Monday, July 8, 2013

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - Moon Over Manifest

Today's MMGM features the winner of the 2011 Newbery Award. It is a book I've been wanting to read for a while now; I actually received my copy for Christmas in 2011. I can't believe I waited so long! As a side note, after reading another wonderful historical fiction book, I've come to realize the special place in my heart that loves to read them.

by: Clare Vanderpool
Delacorte Press 2010

From Goodreads:
Abilene Tucker feels abandoned. Her father has put her on a train, sending her off to live with an old friend for the summer while he works a railroad job. Armed only with a few possessions and her list of universals, Abilene jumps off the train in Manifest, Kansas, aiming to learn about the boy her father once was.

Having heard stories about Manifest, Abilene is disappointed to find that it’s just a dried-up, worn-out old town. But her disappointment quickly turns to excitement when she discovers a hidden cigar box full of mementos, including some old letters that mention a spy known as the Rattler. These mysterious letters send Abilene and her new friends, Lettie and Ruthanne, on an honest-to-goodness spy hunt, even though they are warned to “Leave Well Enough Alone.”

Abilene throws all caution aside when she heads down the mysterious Path to Perdition to pay a debt to the reclusive Miss Sadie, a diviner who only tells stories from the past. It seems that Manifest’s history is full of colorful and shadowy characters—and long-held secrets. The more Abilene hears, the more determined she is to learn just what role her father played in that history. And as Manifest’s secrets are laid bare one by one, Abilene begins to weave her own story into the fabric of the town.

Why kids will love it - The mystery! Following along as Abilene searches for signs of her father in Manifest's history, as well as searching for the Rattler with Lettie and Ruthanne will keep kids guessing until the end of the book. Piecing together stories of the past and the present and how they are interconnected will have kids wanting to turn the page. I would recommend this to girls, as well as boys.

What I learned as a writer - I can only imagine how much research and time went into writing this book. It is evident from the Author's Note, that the love of history and stories from the past fueled Vanderpool's writing of this story. I admire her attention to detail, which took me back to Kansas in the early 1900's. Her second book, Navigating Early, (which I shared here) also shared this same love. I can't wait for her next book!

For other MMGM links, see the list to the right on my website. I hope you all have a great week!