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!

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