Laugh with the Moon

Readers Advisory

Global-Awareness (Issue-oriented appeal):

Park, Linda Sue. Long walk to water. When the Sudanese civil war reaches his village in 1985, eleven-year-old Salva becomes separated from his family and must walk with other Dinka tribe members through southern Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya in search of safe haven. Based on the life of Salva Dut, who, after emigrating to America in 1996, began a project to dig water wells in Sudan. (

Sheth, Kashmira. Boys without names. Eleven-year-old Gopal and his family leave their rural Indian village for life with his uncle in Mumbai, but when they arrive his father goes missing and Gopal ends up locked in a sweatshop from which there is no escape. (

Father-Daughter Relationships (Character-driven appeal):

Creech, Sharon. Unfinished angel. In a tiny village in the Swiss Alps, an angel meets an American girl named Zola who has come with her father to open a school, and together Zola and the angel rescue a group of homeless orphans, who gradually change everything. (

Fitzmaurice, Kathryn. Year the swallows came early. After her father is sent to jail, eleven-year-old Groovy Robinson must decide if she can forgive the failings of someone she loves. (

Lowry, Lois. Crow call. Nine-year-old Liz accompanies the stranger who is her father, just returned from the war, when he goes hunting for crows in Pennsylvania farmland. (

Turner, Amber McRee. Sway. Ten-year-old Cass’s attitude changes after her mother, whom she idolizes, leaves her behind, and her father who previously seemed boring and practical, takes her on a summer road trip in which he shows her the creative, magical side of himself. (

Vanderpool, Clare. Moon over Manifest. Twelve-year-old Abilene Tucker is the daughter of a drifter who, in the summer of 1936, sends her to stay with an old friend in Manifest, Kansas, where he grew up, and where she hopes to find out some things about his past. (

Wilson, Jacqueline. Candyfloss. When her mother plans to move to Australia with her new husband and baby, Floss must decide whether her loyalties lie with her mother or her father, while at the same time, her best friend begins to make fun of her and reject her. (

Grief/Loss (Subject matter appeal):

Cooper, Illene. Angel in my pocket. When seventh-grader Bette finds an angel coin she puts it in her pocket and forgets it, but soon the mysterious and kind Gabby moves into her building and helps her face her major losses, and then the coin connects her with three classmates who all find new ways to believe in themselves. (

Lopez, Diana. Confetti girl. After the death of her mother, Texas sixth-grader Lina’s grades and mood drop as she watches her father lose himself more and more in books, while her best friend uses Lina as an excuse to secretly meet her boyfriend. (

Platt, Chris. Astra. Forbidden to ride after her mother’s death in a riding accident, thirteen-year-old Lily nurses her mother’s beloved horse, Astra, back to health, hoping that someday Astra will win the Tevis Cup endurance race. (

Moving to a new place (Subject matter appeal):

Alvarez, Julia. How Tia Lola came to stay. When Miguel’s Tia Lola comes from the Dominican Republic to Vermont to help out his Mami, Miguel is worried, that his unusual aunt will make it even more difficult to make new friends. (

Bauer, Joan. Almost home. Sixth-grader Sugar and her mother lose their beloved house and experience the harsh world of homelessness. (

DiCamillo, Kate. Because of Winn-Dixie. Ten-year-old India Opal Buloni describes her first summer in the town of Naomi, Florida, and all the good things that happen to her because of her big, ugly dog Winn-Dixie. (

Freeman, Martha. Year my parents ruined my life. Twelve-year-old Kate has her entire world turned upside-down when she has to move from California to snowy Pennsylvania, where she tries to adjust to a new climate, a new school, and new friends. (

Hale, Marian. Truth about sparrows. Twelve-year-old Sadie promises that she will always be Wilma’s best friend when their families leave drought-stricken Missouri in 1933, but once in Texas, Sadie learns that she must try to make a new home – and new friends, too. (

Holt, Kimberly Willis. Piper Reed, Navy brat. Piper is sad about leaving her home and friends behind when her father, a Navy aircraft mechanic, is transferred yet again, but with help from her often-annoying sisters and a surprise from their parents, she finds happiness in their new home in Pensacola, Florida. (

Lombard, Jenny. Drita, my homegirl. When ten-year-old Drita and her family, refugees from Kosovo, move to New York, Drita is teased about not speaking English well, but after a popular student named Maxine is forced to learn about Kosovo as a punishment for teasing Drita, the two girls soon bond. (

O’Dell, Kathleen. Ophie out of Oz. Fourth-grader Ophelia Peeler has always felt that she was just like Dorothy in Oz, skipping down the yellow brick road, until a move to Oregon, away from her best friend, sends her on a different path. (

Stories set in Africa (Setting/Plot appeal):

Kamkwamba, William & Mealer, Bryan. Boy who harnessed the wind. When 14-year-old William Kamkwamba’s Malawi village was hit by a drought in 2001, everyone’s crops began to fail. His family didn’t have enough money for food, let alone school, so William spent his days in the library. He came across a book on windmills and figured out how to build a windmill that could bring electricity to his village. Everyone thought he was crazy but William persevered and managed to create a functioning windmill out of junkyard scraps. Several years later he figured out how to use the windmill for irrigation purposes. (

Michael, Jan. City boy. In the southern African country of Malawi, after the AIDS-related deaths of both of his parents, a boy leaves his affluent life in the city to live in a rural village, sharing a one-roomed hut with his aunt, his cousins, and other orphans. (

Morris, Gilbert. Dixie & Flash. Dixie Morris is in Africa with her missionary parents. She makes friends right away: Wamba, an African boy just her age, and Laski, his younger sister. And Flash, the beautiful cheetah she rescues and trains. (

Napoli, Donna Jo. Mogo, the third warthog. When Mogo is cast out of his burrow to make room for a new litter, he learns how to survive and as an unlikely friendship with a young baboon blooms, Mogo finds the joy of friendship and love. (

St. John, Lauren. The white giraffe. After a fire kills her parents, eleven-year-old Martine must leave England to live with her grandmother on a wildlife game reserve in South Africa, where she befriends a mythical white giraffe. (

Whelan, Gloria. Listening for lions. Left an orphan after the influenza epidemic in British East Africa in 1918, thirteen-year-old Rachel is tricked into assuming a deceased neighbor’s identity to travel to England, where her only dream is to return to Africa and rebuild her parents’ mission hospital. (

Informational books about Africa:

De Capua, Sarah. Malawi in pictures. Presents a photographic introduction to the land, history, government, economy, people, and culture of the African country of Malawi. (

Habeeb, William Mark. Africa: facts and figures. Explore Africa: it’s geography, history, government, economy, people, and culture. (

Schaefer, A. R. Spotlight on Africa. An introduction to Africa including climate, landforms, plants, animals, and people. (

Also by the author:

Burg, Shana. A thousand never evers. As the Civil Rights Movement in the South gains momentum in 1963 – and violence against African Americans intensifies – the black residents, including seventh-grader Addie Ann Pickett, in the small town of Kuckachoo, Mississippi, begin their own courageous struggle for racial justice. (


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