Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 9 to 12
- Grade: 6 to 9
- Reading age: 9 to 12
Staring across the street the day after his alcoholic father disappears, eleven-year-old Billy Ray is startled to see one of his schoolmates, an adopted Romanian girl, gazing at the sky and then writing in a notebook. She is keeping a Moon Journal, cataloguing the phases of the moon to keep alive a secret memory that, eventually, Billy is the first to discover.
Although he has Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and struggles with many things that typical kids take for granted, Billy's curiosity and warmth intrigue Natasha, and the two children develop a friendship that gives them the strength and courage to reveal their deepest secrets and to reach for their dreams.
One of Billy's dreams is to enter a talent contest at the local park. He has been practicing yo-yo tricks over and over again, hoping to impress his father. Things don't turn out as planned, but under unfair circumstances that would make other children give up, Billy proves himself to be a steadfast example of the way hope elicits the power to carry on.
About the author
Beverley Brenna is known for her warm, funny family stories that capture the essence of childhood and champion diversity. Her awards include an international Dolly Gray Award, a Printz Honor Book Award, and a shortlisting for the 2013 Governor General’s Award. Wild Orchid, the title book in a trilogy about a young woman on the Autism Spectrum, is currently listed on CBC’s “100 Young Adult Books That Make You Proud To Be Canadian”. Bev is a professor in Curriculum Studies at the College of Education, University of Saskatchewan, where she teaches English Language Arts subject matter to preservice and inservice teachers. Much of Bev’s writing seeks to fill in gaps in the field of available books, and she considers voices rarely heard in children’s literature. Bev’s many years as a classroom and special education teacher offer her a clear picture of school landscapes, children, and childhood, and the years she spent at home co-parenting three sons continue to inspire new characters and themes.
"Once again, Brenna demonstrates her superb ability to present the world as it is seen through the eyes of a central character with special learning needs."
-- CM Magazine
"It is a delightful story about the importance of being a good friend."
-- Lane Education Service District (5 out of 5 Stars)
The Moon ChildrenBilly is not your average 11-year-old. He suffers from Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, which makes many things other kids take for granted difficult for him. He can read only the most simple of words and has difficulty controlling his reactions to events around him As a result, he’s an easy target for bullies and has few friends. On top of this, his father has deserted the family and his mom, who works as a cleaner in a local third rate hotel, is pregnant with a second child.
Billy needs a friend and finds one in Natasha, a Romanian orphan adopted by a Canadian couple, who live across the street. It becomes clear that Natasha is hiding secrets from her past. Though she never speaks, she keeps a journal with illustrations of the different phases of the moon and other curiosities linked to the secret she cannot speak about.
Billy is a warm and curious child and consequently he and Natasha form a strong bond which allows them to be open with each other about their secrets and dreams.
When Billy enters a talent competition at the local park to show off his yo-yo tricks, things don’t turn out as they planned and he and Natasha find that they need each other more than ever.
Beverley Brenna has given us a poignant and well-written novel about an unusual friendship between two children, who, despite their differences, are able to give each other hope and encouragement.
Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Fall 2007. Vol.30 No.4.
The Moon ChildrenBilly struggles with many things typical kids take for granted. He meets Natasha who’s intrigued by his warmth and curiosity. Their friendship gives them the strength and courage to reveal their deepest secrets.
Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2008.