What Zola Did on Monday by Melina Marchetta
What Zola Did on Monday is a beautiful, heartwarming story for beginner readers. Bright, determined Zola lives together with her mother and her nonna, and just over the fence from her cousin Alessandro. Nonna maintains the home’s thriving garden, but Zola cannot see what is so great about it – that is, until a neglected community patch, some special seeds, and an accident involving two lovable dogs deepens her understanding.
This is the first children’s book from Melina Marchetta and it is an assured offering. Marchetta’s warm storytelling style really shines for this age group. Her text is simple but engaging, and nicely paired with endearing illustrations from newcomer Deb Hudson. I also love how this book gently promotes environmental themes, from the way Nonna uses shower water on her capsicums, to a brief DIY section showing kids how to grow their own tomatoes. Plus, What Zola Did on Monday is the first book in a seven-part series (each named for a day of the week), which means kids will be able to read along with Zola’s adventures as they get more and more comfortable reading independently. For ages 5+.