Middle-Grade Meets the Moon

By the time this post goes live on Monday, January 21st,  we will have all experienced (or slept through) the Blood Supermoon Lunar Eclipse of 2019.  The eclipse is, of course, the passing of the moon through Earth’s shadow. The “blood” comes from the crimson and oranges colors that can be seen, and “supermoon” refers to the how large the moon appears due to its relative proximity to Earth.

NASA has prepared some very useful tools for parents and teachers, and even though the event has passed, everyone will be talking about it. What better time to investigate further? Look for NASA’s Teachable Moments for the 2019 total lunar eclipse here  and lunar eclipse moon lessons guide for teachers is available here.

And, what better time to bring the moon into our to-be-read lists?

Let’s make a list of middle-grade books that capture our imaginations using the mystery of the moon – at least in their titles. I’ll start. Please comment below with additions to this list!

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin is a Newbery Honor winner and it received the 2010 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature.

From Indiebound:  In the valley of Fruitless mountain, a young girl named Minli lives in a ramshackle hut with her parents. In the evenings, her father regales her with old folktales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man on the Moon, who knows the answers to all of life’s questions. Inspired by these stories, Minli sets off on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man on the Moon to ask him how she can change her family’s fortune.

 

 

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool is the 2011 Newbery Medal winning middle-grade tale of Abilene Tucker and a Kansas town called Manifest. Abilene navigates Manifest’s present and past mysteries in order to find the answers she’s been looking for.

This is one of my favorite middle-grade novels.

 

 

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

Thirteen-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle, proud of her country roots and the “Indian-ness in her blood,” travels from Ohio to Idaho with her eccentric grandparents. Along the way, she tells them of the story of Phoebe Winterbottom, who received mysterious messages, who met a “potential lunatic,” and whose mother disappeared.

As Sal entertains her grandparents with Phoebe’s outrageous story, her own story begins to unfold—the story of a thirteen-year-old girl whose only wish is to be reunited with her missing mother.

 

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill is the winner of the 2017 Newbery Medal.  Wait. I’m seeing a pattern here. Are you? Wow! There are a lot of Newbery books with “moon” in the title!  Anyway, this book didn’t stop at the Newbery. It has racked up Best Book of 2016 Awards from School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Chicago Public Library, Entertainment Weekly and New York Public Library. Filled with mystery and wonder, magic and suspense, this is a book comes along once in blue moon. (I had to. I’m sorry.)

 

I haven’t read The Moon Within yet, but only because it isn’t out yet! The pub date for the Aida Salazar’s The Moon Within is February 26, 2019.  But, what a cover! WOW!

From Indiebound:Celi Rivera’s life swirls with questions. About her changing body. Her first attraction to a boy. And her best friend’s exploration of what it means to be genderfluid.

But most of all, her mother’s insistence she have a moon ceremony when her first period arrives. It’s an ancestral Mexica ritual that Mima and her community have reclaimed, but Celi promises she will NOT be participating. Can she find the power within herself to take a stand for who she wants to be? 

 

 

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a firm believer that picture books belong in middle-grade readers’ hands. So, although this is a picture book, I’m featuring Margaret and the Moon.   Written by Dean Robbins and Illustrated by Lucy Knisley, it is the true story of Margaret Hamilton, whose code writing for NASA helped put a man on the moon.

 

 

 

The Far-Out Guide to the Moon was written by Mary Kay Carson, who is one the Mixed-Up Files STEM Tuesday contributors.  A wealth of information and facts, the book makes an excellent addition to middle-grade reading lists.  Strike now while the lunar interest is hot and everyone is talking about the eclipse we had last night!

 

 

 

 

What titles would you add to our Middle-Grade Meets the Moon list? Drop them in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

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Michelle Houts
Michelle Houts writes middle-grade, chapter books, and picture books from a restored one-room schoolhouse near her home. She loves reading, mail, farming, and birds. Michelle visits schools and libraries to share writing excitement with future authors. To find out more and to learn about Michelle's 52Letters Challenge, visit www.michellehouts.com
3 Comments
  1. A good book is a good book regardless of the age group it is written for. I love the first two covers, but all of the books sound interesting. I think the description of Walk Two Moons appeals to me most–love a kid with a king-size imagination.

  2. The picture book Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, because there are few examples which surpass the sparse, spare beauty of this lyrical book.

  3. Wnat The Moon Saw by Laura Resau — I really love this middle grade book

    West of the Moon by Margi Preus — my daughter had trouble getting into this book but it got a ton of great reviews. I never ended reading it though, based on my daughter’s opinion.

    Moonshadow series by Simon HIggins — my son rejected this series but it has martial arts set back in Samurai Japan. The author is a martial arts expert. It wasn’t my son’s cup of tea but it’s a solid action adventure series. I just think this type of series set back in feudal Japan has a smaller audience.

    I also have picture book themed moon list here: https://www.pragmaticmom.com/2013/11/moon-themed-books-for-kids/