Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Children's Fiction Friendship

The Moon Watched It All

by (author) Shelley A. Leedahl

illustrated by Aino Anto

Red Deer Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2019
Friendship, General, General
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2019
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 6 to 10
  • Grade: 1 to 5


In a time before this time, when the world moved at a pony's pace, a woman rocked by her window and turned, every evening, to the moon. . .
The woman was neither young nor old, neither happy nor particularly sad. She was known as Mirada, for she was always gazing. Like the moon, she was what she was.

So begins the poignant story of pensive Mirada, a solitary woman who lives in a bygone village far far away. One day she sees a shy orphan boy who has been cast out of his village. She opens her door to him and as time passes the two unlikely solitudes become a necessary part of each other's lives — as the moon watched it all.

Stirring detailed illustrations by Toronto-based Aino Anto provide the moody and moving visuals for this part fairy tale, part modern allegory, expertly told by Shelley Leedahl, from Ladysmith, BC, and author of The Bone Talker.

About the authors

Multi-genre writer Shelley A. Leedahl assuredly shifts her creative focus between critically acclaimed books of poetry, short fiction, novels, and children's literature. With I Wasn't Always Like This the seasoned writer now adds creative non-fiction to her literary repertoire. Her numerous titles include Wretched Beast, Listen, Honey, Orchestra of the Lost Steps, The Bone Talker (with illustrator Bill Slavin), The House of the Easily Amused and A Few Words for January. Leedahl's work has appeared in anthologies ranging from The Best Canadian Poetry in English, 2013 to Great Canadian Murder and Mystery Stories, Slice Me Some Truth: An Anthology of Canadian Creative Nonfiction, Country Roads: Memoirs from Rural Canada, and Outside of Ordinary: Women's Travel Stories. Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Leedahl now makes her home in Ladysmith, BC. Aside from literary writing, she also works as a freelancer, editor, and writing instructor.

Shelley A. Leedahl's profile page

A child of newcomers, Aino Anto grew up one of four rambunctious kids in a big city, with summers spent exploring forest paths. Aino graduated from the University of Toronto and earned an associate’s diploma from the Ontario College of Art, now the Ontario College of Art and Design. Aino’s first picture book is The Moon Watched It All. She lives in a leafy corner of Toronto and still treasures her earliest notebook of stories.


Aino Anto's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Written in richly allusive, atmospheric prose that will keep lovers of words pinned to the page. . . Using such a subdued palette that day can hardly be told from night in her transparent, woodsy watercolors, Ando goes for close-ups of faces (all white) and unframed natural scenes that spill over the trimmed edges or fade into open space. It's pitched most directly to older audiences, but younger ones may catch some of the sonic, thematic, and emotional resonances."
Kirkus Reviews

"Shelley A. Leedahl's intense story may be in prose form but its intensity parallels that of poetry, steeped in the melancholy of Miranda and the isolation and trepidation of the boy. There is a stillness of person and place that seeps into the story which is far more extensive in text and lyricism than in books typically for the very young. As such it has a strength of message that is both serene and profound. It bears being read over and over to capture the importance of the text and its voice of solemnity and grace. I don't know if that comes from Shelley A. Leedahl's skill as a poet but her words lull and inspire and tug and reassure. The same goes for Aino Anto's illustrations that take the readers through the forest and beneath the moon, watching and waiting as the boy and the woman do. This is Aino Anto's first picture book and her paintings evoke such emotion without indignation at what are sad circumstances for both the boy and for Miranda."
CanLit for LittleCanadians

"A poignant story. . . Stirring detailed illustrations by Toronto-based illustrator Aino Anto provide the moody and moving visuals for this part fairy tale, part modern allegory, so expertly told by Shelley A. Leedahl. A unique, original, and lovely picture book story for children ages 5-9, The Moon Watched It All is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections."
Midwest Book Review

"The Moon Watched It All is quite beautiful. It is a simple story of love and loneliness. An old woman lives her life mostly at night and mostly in solitude but for the moon to whom she talks. A young boy is ostracized and shunned by his village, with no home or family to speak of. When the old woman and the young boy meet, they seem to recognize the loneliness in each other, eventually becoming family. While a simple premise, it is told elegantly. . . Anto's use of light throughout, but especially when depicting the moon, is particularly striking. . . There is one particularly striking two-page spread that features a pair of closed eyes and images of the woman in her rocking chair in the various phases of the moon. It maintains that dream-like quality while highlighting the moon, the main character, and illustrating the passage of time in such a beautiful and effective way.
CM Magazine

Other titles by Shelley A. Leedahl

Other titles by Aino Anto