Milo Imagines the World

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
Milo Imagines the World Book Poster Image
Simple words and images offer insight about stereotypes.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Stands out for positive messages.

Educational Value

Shows how a kid can manage a range of emotions understand some big ideas. helpsp kids see that people tend to stereotype others.

Positive Messages

Don't judge people by what they look like, what they wear, or their facial expressions, because you never know what their lives are really like.

Positive Role Models

Milo is thoughtful and creative. Milo's sister takes care of him, and his mom calls to read him stories.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the picture book Milo Imagines the World has beautiful depth and emotion, with an innocent child's realization that he lives in a complex world. This gentle story from Newberry Medal-winning author Matt de la Peña and Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator Christian Robinson will be familiar to some young readers who live away from their parents, and will give a new perspective to others. The message, not to judge people by what we see on the outside, resonates with gentleness.

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What's the story?

In MILO IMAGINES THE WORLD, young Milo spends a long subway ride drawing in his notebook next to his sister. He looks around at all the people in the car, and imagines what their lives are like: lonely in an apartment, living in a grand castle, going to a magnificent wedding, being followed in a store. When Milo and his sister arrive at their stop, he sees how wrong he was about one of his assumptions, which makes him reconsider everyone else.

Is it any good?

This collaboration is a triumph, with Matt de la Peña’s simple, deliberate words and complex thoughts set on colorful pages in Christian Robinson’s eye-catching style to compliment Milo's drawings. Milo Imagines the World takes readers on the subway with Milo and his sister, and into the imagination of a child trying to understand the world around him. The moments when Milo realizes that his first impression might not be right, then re-imagines people's lives, is a powerful reminder about what we lose when we stereotype others.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Milo and his sister felt on the train every week in Milo Imagines the World. Why do you think he spent his time drawing? What kinds of things do you do when you're feeling the same way?

  • How do you react when you find out a person isn't the way you thought they would be?

  • What do you think people see when they look at you? Do you think people are surprised by you sometimes?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love picture books

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