-spot heart!”

—Lee Edward Födi, author of Spell Sweeper

"A heartfelt and touching middle-grade book, where map-making serves as a wonderful metaphor for navigating relationships with family, friends, and community during the traumatizing start of the...

Available Editions

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ISBN 9781629729916
PRICE $16.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 42 members

Featured Reviews

TRUSTING TRUE NORTH by GINA LINKO is a fascinating children’s story that shows the effects of the pandemic and lockdown on a family, and particularly on True North Vincent, who feels responsible for everyone, feeling abandoned by her mother and older sister Rosie, while she looks after her little brother Georgie. She is overwhelmed by her feelings and worries. She does not take discipline well and is always getting into trouble from Grandma Jo.
Her mother is a cartographer and True makes a couple of treasure maps to entertain Georgie.
Then, when she is in quarantine in the basement, she talks to her mother about her latest unfinished map, which is really the map of her life.
It is a great read as we follow True’s adventures and the people she meets.
I was given a free copy of the book by NetGalley from Shadow Mountain Publishing. The opinions in this review are completely my own.

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Speaking from the perspective of an older sibling, this book gripped my heart. I felt along with True as she desperately tries to bring her little brother's spirits up when their mother is unable to come back home due to the border closing from the virus. She puts his feelings before her own and is only able process her emotions through anger and drawing her map. This is the first book I have read set in the pandemic. It talks about friendship through the screen, the boredom of being stuck inside, and ultimately, teaches us to appreciate what we have and learn when to ask for help.

Building maps is a wonderful way to introduce children to worldbuilding and wanderlust. I loved the tidbits that teach us how to make a map with your own quirk in it.

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True North is tired of the lockdown and elearning. Mom has to stay in Canada because the borders are closed due to the virus. When walking, True and her brother Georgie find a barn and discover kittens and an old metal detector, and they see a boy from school. Does someone own the kittens and metal detector? True makes a map for Georgie so he can use the metal detector that she took. When they go back to the barn to see the kittens, Old Man Parker shows up. Now what?

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Trusting True North is an exciting and amazing children's story, that teaches us about the effect of the pandemic on a young person dealing with loneliness and a need for her mothers company. The characters in the story are brilliant, with great personalities and quirks, making each one memorable. For a child, this book is extremely impactful and deals with a range of emotions- while also keeping every reader grasped during the adventurous stage in the story. I recommend this book for any older child who is struggling during the pandemic and anyone who feels different.

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True’s mom is a cartographer who gets stuck in Canada when the pandemic strikes. She is unable to cross the border to return home to her family. True is the middle child who needs her mom and resents her absence. Her dad is a nurse and isolates himself in the basement whenever he can come home. Her grandma is mostly in charge and has a hard time understanding True. Compass is her older sister who has drifted away from their formerly close relationship. True takes responsibility for her younger brother Georgie who has asthma and at most risk should he get the virus. True entertains herself and Georgie with map making and treasure hunts, while trying to deal with her anger and resentment. When they find kittens in an old barn on one of their treasure hunts, True also finds Kyler, a new boy from her school who already has been painted as a bully.

This is a wonderful story of a girl who is doing her best and struggling to deal with her emotions. So much in her life is outside her control. As True makes her way through her life as it has become, there is so much that middle grade readers will relate to. This is a must have for my middle school library.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read this arc in exchange for an honest review.

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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the e-ARC of this middle grade novel.

This book was a good story about inner strength and friendship. Set at the beginning of the pandemic, it may still be a little too soon for some readers, but overall, I think many kids can relate to True. She's a strong and sympathetic protagonist.

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First off this book is set in 2020 the uncertain beginning of the pandemic. I'd say it's pretty important to mention it as it may trigger some and I personally wasn't that aware of it. The virus is pretty much a main part of the book so if you're too anxious and sensitive to that, don't read it. This is the first 2020 pandemic book I read.
The cover is very GORGEOUS though... You may be aware of my thing for book covers, especially MG ones... Lol
True North is a fifth Grader that is struggling with anxiety in the pandemic. Her mom can't come home as the country borders got closed as she was for work travel as a cartographist. Her dad works as a nurse and sees the pandemic first hand. let me just express my gratitude to the doctors at the pa remix, they were heroes!
True and her little brother George like to go out and play, but they're not allowed to meet their friends as of course... The pandemic.
They have an online school that they don't enjoy, duh.
True likes to make maps like her mom and they want to go exploring this barn. They meet this big kid Kyle and they become friends. There are some cats too, but one sadly dies.
Worrying and talking to adults, respecting the social distancing rules is a pretty major part of the story. True as well as her old sister Compass Rose kind of close to themselves and when it became too much it just exploded. I think this book has very important lessons, especially for us covid people. I believe this book can become pretty important to younger generations to learn the situation of our pandemic, our dears, and uncertainties, missing family members as we were quarantined. I am so glad the situation is much under control now, we go to physical school and we can see our loved ones!!!
Also, let me just say that I cried at some parts especially True's uneasy feelings and wanting to care for everyone!!!

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This book was sweet and heartwarming and I loved the way that the plot progressed. True is a great character and so is her brother. This book is so sweet and I enjoyed it a lot!

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Keeping family, friendship and hope high, this is actually a quicker read, which packs emotion but doesn't bog down.

True's world has turned upside down. The pandemic has set in right when her mother has traveled to Canada, and now, thanks to the closed borders, can't get home. Her father is working overtime, caring for those as he can, which leaves True under the care of her grandmother with her siblings. While trying to find her place in all of this, she discovers a kitten who needs care. But despite all of her efforts, things seem to get rougher, and soon, she's not sure how to handle everything.

This is a read, which looks at difficulties caused by the pandemic, building in family situations, emotions, and heart. True is an intelligent and caring girl, who does her best to 'fix' things as her family is thrown into uncertainty. Especially those who lived under similar circumstances will find familiarity in the situation. But even those who weren't facing quite as much insecurity will connect with her, since this is as much a tale about family and relationships. Her care for those around her and the kitten make her easy to root for.

At around 175 pages, it's kept fairly short, and that's great. This is a serious read, which hits the heart and revolves around relationships within the family, neighbors and friends. Keeping it from growing too long allows more hesitant readers a bit more breathing space, especially since it's a fairly simple plot and an easy read. So, kudos on that end.

I believe that this one will have more impact in a few more years as some families still aren't out and about in normality, yet. But it's well written, has characters who are easy to sympathize with, and flows along nicely. So, I can recommend this one to those interested in the theme. I received an ARC through Netgalley.

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#TrustingTrueNorth #NetGalley

A children's story, set in 2020 during the pandemic. True North, is a fifth grader and misses seeing her friends. She also misses her mom, who hasn't been able to come home, because of the pandemic. True likes to draw maps and send her brother George out looking for treasures. True, also finds an unexpected friend, in someone she originally thought was unkind. I loved how close knit the North. Children were in the story. The pandemic is a tough subject matter for middle readers, but each one has felt the effects of not being able to live life the way it was before. I love the gorgeous cover.

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This was a really sweet middle grade book that I felt did an excellent job portraying a plucky 5th grade girl's experience of the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a fun read - there were adventures, mapmaking, and treasure hunts. There were also some big emotion topics, like illness, bullying, death, sibling relationships, and loneliness. Lots of good life lessons wrapped up in a very readable story, I think my 3rd grader will love it.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC, in exchange for my honest review.

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When True's mom gets trapped in Manitoba due to lockdown True becomes furious and refuses under any circumstances to speak to her but that is the least of her troubles, in order to avoid bringing the virus into her household True and her little brother Georgie are banned from exploring the barn close to their home. One day whilst returning the metal detector True used to create a treasure map for Georgie the duo discover a litter of kittens. When leaving, True notices a shadow and starts to get nervous, as she recognizes the boy as Kyler Grier, ever since he knocked out Dakota Sullivan's tooth in school she hasn't been willing to talk to him, but when True's fears grow for one of the kittens, Kyler tries to help and soon the two become good friends.

Even though there were a few errors here and there like the gender of one of the kittens being specified as female but then labeled as 'him' in the dialogue. Later Miss Delrose is spelt incorrectly and there are some mistakes in chapter twelve which felt disjointed. I hope these edits get changed ahead of publication but overall Trusting True North is a quick, fast and moving read, perfect for middle grade readers. 100% recommend.

#NetGalley #TrustingTrueNorth

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This was a sweet and important children's book. I loved the emphasis on cartography - I've never seen a middle-grade book with the MC interested in it before! Overall a good read.

Thank you to NetGalley for this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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This one was an instant buy for my library. I devoured to galley and knew we needed it. This story is so important for the times we are in. Having books kids can relate to is so important, and I hope kids find some sort of relatable feeling with these characters.

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This was a lovely middle-grade novel about what the pandemic has been like for children in this age group. Although our main character is eleven, I think this book would also be appropriate for children that are a bit younger than her.

What I liked:
- The book is only as long as it needs to be. No fluff, and every scene brought the plot forward.
- Our MC liked to draw maps. What a cool and original hobby to make her really stand out. I loved her musings about how anything can measure anything too!
- I loved True's relationship with Kyler. He was such an interesting character and I really have a soft spot for him.

Things that could have been improved upon:
- The side characters. I felt like almost all the side characters lacked depth and weren't really explored. I know I just said the book is short and I do like that, but I wish we got to spend a little more time with dad and grandma.
- the pandemic is never mentioned by name. We have masks, standing six feet apart, people having trouble breathing, characters losing their sense of smell.. but they just call it 'the virus'. In my first language we have a saying: call the beast by its name. I wish the author chose to do that here.

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This is a great Middle Grade reader that touches on coping with Covid-19 and that stress as well as navigating friendships and emotions surrounding this tough time. I think older elementary/younger middle school is the right audience for this one. It might still be too hard for my 9-year old to read and emotionally understand. True has been raised to love maps. She loves to study, create, and use all kinds of maps. She uses a lot of her time to make scavenger hunts for her little brother when not doing online school. It's a great release of pressure for her- especially as her mom has been stranded outside the country. There are some heavier themes for little ones like animal death, health scares with Covid, and parents missing. Certainly keep these in mind when recommending, but I thought it was well done.

Thanks to NetGalley and Shadow Mountain for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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I adore unique fiction, and this is such an interesting premise. I recommend because of the story itself, writing style, and its ability to transport you into a different world.

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I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This book is well written and the characters are described well. I absolutely adored this middle grade book. This book is set during covid-19 in Minnesota mentioning Canada. The writing style sucks you into the world from the first page. I absolutely adored Georgie and True’s characters in this book. I absolutely can't wait to read more books by this author in the near future. I absolutely highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. This book will be in stores on April 5, for $16.99 (USD).

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My students said we need books about the pandemic, so this is one I’ll definitely buy for my classroom. True North Vincent is struggling with many emotions during the pandemic. Due to the travel ban, she is separated from her mother. Her father works endless hours as a nurse, so she and her siblings are home doing their best at elearning and entertaining themselves. Their grandmother, with whom they live, is a cancer survivor, and her little brother has asthma, which makes them extra cautious.
True’s talent for drawing elaborate maps helps keep her and her younger brother occupied. She also befriends some barn cats and a boy from school named Kyler. She takes risks to help him. I liked how the characters become closer with each other.

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Thank you to Shadow Mountain Books and NetGalley for this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
This story takes place during the COVID-19 lockdown although never mentioned by name – just called “the virus.” Fifth grader True North Vincent spends her days doing e-learning, taking care of the chickens, and spending time with her younger brother, Georgie. Her cartographer mother got stuck on a job in Canada and can’t come home just yet and her father is a nurse at the local hospital working very long hours so Grandma Jo tending to the kids. True draws maps to help relieve her anxiety and keep Georgie occupied with treasure hunts. One day one of the treasure hunts leads True and Georgie to an old barn where they find newborn kittens. Kyler, another fifth-grader from her school, has been taking care of the kittens but doesn’t really have someone taking care of him during this stressful time.
This is a poignant middle grade story about the pandemic as seen through the eyes of a child. True’s choices aren’t always thought through with everyone’s safety in mind but her heart is in the right place. It is a relatively short book for middle grade but it didn’t need anything else. I would definitely recommend for grades 3 and up.
#TrustingTrueNorth #NetGalley

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True North is a great girl with a lot of heavy worries. As her world seems to fall apart as her family continues to servive the shut down from Covid 19, True tries her hardest to take care of the family. If only she could realize that as a fifth grader, she doesn't have to carry the weight of the world.

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A young adult viewpoint of COVID and its effects on her small world, along with how she sits and grows in a very short time frame. It was a good read, but I feel like it could have had a little more detail and personal growth.

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This is a great story for younger readers, especially those who enjoy realistic fiction that speaks to their experiences. It is short and readable with relatable characters. True is a young 5th-grade girl who is dealing with a lot in her life. First, there is a viral pandemic going around with schools being shut down. And with family circumstances also being difficult, True is feeling alone but with greater responsible for looking after a younger brother. This is her story of finding her way through these trying circumstances. She learns more about herself along the way and how to communicate and connect with her family when things change.

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Not a long read but filled with emotions as True navigates through Covid pandemic, mostly taking all the worries and problems on herself to a point she is sleepless and ill. She is struggling with isolation and her mother being quarantined in Canada. Her father is a nurse, staying in the basement away from the 3 children. Her Grandma is there but to True she seems to restrictive. Her hobby is drawing my maps which keeps her and her little brother busy. When she finally share with mom, she sees that she has mapped out her current life.

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Kyler studied the map closely. Then, finally, he looked at Georgie. “You made this?”
“No, no. I wish! True did. Our mom makes maps for real. True’s name is a map word. You know, ‘true north?”
“That’s your name—True North?” Kyler asked me.
“Yep. It means, like, a fixed point, something that always stays true, even in a spinning world,” I explained. I was babbling because Kyler was studying my map. Hard.

True’s Mom is stuck in Canada when the border is closed due to the virus. She struggles when all she wants her Mum to return home. She is concerned about her younger brother, Georgie, who has asthma and is more susceptible to the virus, and she wants her older sister Rose to see her like she used to, and not be glued to her phone and texting her friends.

This is the first book that I’ve read that mentions the ‘virus’ and speaks about a lockdown. Granted, I would normally not choose to read a book about the virus but it becomes a little more involved in the plot than I would’ve preferred.

While trying to keep Georgie entertained and using one of her created and elaborate maps they venture past their backyard and find kittens in an abandoned barn, and to True’s surprise, Kyler Grier is there (from school) also wants to help these kittens.

I liked True’s take-charge manner, her care towards her younger brother, Georgie. He obviously looks up to True and it showed through Her loyalty towards her family and friends is admirable. She isn’t speaking to her Mom but her map making, her Mom is a cartographer, which shows she hasn’t forgotten her but is trying to work through her emotions towards the whole situation. 3.5 stars

My gratitude to Shadow Mountain and Netgalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

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This book was really cute! I really enjoyed watching True's ARC and seeing how her relationships evolved. I thought it was a little too fast paced, but I think that will work more for the intended audience.

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Here’s a fast read for those who want a glimpse at a fictional story of a young girl, True, during the early days of the Covid pandemic. Although it’s never mentioned specifically by name, those of us who have lived through it know what virus the author is talking about. Although it’s been 2 years since the beginning of the first lock down, it brought back a lot of memories for me. This might be a trigger for some, so know your boundaries before picking up this book. There were parts everyone could relate to. The homework assignments of the e learning, the families separated, medical professionals being swamped, being scared of the unknown, it’s all raw and well written for the age level of middle schoolers. Maybe some people aren’t ready to relive this time, especially because we aren’t out of it, but when the time is there, I think it’s a good fictional story that kids will be able to read and get a glimpse of life during a difficult time when the whole world was affected.

Small things I loved. The beginning has the cutest little map. I love True’s hobby, being a cartographer, and living up to her name. There’s a point where she talks about her name and how she stands strong in a spinning world. Children are resilient and should be looked to more often. We don’t need to put the weight of the world on them, but they’re able to be a steady point even when chaos is around them. I think True is a beautiful example and a heroine that other middle schoolers can look to. Last part, I loved the map at the end and her discussion with her mother. You’ll see what I mean once you read it, but I think that Linko captured a beautiful conversation between a mother and her daughter that needed her.

One day this will be considered historical fiction and I think it’ll be a great example to a younger crowd of what we went through.

Thank you netgalley and Shadow mountain for this arc! All thoughts are my own.

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I received an eARC (Advance Reader Copy) of Trusting True North by NetGalley to review it. I thank the publisher, the author, and NetGalley for trusting me with reviewing this book like True North Vincent.

Disclaimer: This review is completely frank and contains frank opinions about the book. I didn’t give this book 5 stars because I received an ARC and had to review it. This book truly deserves 5 stars.

My thoughts:
What a heartfelt read! Trusting True North is an authentic middle grade at its best. I loved the family and friendships as well as the hard truth of living through a pandemic and all the emotions, concerns, and hardships that it brings. This author does not shy away from difficult topics such as death, sickness, separations from family and friends, and bullying. I highly recommend this contemporary novel that tugged at my heart on every page.
Why did this book have to end? I love True so much. This book gave me Craig the creek (the Cartoon Network show) vibes. I literally love this book. The world-building was superb. Also, pish posh and oh figs are really cool words.

The plot was amazing. The book was concise. It didn’t spend too much time telling useless descriptions and dialogue. It also wasn’t rushed. It was the first book I read which was set during the Covid-19 pandemic. I absolutely love the writing style. It expresses True’s emotions and hard feelings well. I love these kinds of writing styles. Keeping family, friendship, and hope high, this is actually a quicker read, which packs emotion but doesn’t bog down. The illustrations were fabulous! I also learned the word Cartography from it! Phenomenal book with real-life themes!

The map at the start of this book was so cool. I absolutely love the Impossible map True made at the end! The ending was the best. The Slanted barn was my favorite location in the entire book. The little kittens in this book have my whole heart. The world-building especially gave Craig the creek vibes (I do realize I am mentioning this a billion times). The tree descriptions in the very first scene of the book were my favorite. I love books set in neighborhoods where there are so many trees just like in my neighborhood (though it isn’t like a forest). Though there were almost no scenes taking place in Darling Creek, Weeping Willow, Trestle Bridge, and the Scrub, I love these locations!

The characters were compelling! Along with True North, there were many characters! Here are some of them!

True North: I love this sassy girl. But she always isn’t sassy. There are bad times when she feels like she’s breaking. I love her passion for mapmaking. I don’t think I have read about a mapmaker character till now. True deals with a lot of relatable stuff, from feeling lost to not being trusted. Pretty much every tween can relate to her.
Kyler: Kyler has my whole heart. I understand his situation better than anybody. All these misconceptions that bullies start, makes me want to punch them. No, seriously. I mean it. Also, Kyrue is the best! Hehe. His care for the little kittens shows his charming nature!
Georgie: I love him. His relationship with his sister is so affectionate. I love when he acts like a pirate lol.
The little kittens: Teacup is so cute. I love the other kittens and their mama is pretty protective of them lmao.
Other side characters were cool too though Tamsin isn’t my favorite at all. Sorry but it’s been more than a week since I read Trusting True North and since it was a digital copy, I couldn’t mesmerize many things. I don’t like reading digitally that much, you see.

Final thoughts:
This book is brilliant and you should read it. I am telling you all, it’s the best family-themed-set-in-the-covid-19-pandemic book! The main characters are extremely lovable. Again, I am incredibly thankful to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for providing me with the eARC! Even though it’s unlikely, I hope the author considers a sequel! Spotlight on the cover of the book! It’s so gorgeous! These kinds of books always stay in my heart. True’s become one of my comfort characters.

Thank you for investing your time in reading this review. Here’s a slice of pizza for you! 🍕

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This is a book for kids that indirectly addresses the challenges and fears all of us have faced during the covid pandemic. Things like lockdown, online school, social distancing, masks over nose and mouth, and a dangerous virus. The pandemic hits close to home for the Vincent family. Dad works night shift at the ER. Mom is a mapmaker and ends up stuck in Canada when the border closed. Other people they know well are hospitalized.

True North Vincent is a 5th grade girl in Spooner, Minnesota who likes to make maps. She spends most of her time with her 6-year-old brother Georgie since her parents won’t let her be near people outside their family for fear of catching the virus. Their older sister Rosie, short for Compass Rose, is in high school and would rather spend time on her phone than with them. Grandma Jo lives with the family and has to talk with the aid of a special device due to cancer.

True and Georgie like to explore the Scrub, a forest behind their house, even though they have been told many times not to go there. I didn’t like that they disobey their parents and put themselves in danger exploring an old, abandoned barn. While there they make a new friend and experience grief and loss. Through this experience True learns not to wait when someone needs help.

Thanks to Shadow Mountain Publishing for an ARC to use for my review.

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Fifth grader True North Vincent is struggling to make sense of the world during the pandemic. She misses her mapmaker mom who is stuck in Canada, unable to cross the border to return home to the family. Her father is a nurse working long hours in the hospital caring for others. True remains locked down at home with her older sister Rosie and younger brother Georgie under the care of her grandmother, who is recovering from cancer. The isolation is a challenge for True and she turns to mapmaking as an escape. She creates intricate maps for Georgie to follow. While out on a treasure hunt using one of the maps, they come across some newborn kittens in a barn and have a surprise encounter with Kyler, a boy from True’s school. True had believed that Kyler was a bully, but after watching him interact with the kittens over time, she reconsiders her views about him. She defies her grandmother, returning to the barn to try to assist the runt of the litter and is devastated when she is unable to save the kitten. When she realizes Kyler has fallen ill, she again finds herself in a difficult situation and will need to decide how to best help someone she cares for.
True’s empathy shines through across the book and shapes her character and her responses to events. While she does not always make the most responsible choices, readers can understand her perspective and reasoning. I liked how the author wove maps throughout the book in a meaningful way. They play a significant role in the book, from True’s name to her mother’s profession to their use as a tool for True to work through her anxiety and concerns and to process the world around her. While serious in its themes, this is a great read for middle grade students interested in reading about others’ pandemic experiences or reflecting on relationships with families and friends.

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This book told an authentic story of how the pandemic (and especially lockdowns) affected kids. True understands that COVID is serious and she realizes she needs to be careful because both her grandmother (who has recently had cancer) and her little brother (who has asthma). But understanding these things on the surface doesn't take away the confusion and loneliness that she feels when school is online, her dad has to work long hours, and her mom can't come home. She feels incredibly conflicted, wanting to do the right thing but also struggling with sadness about the situation and a general sense of stir-craziness. Because of this, True takes risks she knows she probably shouldn't. I have to say that there were a few times I was kind of horrified at here actions (especially toward the end of the book), but the whole point is that she is a kid and she makes wrong decisions sometimes. And she does learn from her mistakes. I think the main takeaway from this story is that the pandemic has been hard on people, especially kids, and no one knows how to handle it perfectly, especially kids.

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True North Vincent is unhappy that her mom is not coming home due to the virus that has lockdown the world. Her dad is busy working at the hospital. He works long hours so True doesn’t see him much. She doesn’t understand why her sister is always on the phone. Grandma is too old to keep up with her little brother Georgie so True ends up watching him. They sneak out into the forest behind their home to go on a walk. They end up in an old barn where Georgie sees a metal detector. He begs True to take it home so he can look for hidden treasure. True gives in and they go back to get it. Hearing a noise in the barn’s loft, Georgie climbs the ladder and discovers kittens mewing. The mother cat comes back but is limping and won’t go near True or Georgie. Kyle a classmate from school appears on the barn loft as he is bringing food to the mother cat. True and he on another day clean and disinfect the would that has been causing the mother cat to limp. Kyle finds out that True draws maps just like her mother does. Kyle is impressed with True’s maps. When Georgie gets sick, True is devastated. Will Georgie get well? The father has to stay at the hospital because he has the virus. True feels abandoned. What will she do?

There is much more to the novel. The author has written a book that appears at an appropriate time. We have COVID which has locked down the United States and the rest of the world. Being confined and not being able to see others is difficult. The novel explores family relationships. It also shows how one can’t judge a person by how they act when someone is being bullied by others. It’s an excellent novel.

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Trusting True North is such a heartwarming middle-grade story about kids in a pandemic. We really can see all the stress and worries to face the pandemic from kid's POV.

It tells a story about True North Vincent (True) who’s struggling with the pandemic before vaccines. There are lockdowns everywhere, they do e-learning instead of go to school, they can’t go outside or even meet a friend. True’s condition is getting worse because her Mom can’t go home even after two weeks of quarantine because the border closed. She’s also become a temporary mom for her little brother, Georgie. So, to keep Georgie entertained, they often go explore the Scrub and barn near their house, and she makes a map for Georgie to play treasure hunt.

I love almost everything about this book. True with her hobby to make a map (and the fact that the mapmaking talent passed down from her mom, which was also done by Rosie, her sister, then she also taught Georgie). I also love to read True’s guide to make a map that she submitted as a school assignment. It’s super fun!

All the characters are also so lovable. I love Kyler the most, he’s the ‘enormous’ kid who is feared at school after an incident that makes him look like a bully when he actually a nice kid and kind of lonely. I love the relationship between characters, like with True and her big sister, Rosie. So, how many ‘I love’ I mentioned now? Haha. The last one, I promise. I love the final map True made in the end, it was called impossible map but in fact it was not a map in the literal sense, it has deeper meaning. A map about her heart.

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Lovely themes of family, true friendship, and navigating a path in a topsy-turvy world. A great read for any reader who loves maps and navigating them.

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With a bunch of novels that use COVID-19 pandemic as a plot device this one is a good one. I felt for the loneliness of True who is unable to see first her mother and then her father when he gets sick. This gives young readers a good view and vocabulary for dealing with the challenges the last two years have brought. There is a little bit of a survival twist when True's brother Georgie is lost in the woods. I also felt the frustration, lack of knowledge, and real life struggles that no one talk about when students were home for months. Highly recommend for middle grade readers.

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This is the first book that I’ve read that mentions the ‘virus’ and speaks about a lockdown. Granted, I would normally not choose to read a book about the virus but it becomes a little more involved in the plot than I would’ve preferred.
I liked True’s take-charge manner, her care towards her younger brother, Georgie. He obviously looks up to True and it showed through Her loyalty towards her family and friends is admirable. She isn’t speaking to her Mom but her map making, her Mom is a cartographer, which shows she hasn’t forgotten her but is trying to work through her emotions towards the whole situation.
There will be readers who may want a bit more distance from the pandemic before they pick up books that remind them of the many trials they have been through but when they are ready this is an endearing story of a young girl trying to navigate her way through the many changes that she has had to endure, from e-school to masks to missing her mom who is stuck in Canada until the borders open.

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This was a sweet story trying to show the impacts of the quarantines we all faced in 2020. True is a 5th grader, stuck at home with her family while her mother is out of the country. And as we all felt, feeling trapped and ready to move on. Her compassionate heart tends to rule her actions and she makes some decisions that aren't stellar. But, as with all things in life, lessons learned can be hard, and hers would be part of her defining character.

She is a fun character, loving and smart. I love the mapmaking part of this book, and can see it used in a classroom to help with mapping things.

I enjoyed this book and feel it would be great in the hands of my upper elementary students.

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