The Moon Children

Moon Children41-eZ6u0MzL__SY300_The Moon Children

Beverley Brenna, Author

Red Deer Press, Fiction, 2007

Suitable for Ages: 9 and up

Themes:  Fetal Alcoholism Spectrum Disorder (FASD), Foreign Adoption, Friendship, Abilities

Synopsis: Eleven-year-old Billy Ray is unhappy because his father has left home and the things they planned to do together aren’t going to happen.  His mother is pregnant, and works a lot.  A watchful older neighbor is a great cook, invites Billy to visit daily and treats him to a good meal.  School is hard for Billy because he has Fetal Alcoholism Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and he has many challenges.  He can’t sit still without falling out of a chair.  He is unable to focus on schoolwork.  Words get jumbled in his mind and he can’t read.  Billy is a target for bullies.  He wonders what’s wrong with him.  If only he can enter the talent show at the local park and impress his father with the 21 tricks he’s mastered with his Typhoon yo-yo.  Will his father show?

Billy needs a friend and discovers that one of his classmates, an adopted Romanian girl, lives across the street from him.  Natasha never talks and Billy occasionally gets her to smile.  An unlikely friendship develops between the Billy and Natasha and they share secrets.  Billy discovers Natasha is keeping a moon journal.  Every day she draws a picture of the phase of the moon and writes.  He feels her sadness and knows there is a hidden story she’s trying to tell.  His  friendship with Natasha show’s Billy’s many abilities — he’s compassionate, caring, and helps Natasha  when no one else can.  Even though he has his heart set on winning that talent contest, Billy discovers what is most important in his life.

Why I like this book:  Beverley Brenna has chosen complex topics and presented them in a very positive manner, focusing on abilities over challenges.  Brenna writes believable characters that stay with you long after you put the book down.  You don’t realize that Billy has FASD right away, but you experience the roller coaster he rides daily.   FASD is revealed when he overhears his parents talking about “the new baby won’t be like Billy.”  This comment upsets and confuses Billy until he talks with his mother and learns about her drinking problem during her pregnancy with him.  Brenna carefully handles this topic with concern for Billy and his mother.  Brenna also tackles the subject of  Romanian adoptions and the difficult adjustments for the children in their new homes in Canada and America.  This is an excellent book for kids with FASD to read so they can better understand themselves through Billy.  It’s also a good book for the classroom.

Resources:   Beverley Brenna has a teacher’s guide for The Moon Children.   Visit her website to view all the books she’s authored.   And, click here for information on the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS).  The website provides a wealth of information for those interested.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

20 thoughts on “The Moon Children

  1. Beautiful review as always, Pat. Sounds like a very powerful read with deep topics that will keep one glued to the book. I should imagine it would be very hard to put down. Hopefully I will be able to pick it somewhere. Thanks for sharing.

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    • Diane, it is an excellent read and I was happy to find a book about a boy with Fetal Alcholism. However the story is so much more than that. It really is about friendship and deciding what is important. You would enjoy Bev’s story.

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  2. Oh gosh, I didn’t realize that Bev had a new book out. She has such a talent for tackling difficult topics and children with unique abilities. This is definitely going on my TBR list.

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    • Joanna, it’s not a new book. It’s one of her ealier books. Yes Bev does have a talent for tackling tough topics and showing them in a positive manner. This is the first story for youth I’ve found on the subject of FASD. I love the focus on Billy’s abilities.

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  3. That cover really caught my eye. And then the topic. I have worked with kids with FASD. It’s not a condition that is talked about much. And I know that those kids have such a hard time. This sounds like an excellent story to address such an issue. Thanks for sharing!

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    • It is much more common than people realize. As you know there are certain physical traits, but I believe it impacts each child differently. I think it is a great book to share with a kid with FASD. I would imagine Rhythm works well with kids with FASD. You do such good work.

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    • Yes, I really liked Bev’s focus on the character’s abilities. You don’t really know right away that Billy has FASD. And I enjoyed how Natashia’s story unfolded with Billy’s help. Great book for all kids to read.

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  4. This sounds really complex and emotional. Such a difficult subject to tackle. And you are right, it would be good for other children to know about such things and help develop their compassion and understanding of why some children behave differently.

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