The Adventure is Now - Jess Redman

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A fun-filled, action-packed middle grade novel about a boy who learns about protecting the environment, finding real friends, and living in the now while spending the summer on a remote island.

Sometimes it's hard to be Milton P. Greene. He says all the wrong things, his family is falling apart, and everyone at school avoids him because of the very embarrassing Bird Brain Incident. But when Milton plays his video game Isle of Wild, he becomes someone else―Sea Hawk, the brave and brilliant naturalist explorer who conquers danger at every turn.
Then Milton’s parents ship him off to the remote Lone Island for the summer, where his uncle Evan is an environmentalist researcher. The island is chock-full of spectaculous species, and Milton realizes this is his chance to become the brave and brilliant naturalist he’s always wanted to be―and even meet some fellow explorers!

But as it turns out, the future of the Lone Island is in some pretty serious peril, and the only thing that can save it is a field guide full of cryptic clues. If Milton and his unexpected new friends are going to protect the island, they’ll have to trust each other, discover new truths, and embark on a wild and wondrous adventure all their own.

The Adventure is Now is a dazzling, fun-filled story from Jess Redman.


“A Roald Dahl-esque delight.” ―Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“Redman (Quintessence) renders compassionate characters in Milton and crew, placing an emphasis on honesty and emotional directness that makes for an affirming adventure.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Magic blooms as thick as Truth-Will-Out Vine on every page of this story. I adore Milton P. Greene, his wild adventure, his magical island, and his brave, daring heart.” ―Natalie Lloyd, New York Times–bestselling author of A Snicker of Magic and The Problim Children series

“Vividly imagined and full of heart, The Adventure is Now is a delight! This story is just right for our current times, when we’re all yearning for a ‘spectaculous’ adventure.”―Gillian McDunn, author of Caterpillar Summer and These Unlucky Stars

I knew from the beginning that Milton P. Greene was going to be a character, both literally and figuratively. Milton had struggled significantly with this year as his parents divorce was finalizing, his best friend abandoned him, and his realization that he was alone, well except for his game Isle of Wild. After a forced trip to his Uncle’s for the summer on a remote island, Milton starts to discover a lot more than just nature. More of himself, what he labels a RESTART. 

 I love how this book is full of science. It is so important for those students who love science to see themselves in things they read. Nature is huge, and Jess does a great job hitting a love of nature without making you feel like an outsider for enjoying time spent outdoors exploring. (A past time I enjoyed as a kid that I feel is far too avoided anymore). I am also a huge fan of short chapters for middle grade books. My mind just believes that I’m reading so much more and so much faster - even though it’s not the case, but I love how short the chapters are throughout the entire book. 

Themes/topics: Nature, science, friendships/relationships, divorce, character development, emotional understanding. There are great vocabulary lessons engrained in the story and wordplay! 

Click here to download the teachers guide!

Jess Redman is a former therapist and author of books for young readers with FSG/Macmillan. Her debut, The Miraculous, was a Bank Street Best Children's Book of 2019, an Amazon Best Book of 2019, and was called "layered, engaging, and emotionally true" in a Kirkus starred review. Her second book, Quintessence, was an NCTE 2021 Charlotte Huck Award Honor Book and was described as “a fanciful adventure with a rich emotional core and a fairy tale” by Publishers Weekly. Her third book, The Adventure Is Now, has been called a “Roald Dahl-esque delight” by BCCB and comes out on May 4, 2021. Redman currently lives in Florida with her husband, two young children, an old cat named SoulPie, and a fish named Annie. Visit her at or on Twitter and Instagram at @Jess__Red.








Q: Welcome to TWR! We are so excited to share about your upcoming release,

The Adventure is Now, with our students! Can you start by telling us a little bit about

your writing process for this new title? 

A: Thank you for having me! I’m so glad to be on Teachers Who Read to share

about THE ADVENTURE IS NOW and about some of the things I’m doing to

launch this story, including making my virtual author visit site free for the rest

of the school year! The site includes my classroom presentation, teaching guides,

book trailers, read alouds, and more, and I hope educators and students will check

it out at:


As for my writing process—this book has been quite the journey! I actually

drafted it seven years ago. At the time, I called it SEA HAWK ON THE LONE

ISLAND. Since then, I’ve rewritten and revised and edited it from top to bottom,

and, of course, given it a new title.

Q: Tell us a little about your upcoming book.

A: THE ADVENTURE IS NOW is a fast-paced, fun-filled story about Milton P. Greene,

a boy who’s been having the Most Totally, Terribly, Horribly, Heinously Rotten Year of

All Time. The only thing Milton really enjoys these days is playing his video game, Isle

of Wild.


Things take a turn for the spectaculous when Milton goes to spend the summer with

his ecologist uncle on a remote, electricity-free island. On the island, Milton finds a

field guide full of fantastical plants and animals, plus a series of clues that will lead

to a hidden treasure. The book includes an illustrated version of this field guide and

clues so that readers can follow along with Milton on his wild and wondrous adventure.

Check out the book trailer here:

Q: Did any of your own life experiences become a muse for The Adventure is Now? 

A: THE ADVENTURE IS NOW takes place on a tropical island in the smack dab

center of the Atlantic. I don’t live on an island, but I do live in a tropical climate down

in Florida, so I drew a lot of inspiration from my surroundings. I enjoy hiking,

canoeing, and bird watching, just like Milton. And our family is also involved with

local environmental organizations, and this story is about protecting our earth, getting

outside, and living in the now.

Q; What makes this book a perfect fit for middle grade classrooms? 

A: I think we’re all in the mood for an adventure right about now, and this book is

full of them! I’ve done a lot of school visits this year and every class has been super

excited to see the Nintendo Switch-like video game device on the cover, and by the

fact that the story has an illustrated field guide and clues to solve. The story has short

chapters that will pull readers along and lots of humor.


This is also a story that can be used across the curriculum as it includes topics like

ecosystems, food chains, classifying plants and animals, and other environmental

issues that I know are commonly taught during these grades. My teaching guide has

suggested questions and activities to help students make these connections.


Finally, the story explores issues like making true friends, bullying, anxiety, and

resilience, but in a light, engaging way. As a therapist, I’ve spoken to classes about

some of the social and emotional issues that have come up during this year, and I

know THE ADVENTURE IS NOW will serve as a good jumping off point for positive

classroom conversations.

Q; What are some challenges you faced during your writing process? 

A: Writing during the pandemic has been challenging. My kids were doing virtual

school during my rounds of edits, so I spent many late nights working. Still, I’m

glad it was this story I was working on at this time—a story about moving through

rottenness and toward the spectaculous!

Q; Was there anything different about writing The Adventure is Now versus

Miraculous and Quintessence? This seemed to be a lot more upbeat versus the

seriousness that occurred in Miraculous and Quintessence. Can you tell us a little

bit about that? 

A: THE ADVENTURE IS NOW is definitely quirkier and faster-paced than

THE MIRACULOUS or QUINTESSENCE, but I like to think that it has both

humor and heart. And the reviews seem to agree! The Bulletin of the Center

for Children's Books’ review of THE ADVENTURE IS NOW called it “a Roald

Dahl-esque delight.” Publishers Weekly, meanwhile, said it “renders compassionate

characters…placing an emphasis on honesty and emotional directness that makes

for an affirming adventure.”

Q; What is the biggest takeaway you want kids to get from your story and

future stories (Any WIPs currently?)? 

A: I hope THE ADVENTURE IS NOW inspires kids to get outside, seek out

adventure, and get involved in caring for our planet. I also hope it helps them

in this difficult year to find the strength and resilience they have inside them, to

strengthen their friendships, and to live in this present moment.


And I do have a story with my editor right now about surfing, environmentalism,

and eternal youth, so hopefully you’ll be hearing more from me!

Q: What’s the best thing about being a writer?

A: There are so many wonderful, rewarding parts of being a writer. I get to do

school visits with young readers and connect with amazing teachers & librarians

and see my words in print. But my favorite part of being a writer is simply writing.

I love creating characters and worlds for them to live in. I love untangling plots

and figuring out how to make words fit together just right. That’s the reason I

became a writer—I just love telling stories.

Q: What else would you like us to know? 

A: To support the launch of this book, I have some really fun virtual

events planned including free classroom visits, a Facebook Live

conversation with NYT bestseller Natalie Lloyd, and a Facebook

Live conversation with the chair of my local SurfRider organization

about books & environmentalism for kids. All the info is here:


I also have the virtual author visit site that I hope educators

and students will explore. There are lots of resources there for


and my NCTE Charlotte Huck Award Honor Book QUINTESSENCE,

which comes out in paperback on May 4th too!


Thank you so much for letting me stop by!


New Blog to Follow!!!! - Teacher Curriculum


First, let me start by saying that no one ever achieved anything alone and my blog launch simply would not be possible without the support that I’ve received from Cassie Thomas, the creator of Teachers Who Read. Since she stepped foot on our campus, my lessons, philosophy, and the reading community I share with my students has been enriched. Keep reading her stuff about books. It will be a game changer in your classroom. 

I fell in love with reading when I was nine years old after a long and winding journey of always feeling like the “slow reader.” I didn’t read my first chapter book until 4th grade, well after most of my peers. In fact, If I hadn’t read Beauty by Bill Wallace cover to cover on the afternoons on my bus rides home, I would have had a completely different path in life. I remember it like it was yesterday: being so captivated and moved by the words that nothing else around me mattered except that horse and that story. At the end, I cried. It was the epiphany of my lifetime. At the young moment in my life, I had a thought that changed everything: “I have to teach people about this powerful stuff called reading.” 

My encounter with the pen came later, when emotions bubbled inside me until they eventually erupted on the page. I wrote stories, poems, and even tried my hand at books in elementary and middle school. I never stopped despite the struggles I had compared to the other kids, and by the time I reached high school I had left everyone else in the dust. I graduated with an International Baccalaureate Diploma from Cambridge University as a senior in high school. I finished my Bachelor’s degree in three years with honors, and finally after nearly a decade of longing to be a teacher, I stepped foot in my own classroom. Now, I’ve been teaching ELAR for 2.5 years at New Braunfels Middle School in Texas. 

My long term goal is to have a career in curriculum, so I’m starting graduate school this summer. As part of the graduate portfolio, I will be launching a curriculum blog called One Stop ELA Workshop on April 23rd. The goal of the blog is simple: provide teachers with immediate click-and-go access to engaging and effective lessons that follow the best practices of our profession. Teachers across grade levels will feature their best lessons on the blog including a write up of how the lessons works, pictures of the content and students examples, and digital  (and printable) links to the resources for the lesson. 

We do not require a subscription. We just want good teaching to be present in our community to support each other and do what’s best for our students. We do accept contributions to support the classroom libraries of teachers who feature their lessons if you’re looking for a way to say thank you to the awesome educators that are making this possible. 

Check out @onestopelaworkshop on instagram or visit our blog at starting April 23rd. 


Corey Ann Haydu's Newest Series - Early Chapter Books!

MUST BUY: Early Chapter Book Series! 

Meet the best friends at 86 ½ Twenty-Third Avenue.

DEL loves LOTS of things! The Curious Cousins Secondhand Shoppe. Ginormous family dinners. And of course, her best-friend-cousin, Alma.

ALMA loves her abuelita’s tasty empanadas. Her old home by the lake. And soon, she’ll love living in the same place as her best-friend-cousin, Del.   

Yet despite having Del by her side, Alma isn’t quite sure she fits in with their family at 86 ½ Twenty-Third Avenue. It’s a new life and it’s all so different. When Del finds a special item at a neighbor’s stoop sale, she gets so excited by the magic luck it brings—but doesn’t see that it’s driving the two best friends apart. Will family, friendship, and maybe a little everyday magic be enough to make things right again? 

Brimming with adorable illustrations and short, easy-to-read chapters, this is sure to be an instant favorite for fans of Ivy and Bean and Dory Fantasmagory!

Beginning chapter book about family and friendship with a relatable emotional arc. - the alternating perspectives were easy to follow, and each character is so real. I loved that the girls were encouraged to solve their problem themselves, with some direction from adults. Readers can relate to the story, the setting, and the everyday lives. 

The best-friend-cousins at 86½ Twenty-Third Avenue are back for a party! With adorable illustrations and short, easy-to-read chapters, this second installment in the Hand-Me-Down Magic series is perfect for fans of Ivy and Bean and Dory Fantasmagory.

Alma’s birthday gift for Del was supposed to be delightful and daring—just like Del. Her present was a magical crystal ball, and it worked, too! All of Del’s predictions for her party guests were coming true. But when Alma looks into the ball to read Del’s future, she sees something frightening.

Del is certain Alma has given her a bad luck fortune and that it will spell DISASTER for her. Suddenly, Del doesn’t feel like the brave cousin anymore. Which means it’s up to Alma to help Del face her fear—and her crystal ball fortune—with her best-friend-cousin right by her side.
Terrific story for mid-elementary readers. Haydu continues to develop these characters so readers feel they are part of this family too. She addresses fears and superstitions and lets readers draw their own conclusions. Del loves the crystal ball she got for her birthday but then bad event predictions seem to come true. The cousins figure it out and conquer fears.

Perfect Patchwork Purse, Book #3 in the Hand-Me-Down Magic series (5/4/21, Katherine Tegan Books) by Corey Ann Haydu


A picture containing text, posing

Description automatically generatedFrom the critically acclaimed MG/YA author of EVENTOWN, RULES FOR STEALING CARS, EVER CURSED AND OCD LOVE STORY, the third installation to the Hand-Me-Down Magic series is perfect next read for fans of Ivy & Bean and Dory Fantasmagory. 

Children ages 4-8 (Grades PreK-3) will love following best-friend-cousins Del and Alma on their newest adventure! When Alma see’s the most perfect patchwork purse while window shopping, she can think of nothing else– it was absolutely magical. But when her friend Cassie buys the purse, Alma swallowed her disappointment and assured her it looked just right on her. Del on the other hand, took matters into her own hands to lift up her cousin– all she needs is a little bit of glue, glitter, and maybe a little magic. 


A picture containing person, outdoor, clothing

Description automatically generatedAUTHOR: 

Corey Ann Haydu is the author of EventownThe Someday Suitcase, and Rules for Stealing Stars and four acclaimed books for teens. She grew up in the Boston area, earned her MFA at the New School, and now lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her dog Oscar. Find out more at


Luisa Uribe likes drawing, reading, and chasing the cat around the house. She lives in Bogotá, Colombia, where students (like the Earth Heroes in her book Dear Earth...From Your Friends in Room 5) are helping protect the environment and our natural resources. Of her many illustration projects, her true love is picture books. Luisa was honored with the Dilys Evans Founder's Award at the Society of Illustrators Original Art Exhibit in 2018. You can find more of her wonderful art at