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Beautiful Moon: A Child's Prayer

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A young boy wakes. He has forgotten to say his prayers. Outside his window, a beautiful harvest moon illuminates the city around him and its many inhabitants. As the moon slowly makes its way across the heavens, the boy offers a simple prayer for the homeless, the hungry, and others.

Critically acclaimed author Tonya Bolden teams up with award‑winning illustrator Eric Velasquez to create a richly painted and emotionally complex book that celebrates prayer and kindness while recognizing the diversity of the world around us.

32 pages, Hardcover

First published November 1, 2014

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About the author

Tonya Bolden

69 books175 followers
Author and publisher Tonya Wilyce Bolden was born on March 1, 1959, in New York City to Georgia Bolden, a homemaker, and Willie Bolden, a garment center shipping manager. Bolden grew up in Harlem in a musical family and loved to read; she attended Public M.E.S. 146, an elementary school in Manhattan, and then graduated from the Chapin School, a private secondary school, in Manhattan in 1976. Bolden attended Princeton University in New Jersey, and, in 1981, obtained her B.A. degree in Slavic languages and literature with a Russian focus. Bolden was also a University Scholar and received the Nicholas Bachko, Jr. Scholarship Prize.

Upon graduating from Princeton University, Bolden began working as a salesperson for Charles Alan, Incorporated, a dress manufacturer, while working towards her M.A. degree at Columbia University. In 1985, Bolden earned her degree in Slavic languages and literature, as well as a Certificate for Advanced Study of the Soviet Union from the Harriman Institute; after this she began working as an office coordinator for Raoulfilm, Inc., assisting in the research and development of various film and literary products. Bolden worked as an English instructor at Malcolm-King College and New Rochelle School of New Resources while serving as newsletter editor of the HARKline, a homeless shelter newsletter.

In 1990, Bolden wrote her first book, The Family Heirloom Cookbook. In 1992, Bolden co-authored a children’s book entitled Mama, I Want To Sing along with Vy Higginsen, based on Higginsen’s musical. Bolden continued publishing throughout the 1990s, releasing Starting a Business from your Home, Mail-Order and Direct Response, The Book of African-American Women: 150 Crusaders, Creators, and Uplifters, And Not Afraid to Dare: The Stories of Ten African-American Women, American Patriots: The Story of Blacks in the Military from the Revolution to Desert Storm and The Champ. Bolden became editor of the Quarterly Black Review of Books in 1994, and served as an editor for 33 Things Every Girl Should Know, in 1998. Bolden’s writing career became even more prolific in the following decade; a partial list of her works include:, Our Souls: A Celebration of Black American Artists, Maritcha: A Nineteenth Century American Girl, MLK: Journey of a King, Take-Off: American All-Girl Bands During World War II, and George Washington Carver, a book she authored in conjunction with an exhibit about the famous African American inventor created by The Field Museum in Chicago.

(source; http://www.thehistorymakers.com/biogr...)

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5 stars
152 (43%)
4 stars
142 (40%)
3 stars
46 (13%)
2 stars
8 (2%)
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1 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 99 reviews
Profile Image for Linda Lipko.
1,904 reviews43 followers
February 18, 2017
When the illustrations are beautiful, and the story is also lovely, I smile and want to say to all "read this book!" "read it!"

This is a soft story, an exquisitely lovely story accompanied by wonderful illustrations. When a young boy forgets his prayers, he gets out of bed and gets on his knees. Asking God to please remember those in need, renders this child a special one.

There is soft beauty throughout!
Profile Image for Candace.
878 reviews
July 19, 2019
A book about a boy who forgets to say his prayers. The young man jumps out of bed and kneels to pray. His prayers are for the homeless, the hungry, the ill and others, such as his family, pet and teacher. During all this time, a beautiful full moon floats across the night sky. The illustrations are vibrantly contrasted against a dark background. The pictures compliment the text, which is written in short paragraphs. I feel this book would be recommended for kindergarten and up.
Profile Image for Alison.
257 reviews
June 9, 2020
Beautiful Moon has exceptionally well done artwork by the illustrator, and very touching words. The story shows sadness, and the truth about many people in our world. This book would be good for teaching children empathy, and as a way to remember to keep others in our prayers.
Profile Image for Betsy.
1,704 reviews65 followers
January 23, 2015
Reviewed first on Redeemed Reader

Beautiful Moon is a beautiful book illustrated by award-winning illustrator Eric Velasquez. In it, a young boy is kept from sleeping by the brilliant full moon outside his window, and he remembers that he forgot to say his goodnight prayers. Instead of the typical prayers for mom or dad, a hurt elbow, or a loose tooth, this young man prays for those in need, those too busy to enjoy the world around them, those hurt by injustice. As he prays each line, the illustrations show people of all nationalities who are caught up in the very struggle for which the boy is praying. While the prayer is not directed specifically at God (nor is it directed at the moon), this is a wonderful tool for us to show our young children the breadth of the needs in our world and to guide our own prayers as we lift up those around us who are suffering.
Profile Image for Linda .
3,702 reviews42 followers
September 17, 2015
A young boy jumps out of bed, awakened by city noises, and remembers he needs to say his prayers. The moon shines in the window and on others for whom he says a special prayer: a homeless woman, a man's daughter fighting in a war, a family who are hungry, a man in the hospital, and finally, his family. With thoughtful words, the prayer is illustrated in this nighttime with the moon shining down. Velasquez paints beautifully detailed scenes for each part of the prayer. It's a lovely book.
Profile Image for Heather.
993 reviews27 followers
August 12, 2017
I absolutely loved the illustrations and I thought the story was so beautiful. Lately, I've been reading kids' books and there seems to always be a "bad guy" which is kind of an odd thing to teach at such a young age. This beautiful story had no villain and made sure that children knew that every person has something going on in their lives (even if you can't always tell) and to treat them respectfully and kindly.
Profile Image for Katie Logonauts.
173 reviews14 followers
February 15, 2015
This is a lovely and simple story with big lessons. As the young boy of the cover scrambles out of bed to remember his prayers, the reader is taken on a journey to see examples of individual people who match the situations that the little boy is praying for. A powerful reminder of how we are all connected and the need for people to care for one another.
25 reviews1 follower
February 24, 2022
'Beautiful Moon' by Tonya Bolden is about a boy who forgets to say his prayers before going to sleep. He suddenly awakes and begins to pray for those who are homeless, hungry, and for those he believed needed praying for. He looked up to the bright moon in the night sky and promises he would never forget to pray for those who need it. This was a beautiful picture book that depicted the struggles of poverty and homelessness. It showed that you can still have a home and be poor, unable to get food. It showed a woman sleeping on a bench, a sight that is too commonly seen. This book illustrated the struggles of poverty and homelessness in a way that is simple for children to understand while still getting the message across. If I could, I would give this book 10 stars!
Profile Image for Paul.
1,800 reviews
August 7, 2021
This book is about what you see, with your eyes and also your heart. The book has a distinct edge in that most of use humans are awed at discovering the moon in the sky, especially when golden or amber. The boy's prayers take in those without homes, an end to war, the old and sick, those who have little food, family and friends. But the most draining counterpoint to the boy on his knees is the business executive riding home on the train, also under the gaze of the moon, but taking no notice...nor dropping to his knees. Velasquez's illustrations are pitch-perfect, capturing evening shadows, street darkness, and they emptiness that the boy's prayers reach to fill. Bolden's verse is tightly crafted to synchronize with the images, so they evenly pull together. While it comes close to being characterized as "Sweet" or an "Aww" story, it thankfully avoids the emotional tug by being played out in a real world of suffering and need. This book could have produced in a smaller format--hats off to the publisher and art director!--but the beauty and openness of the space brings us readers into the narrative rather than just observing it. May it prompt younger and adult readers to cry out for mercy and provision.
Profile Image for Jeff.
20 reviews
February 7, 2019
This book delivers a truly touching story to be enjoyed by children of all ages (even adults!).

Author Tonya Bolden tells a gentle story of a young boy as he makes his bedtime prayers while gazing out his bedroom window at the moon.

What's remarkable is this boy is not praying for baseball cards, allowance money or any sort of tangible gift. No. Instead, this special young lad prays for the homeless that they find warmth, for wars to end so that soldiers come home safe, for sick people to recover, for the hungry to be fed, and for important people in his life such as his family and schoolteacher.

Not only is this book enjoyable to read, it's spectacular illustrations (by Eric Velasquez) add warmth and depth to compliment Bolden's writing and bring her story to life.

This is a fantastic book and one I'd highly recommend to anyone who knows young children; for a teacher to read to his/her students, a grandma to read to her grandchild or a father to read to his little boy or girl.

Thank you Ms. Bolden and Mr. Velasquez for sharing your fine work with us.


Jeff B.
Burnsville, MN
16 reviews25 followers
June 17, 2017
I thought this was a horribly depressing story to place on a child. It sucked the pleasure out of story time.
5,870 reviews130 followers
June 8, 2018
Beautiful Moon: A Child's Prayer is a children's picture book written by Tonya Bolden and illustrated by Eric Velásquez, which tells about a boy's night time prayer.

Bolden's text is rather straightforward and rather heart-warming. The prayer is a simple heartfelt one about a little boy and his observances about the world. Velásquez’s illustrations are phenomenal and really make the book.

The premise of the book is rather simple – a young boy wakes up, having forgotten to say his prayers. While outside a beautiful harvest moon illuminates the city around him and its many inhabitants. As the moon slowly makes its way across the sky, the boy offers a simple prayer for the homeless, the hungry, his family, and others.

While I love the premise of the book, I just wished that there was some action to back up the prayer. Some of the things that the little boy prayed for are impossible for him to do, which should be left in the hands of God, but others not so much.

All in all, Beautiful Moon: A Child's Prayer is a wonderful children's book about kindness, prayer, and the diversity of the world around us.
36 reviews
March 20, 2019
Genre: Religious Picture Book
Awards: None
Audience: Ages 5-7
A. This book fits into the category of a religious picture book, because it is a picture book that talks about a young boy who prays for people around him who are struggling in their lives.
B. The color used in the illustrations is dark because the setting is at night with the moon brightly lit up. The detail and texture used as well really contributes to the story because it makes the people look incredibly realistic.
C. I would use this book for a one-on-one read aloud to a child before they went to bed. It is a great religious book that teaches the importance of prayer and how powerful it can really be. I would also use this if I were teaching at a private school; I would read this book aloud to a group of young children.
D. What does Mikey promise at the end of the story before he goes to bed? That he won't forget to pray when tomorrow night comes.
Profile Image for Robin.
60 reviews
March 18, 2019
This book has beautiful, touching and realistic illustrations. The book starts out with an urban scene and a glowing moon. It is striking that among all the noises a voice calls out, "I love you!" Something woke the little boy. Was it the voice? We don't know, but he remembers he forgot to say his prayers. He looks out and can see the same moon shining over the city scene. The book shows people under the same moon who are in need. A homeless woman is on a bench, the boy prays for people with no homes. A soldier is shown in a distant land, where it is still daylight. He is missing his daughter. The boy prays for wars to end. His prayers are sweet and general and for basic needs of man. And he has special prayers for those close to him, his family, his pet turtle, his teacher. I pray similar prayers and loved this book and gave it five stars.
Profile Image for Maureen.
353 reviews2 followers
June 9, 2020
beautiful illustrations to share with the little boy's prayer, done in mixed media and oil on watercolour paper by Eric Velasqquez; Dedicated "to all those in need of prayer" and "For Ryan, May you always stay amazed". The little boy hops out of bed having forgotten to say his prayers. Before shutting his eyes he sees the "beautiful moon". The little boy prays for people with no homes, for wars to end, for the sick to be healed, for people, little and big, to have the food they need, for his Grandma, his Mommy, Daddy, baby sister, his turtle Mikey, and for his teacher to read a story every day. He then promises that when tomorrow night comes he won't forget to pray.
Profile Image for Li Sifan(Liona).
54 reviews
May 25, 2018
This book was published November 4th 2014 by Harry N. Abrams. I chose this book because it used the image of the moon to tell the story of a little boy praying. The diversity of this book is reflected in the fact that the “moon” can hold people’s feelings and hopes no matter which country they come from. Especially in China, the "moon" is likened by many poets to the image of sustenance. Many Chinese people will think of some of their own emotional experience or miss their families when see the moon.
Profile Image for Susan.
2,307 reviews64 followers
July 14, 2018
A moving story with a good message. The illustrations are exquisite. The play of light and details of the people, their clothing, their surroundings, etc. caught the mood of the text perfectly. I also really enjoyed the diversity of the characters. The titular child is a young boy of African heritage, soldiers are shown as daughters, people on the food line and in the class are of all backgrounds.

Overall, a beautiful book to read and to see (text and illustrations).
Profile Image for David Haggett .
363 reviews1 follower
June 14, 2020
Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Ms. Bolden reminds us that our problems should be seen in both abstract and concrete terms, meaning some problems may be bigger than we are and some problems may be resolved through our own actions.
Profile Image for Jo Oehrlein.
6,269 reviews9 followers
September 29, 2021
About a little boy praying and doesn't mention a specific prayer.
The boy prays for the homeless and the hungry, for world peace, for his immediate family, and for his teacher to read a story every day before promising to not forget to pray tomorrow.

Mixed with scenes from the city where we see examples of people that are covered due to the boy's prayer.
Profile Image for Erina Ludwig.
20 reviews
July 15, 2018
Cute diverse prayer book

Beautiful illustrations and a sweet gentle rhythm to the words. A reminder to remember others all the time, everywhere and teaches kids: we're all in this together.
Profile Image for Ellon.
3,391 reviews
July 31, 2020
This book brought tears to my eyes. I love how the different people in the community were brought into the narrative using the boy’s prayers. Just beautiful (and I’m not someone who is big on prayer).
Profile Image for Steph.
1,365 reviews
August 19, 2022
An absolutely beautiful book that will foster children to instill a culture of kindness, consideration of others less fortunate, and gratitude in a digestible and artful manner. An absolutely essential book for a child's bookshelf, so it would make an excellent baby or birthday gift.
Profile Image for Nadia L. Hohn.
Author 12 books44 followers
March 20, 2019
A beautiful book about a boy whose prayer spreads across his diverse community. The illustrations are gorgeous.
Profile Image for Autumn (Triquetra Reviews).
375 reviews15 followers
August 18, 2019
Incredibly heart-warming, and a little sad, if I'm honest.

A great book to get you thinking about what really matters in life - touches on some heavy topics that many of us forget about.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 99 reviews

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