Mock Newbery 2023 discussion

What the Moon Said
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Book of the Month - 2015 > August Read - What the Moon Said

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message 1: by Kristen (last edited Aug 01, 2014 07:49PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kristen Jorgensen (sunnie) | 582 comments Mod
What the Moon Said has gotten some very favorable reviews. Do you think this Depression story will wow the Newbery committee?


message 2: by Kim (new)

Kim McGee (kimsbookstack) | 76 comments Great historical fiction should always wow!


message 3: by Jen (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jen Ferry (librarygarden) | 86 comments I'm currently reading The Riverman. I'm enjoying parts of the story, but not loving Fiona's Riverman saga. Anyhoo, as I continue to read I've found some potentially questionable parts for elementary, but of course didn't mark them to come back later and reread. Did anyone mark them, so that I can go back and see if I need to send the book on to MS? We are currently K-6, but are switching to K-5 in a year. I know that only my sophisticated readers would truly read this story, but know others would checkout just from reading the blurb. Any help would be appreciated.


Sara | 35 comments Found this at the library today. Hooray!


LauraW (lauralynnwalsh) | 108 comments I just got What the Moon Said from the library. I am about one-third of the way through. I like it, but so far, I am not completely wow'ed by it.


Czechgirl | 214 comments I so loved this book. Every time when something bad happened in the story, I would think, "Oh, I wish the author wouldn't turn the story this way." But then the author wrote the lesson to be learned or the good that came the family's way, I would then think, "I loved the way this story turned out to be." The story was well-thought out. The story of this family made you appreciate what you had, but of course, the main character, Esther, learned the same thing.


message 7: by Christina (last edited Aug 05, 2014 01:12PM) (new)

Christina Karvounis | 3 comments Librarygarden wrote: "I'm currently reading The Riverman. I'm enjoying parts of the story, but not loving Fiona's Riverman saga. Anyhoo, as I continue to read I've found some potentially questionable parts for elementar..."

Dear LibraryGarden:
I read RIVERMAN last month, and agree with your stance on content for more mature readers. In fact, I personally wouldn't recommend it to a student below 5th, and even then with strong consideration for the reader. The aspects that might reach too far are the ideas of kidnapping, running away, guns/shooting deaths and lack of structure in life. It is a beautiful book, but a dark book and one that is far-reaching into the confusion that being an adolescent can be.


message 8: by LauraW (last edited Aug 05, 2014 04:18PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

LauraW (lauralynnwalsh) | 108 comments Well, I finished it and I am still trying to figure out why I found the book a bit more problematic than I expected. One of my Goodreads friends described it as being like Anne of Green Gables, only about the Depression era. I guess one of the things that troubles me about this - and perhaps my respect for Anne of Green Gables colored my perception of this book - was that Anne was continually striving to be honest and good. She had trouble measuring up, but she was usually completely honest about her failures.

In this book, I got the feeling that various characters were excusing their failures. Esther goes against her mother's explicit instructions to not be a friend to Bethany - and makes excuses for her failure to obey her mother. Her mother, in turn, only changes her mind about Bethany, because she saved Esther's life. She didn't really change her mind about the superstitions.

The final realization about love and family is wonderful, but it felt a bit hollow to me. I expected the revelation about Tatiana, but it came so late in the book that, while it provided explanation, it didn't provide redemption for some of the things the mother had done. And, in fact, the revelation didn't come from the mother, but rather from the sister. I would have preferred it to somehow come from the mother.

Finally, I am not sure what to think about the men preventing the auction of the neighbor's farm by blocking the road. On the one hand, it showed solidarity in the community. On the other hand, it was not completely honest. I think it was necessary, but I also think it might have merited some discussion with the children about why, in some cases, there were reasons to not be completely straightforward.


Jenni | 77 comments If I had to compare this book to any others, I would say it is Little House on the Prairie meets Kit Kittredge. I enjoyed the insight into history and a different culture and thought the pace was good. I really wanted to know more about her mother's childhood. Alternating between Esther's and a young Ma/Olga/Tatiana narrative might've added more meat and depth to the story. It was nice, but not distinguished, I felt.


message 10: by Jen (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jen Ferry (librarygarden) | 86 comments I very much enjoyed What the Moon Said and did feel that Little House pull. While I do agree that Esther disobeyed her mother quite often, that's what makes the story believable. The superstitions that Ma held from the old world made for a realistic way for a young girl to question her beliefs compared to the earlier generation. Esther also is challenged to figure out why her mother is not affectionate, which is eventually revealed by Ma and her older sister. I felt the conclusion of the story to be satisfying. Esther was made to think about actions speaking louder than words, accepting change (the move), and still having a connection to her year in the country through letters to/from Bethany. For me this may be a 2015 contender.


Margaret Kensinger-Klopfer | 31 comments Librarygarden Librarygarden | 18 comments I very much enjoyed What the Moon Said and did feel that Little House pull. While I do agree that Esther disobeyed her mother quite often, that's what makes the story believable. The superstitions that Ma held from the old world made for a realistic way for a young girl to question her beliefs compared to the earlier generation.

I agree with Librarygarden.
If Esther had obeyed everything her mother had asked her to do, then there would have been no dramatic tension in this book. It is this book's realization that the next generation will improve upon the lives of their parents, written in prose that a middle grade reader would become engrossed in, that makes the story so wonderful. Esther's mother can't be perfect and she can't change easily; she is a product of extreme circumstances. This book is so lovely because Esther realizes that while she can't control her circumstances (or her mother), she can control the way she lives within those circumstances.
This rendition of the challenges of life in the Depression was engrossing and rich. The characters were engaging and full-bodied, and the scenery of 1930's Chicago and rural Wisconsin felt vibrant and alive. A definite contender for the Newbery in my book.


Shelley | 4 comments I'm excited about reading What the Moon Said! I read The Riverman, and though I thought it was quite good, I wasn't as charmed as many others have been. I really enjoyed The Night Gardener--has anybody else liked it?


message 13: by Susan (new)

Susan | 30 comments I loved the Night Gardener--deliciously creepy!


message 14: by Sara (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sara | 35 comments Just finished The Night Gardener last night! Wonderful writing with a could not put it down story.


message 15: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 61 comments I finished the Night Gardener yesterday. I loved it: the characters, the plot, the setting, and the creepy atmosphere.


message 16: by Jen (last edited Aug 30, 2014 02:43PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jen Ferry (librarygarden) | 86 comments Under the Egg--I've read so many great books this summer and Under the Egg is on my lovin' it list! I loved Theo and her sidekick Bodhi, it's as if they were from different generations. I loved that art was the center of the story. I loved the mystery of the painting after fining the hidden under a beloved piece of art. I loved how history was intertwined and secrets were revealed. And finally, I loved all the triumphs and tribulations that Theo and Bodhi had to go through to find the rightful owner of the Rafael.
I did feel the reveal just happened and I wasn't expecting it at all. I thought that was the end of the book (I was reading an e-book copy), but was glad to realize there was still a few subsequent chapters to close the story.


message 17: by Reving (last edited Sep 07, 2014 11:51AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Reving | 106 comments I'm only 1/4 through so this probably isn't fair, but I am just not getting any "wow" factor, if this wasn't one of the Books of the Month, I don't think I'd keep going. It's fine. Just a little too American Girl-ish. Not really feeling the magic yet.
Yeah...it didn't really grab me..http://revingsblog.blogspot.com/2014/...


Mary HD (marymaclan) | 97 comments I rather liked this book. The setting and characters were distinctive and well-developed. What really intrigued me was the theme. Girls have lots of reasons for not accepting the rules set down by their mothers - and I've read quite a few books describing these conflicts at great length! But this is the first time I have encountered a mother whose identity is specifically defined (and confined) by her superstitions, and whose daughter has to decide whether or not these superstitions were "true". (One could say that deciding whether the habits and customs - or "superstitions" - of the old country continue to have value in the new country is a standard part of the immigrant experience, but that is only implied, not stated, in this book.) Overall, I found this a realistic but appealing account of a special family.


message 19: by Carol (new)

Carol M | 47 comments I really liked this book--it reminded me of the Lois Lenski books I loved whenI was growing up. It's not a "wow" for me.

I'm going to read "The Night Gardener" this weekend because of all the buzz on this site.


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