Recommended Ages: 4 to 10
Reading Level: Lexile Leveling: 520 | Fountas & Pinnell Level: M
Cookie & Milk tells the story of a sisterhood and friendship between two girls in a blended family. Chloe, nicknamed Cookie, is depicted as a young Black girl who loves science and innovation. Her sister Mikaela, nicknamed Milk, is depicted as a young white girl who loves sports and adventure. Cookie is calm and calculated while Milk is spontaneous and fearless. Despite their seemingly polar opposite personalities, they soon realized that they actually complimented each other perfectly and became the best of friends.
STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and sports aren’t topics too often seen in books with female protagonists. It was refreshing and exciting to see these girls enjoying both so skillfully. (There is a male character in the story, their younger brother, who plays a minor supporting role.) Author Michele McAvoy cleverly depicts how science and sports actually go hand in hand. Cookie engineered the perfect skate ramp for Milk that enabled her to perform a triple decker skate flip! And Milk was able to surf the most enormous ocean wave thanks to Cookie’s analysis of the tides, moon and wind. McAvoy also provides definitions of some of the big STEM words used throughout the text.
Equally refreshing was to see the normalization of a biracial friendship. The focus of this story was the girls’ friendship and not the color of their skin.
I became an instant fan of illustrator Jessica Gibson! Her use of vivid colors and ability to convey a range of emotions in her characters really added to the charm of this story.
Before the story begins, a guide is included to help parents read with their child and encourage them to actively engage with the text before, during, and after reading. This was a thoughtful and useful detail as it primes children to critically engage and relate to this wonderful book, and hopefully the many others they will read in the future. At the end, the author writes a brief, digestible guide to what to look for in a healthy friendship. There is also a “Did You Know” page, which highlights famous women in both STEM and sports in hopes of inspiring a new generation of female innovators and athletes.
Take-away message: From the book summary: “A story of friendship that transcends stereotypes. Cookie and Milk shows young readers that it may not be what you have in common that sparks a true friendship but how you differ.” Such a valuable lesson for young kids!
TAGS: female lead, diverse characters, blended family, STEM, hardcover
Additional Resources from the Publisher, Cardinal Rule Press:
Cookie & Milk Book Trailer
Cookie & Milk “Read Aloud” by Author Michele McAvoy & ASL Interpreter Seth Field