Ladder To The Moon
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Ladder To The Moon

3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  165 ratings  ·  59 reviews
From Maya Soetoro-Ng, sister of President Obama, comes a lyrical story relaying the loving wisdom of their late mother to a young granddaughter she never met.

Little Suhaila wishes she could have known her grandma, who would wrap her arms around the whole world if she could, Mama says. And one night, Suhaila gets her wish when a golden ladder appears at her window, and Gran...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published April 12th 2011 by Candlewick Press (first published April 1st 2011)
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Community Reviews

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Lisa Vegan
May 06, 2011 Lisa Vegan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who’ve had an older family member die &/or are interested in inter-generational sharing
I read this book because I’m a fan of Yuyi Morales's picture book illustrations. Here, as in other books, they’re large, lush, lovely, and they fit this story perfectly.

The story is open to interpretation, I think. It’s about inter-generational sharing, death, personal development, having strength, healing and helping heal others, and more.

The author’s and illustrator’s notes that are in the back of the book are particularly enlightening as to how and why this book was created, and they both tou...more
I'm looking at the other comments for this book, and apparently I'm the only one who thought this was mildly creepy. A good idea, but it missed the mark.
Jessica Harrison
review via Cracking the Cover
In art, you can find texture everywhere. It is found in the paint, paper and images an artist conveys. Books, too, are textured in the words, hidden meanings and imagination of an author.

In “Ladder to the Moon” artist and author textures combine to make a beautiful whole.

Grandma Annie died before Suhaila was born. Suhaila wishes she could have known her, and one night, she gets the chance. A golden ladder appears at her window with Grandma Annie attached to it, offer...more
One evening Suhaila asked her mother what her Grandma Annie was like. Her mother replied that her grandmother was like the moon, “full, soft and curious.” She also told Suhaila that she had her grandmother’s hands. At bedtime that night, Suhaila wondered what other ways she was like her grandmother. Later that same night, a golden ladder appeared at her window and on the lowest rung her grandmother was waiting for her. Together the two of them climbed the ladder to the moon. The two sat on the m...more
Cheryl Rainfield

Ladder to the Moon is such a rich, warm book that it seems to enfold you within the pages, encouraging you to hope and to dream. It touched me deeply, making me cry, and felt hopeful, comforting, and tender. This is a book you will want to read and to share.

In Ladder To The Moon, Suhaila never knew her grandmother, and asks about her. That night, she climbs a ladder to the moon and gets to know her grandmother, and listens to the songs of the moon and the earth with her, finding strength. Togeth...more
This book is absolutely gorgeous. Maya Soetoro-Ng says she wanted to write a story based on her own grandmother, wishing she was still living so she could pass down learning and stories to Soetoro-Ng’s own daughter. It is a story of the little girl Suhaila’s dream that her grandmother, Annie, comes to her in the night to take her to the moon, climbing up a golden ladder. The moon represents a kind of heaven and the two talk, but also look down to see others who are gathering (dying) to travel up...more
Selection for Caldecott Medal: I believe this book, Ladder to the Moon by Maya Soetoro-Ng and illustrated by Yuyi Morales should be awarded a Caldecott Medal for the beautiful artwork and excellent interpretation and representation of the story. In regards to artistic technique, the brush strokes in every painting show softness and movement. The people in the story are painted with soft curves that seem to flow from one to the next in a continuous connected manner. Colors are bright, yet soft an...more
One night a ladder comes down from the moon, Suhaila gets to meet her grandmother Annie. They go up together and have an adventure. From a top the moon grandmother and granddaughter watch the world and help when they can. This is a beautiful story about two generations meeting and people coming together.

"Looking past the golden ladder, she spotted people whose hands pointed upward from a synagogue, a temple, a mosque, and a steepled church. One by one, every person was finding his or her own pat...more
Best for kids ages 4 and up.
Early Literacy Skills: Print Motivation, Vocabulary, Narrative Skills

From cover:
One cool ne evening, Suhaila asked her mama, "What was grandma Annie like?
"She was like the moon," her mother replied. "Full, soft, ans curious. Your grandma would wrap her arms around the whole world if she could."

On a night bejeweled with stars, a golden ladder unfurls outside little Suhaila's window. Her grandmother, perched on its lowest rung, invites her to climb on board for a wondro...more
Kyle Turck
Ladder to the Moon was an interesting read to say the least, but overall I did not really care for this one. The books tells the story of a young girl who never met her grandmother while she was alive, and then goes on a dreamlike adventure with her grandmother to the moon. The illustrations were very well done, but I felt that the story itself was a little too abstract and was trying to be something bigger than it was. I understood the whole concept of the story, but I think it ever really achi...more
May 15, 2011 Jacque rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone with children
This is a very interesting children’s book about a little girl and her grandmother. The grandmother has died and gone on. She comes and takes the girl to the moon on a ladder. There the girl is taught how to love other people so that the people can learn to love and help others. She is taught empathy for others.

It is a tale by President Obama’s sister. It has a lot of elements that probably come from African American traditions. I loved the book and so did my son. I usually put books on the book...more
I am apparently not deep enough to understand the symbolism of this story. I thought it was confusing and weird and too wordy. And it is supposed to be for kids?? Written by President Obama's half sister and based on real people, this book tells the story of a grandmother and granddaughter opening their minds, arms, and hearts to people everywhere. In a dream, Suhaila meets her grandmother Annie who takes Suhaila on an adventure to different people and places around the world. The focus of the s...more
The story is definitely not for the very young as it is rather complex and symbolic. When I started to read, I thought of the young women in my family - daughter and niece - who have never met their grandmother. Little Suhaila asks her mama, "What was Grandma Annie like?" Her mother replies that Grandma Annie was "like the moon...full, soft and curious." That night as Suhaila lies in bed, a ladder appears at the edge of her windowsill. It is Grandma Annie and she takes Suhaila to the moon. What...more
Mystical visit between Obama's late mother and his niece, by his sister. Kind of overblown, but the pictures are great! Mostly notable to me because it has a really illustration of two ladies weaving a magic spiral on a backstrap loom.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Suhaila travels with her Grandma Annie up a ladder to the moon. Grandma watches for troubles on the earth and brings the troubled to live with her in the peace of the moon.

Big, warm pictures and tender words make this a refreshingly kind tale.

“When the sisters were refreshed, they spoke to Annie and Suhaila.
‘There is still so much to do. There are fires to be tended,
gardens to be weeded, and kapok trees to be seeded.’

‘We’ll work together,’ Annie promised.
‘We’ll throw in our hearts and minds,
Ah, how I wish there was A LADDER TO THE MOON, where my grandmother would take me to have an adventure. Alas, you can only experience that in LADDER TO THE MOON by Maya Soetoro-Ng.

This book is fairly long for the typical picture book. It is also quite deep in subject matter. I am referring to the tsunami, towers in an earthquake, and praying "to make the fighting stop.” The illustrations are, as one reviewer mentioned, “dreamy”, and whimsical.

I first want to read this once I found out the autho...more
Suhaila never knew her loving grandma, and she wishes desperately that she had the chance to feel her arms around her just one time. On one special night, that's exactly what happens. Grandma Annie invites her to climb a ladder outside her window and take a journey. Together, they observe events that celebrate the common bonds shared by all of us, no matter our nationality. The illustrations provide a dreamlike backdrop to this sentimental tale that reminds us that we never lose those who leave...more
I really wanted to rate this book higher but I think the author missed a great chance to make a case for the unifying, healing potential for the compassion and prayer of individuals to merge in such a way as to culminate into a unifying healing for the world. The author didn't quite make it that far. Yet the story is quite good and the illustrations are beautiful. I was prompted to read this book when I read a review-- I recommend this book in spite of ho...more
Janet Frost
I picked this up at a beautiful Indie bookshop in Spring Green this weekend. The illustrations by Yuri Morales drew me in. The story is okay but the pictures are lush.
i loved, loved the illustrations in this book... just based on them, i'd rate this book much higher, but the story was a bit complex, filled with a great deal of symbolism which was lost on it's intended audience. it seemed to make the reader work harder than they should to understand the story, which in turn became a distraction. interestingly, the author is president Obama's sister, and the story is one their mother told as they grew up.
Shannon McGee
I had not known that this was written by Obama’s half sister until after I read it. It is a tale very reminiscent to Tomie dePaola’s books. Mixed with folk lore and longing for her child to have know her grandmother. The images are fairy tale like and beautiful. I enjoyed taking in the tale of granddaughter helping the grandmother help the world as they looked from the moon.

Wonderful story to share with kids on Mother’s Day!
Jonathan Sparkles
The writing is quality, but I do story time at the bookstore I work at and kids were getting bored by this one. It's too deep and a bit too long for kids under 6. It's not to say it's not good, it just doesn't seem to work completely as a children's picture book. And it's a bit too preachy and spiritual for young kids in my opinion. Give it a chance, though. You might find it works for your little tyke.
Sam Grace
I have to say, this book was not all I was hoping for. Yuyi Morales' art was beautiful as always, but I never quite "got" the book. Frankly, the narrative lost me once daughter joined dead g'ma on the moon. They saw different things happening around the world, but it seemed disjointed and unexplained, to me at least. I would give the art a 4 and the story a 2, so three's the rating this one'll get.
Definitely for older kids if not adults, it's both oblique and heavy-handed. (And what's really going on? Is it a dream? A fable of the past? A wish for the future? Are all the people who climb the ladder to the moon dead like Suhaila's grandma?) but the illustrations are gorgeous (Morales really can do no wrong as far as I'm concerned) and for the right families, this could be a treasure.
I think this book was an award winner of some sort but cant recall. In any case, I didnt care for the artwork or story. The art wasnt aesthetically pleasing to me but the storyline was also strange and confusing. Even after reading the author's note I didnt connect to it. But then again I'm not a particularly sentimental person.
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Yuyi Morales' illustrations are beautiful. A little girl is taken to the moon by her grandmother (who has passed) and during their time together they reach out to care for the children of the world. It is a sweet story but text was a bit long for a book that seems more geared towards pre-k to 2nd.

Illustrations 5
Text 3
Marissa Garcia
This dreamy tale doesn't spell everything out, which is why it is an important addition to collections. Symbolic, poetic prose has a place in offerings for children. Paired with Morales's usual masterful art, it is special. It is not for everyone, however. Suggest to those looking for bedtime stories or unusual tales
Maya Soetoro-Ng is a beautiful storyteller. I was lucky enough to get to hear her read this work at the ALA Many Voices, One Nation event in New Orleans. The artwork is also stunning and beautiful. Both the author and illustrator have interesting life stories and their work reflects their strong sense of self.

Wonderful children's picture book! Inspired by the life and spirit of her mother, Ann Dunham, mother also to President Barack Obama, Maya Soetoro-Ng has written a magical story of generational love and stores as well as shared experiences. Wonderful artwork as well. I'll be buying this book for my grandchildren.
A young girl follows her grandmother up a magical ladder to the moon in this lovely, surreal tale celebrating interconnectivity and the resilience of the human spirit. Soetoro-Ng's prose is richly poetic, and Yuyi Morales' digitally manipulated acrylic illustrations are absultely breathtaking.
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Maya Kassandra Soetoro-Ng born August 15, 1970 in Jakarta, Indonesia is the maternal half-sister of Barack Obama, the 44th and current President of the United States. She previously was a high school history teacher and university instructor in Hawaii.
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