If you pulled this book off a library shelf with no prior introduction, even as an adult you might be challenged by its pages of riddles, all leading up to one answer. "My roots go back many centuries. Some of them even longer. ... Some people have tried to avoid me. But they cannot get me out of their heads. I can be as soft as a kitten or as harsh as the Alaskan winters." What is the greatest invention of all, making us human?

You may already have guessed, but if not, you will understand right away when you learn that author Victor D.O. Santos holds a Ph.D. in linguistics, studied ten languages, and together with his wife is raising two multicultural, multilingual children. He wrote this book about language for five-to-nine year olds — and all of us — in partnership with UNESCO in honor of the International Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-2032).

Artist and illustrator Anna Forlati weaves into these pages creative clues to solving the book-long puzzle. On a page with a girl and her dog in an elevator, the dog sniffs the buttons with their braille markings. When we read, "there are thousands of me in the world," we see people strolling through a topiary garden full of designs made by letters from various cultures.

Santos and Forlati explain the theme at the book's end: It is estimated that at least half of the current 7,000-plus languages alive today will be extinct by 2100. "With the loss of every language, humanity itself losses something precious ... The cultural, geographical, botanical, and philosophical knowledge encoded in that language and cherished by its users could be lost forever." We are grateful to these two talented people and to UNESCO for this effort to ensure that Indigenous languages are preserved, revitalized, and promoted so that we can all benefit from their richness.