Creative Nonfiction for Young Readers

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If You Were the Moon

By Laura Purdie Salas

Illustrated by Jaime Kim

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Children are naturally curious creatures. They love discovering new things and can’t stop asking questions about the world around them. One thing that has fascinated mankind throughout history and that still fascinates children today is the moon. “Helloooooooooo up there, Moon!” A child calls, “I’m sooooooo tired.  I wish I could do exactly nothing, just like you.” The moon, however, as the child is about to find out, does plenty of important things.

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If you were the moon, you would…

“Spin like a twilight ballerina.”

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“Tease the Earth: peek-a-boo!”

“Challenge the ocean to a tug-of-war.”

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It’s not often that you hear the moon being personified in these ways. How exactly does the moon “challenge the ocean to a tug-of-war”? What makes this book really unique is how the lyrical sentences are paired with facts about the moon that explain why and how the moon “spins like a twilight ballerina” and “challenges the ocean to a tug-of-war.” Children will certainly enjoy the playful use of figurative language, and they will also get answers to some of their questions about the mysteries of the moon.

The mix between fiction and nonfiction writing elements make this book interesting to read. The illustrations are absolutely stunning, and the fact that they aren’t real photos don’t take away from the credibility of the information. Most children are already familiar with what the moon looks like, and these visuals seem to be more helpful to children’s comprehension of invisible forces like gravity. One fact I would be careful with when reading this book is its explanation of moonlight. The story talks about the moon lighting the way for turtle hatchlings to reach the sea. Many children have the misconception that the moon produces its own light, and this book does not mention how the moon is simply reflecting light given off by the sun. Be sure to explain this while you’re reading to prevent children from inferring any misinformation! Overall, If You Were the Moon is a wonderfully written and illustrated nonfiction book perfect for young curious readers.  

Post by: Cynthia Vu

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One response »

  1. Thanks so much for your kind words and thoughts about IF YOU WERE THE MOON! I’m so glad you like it! The “Catch and throw” spread does explain that the Earth doesn’t create its own light, only “catches” sunlight and “throws” it toward Earth. But that info is several spreads before the turtle hatchling spread, so you’re right–reiterating it at that point is a great idea. (I remember being stunned when I first learned that the moon didn’t produce any of its own light.) Thanks again for your thoughtful review and for sharing this book:>)

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