Moon over Manifest

Winner of the 2011 Newbery Medal

Written by Clare Vanderpool

Abilene has spent most of her life riding the rails with her father, but in the summer of 1936 he sends her to his once-upon-a-time home town of Manifest, Kansas, telling her that he has to work a railroad job in Iowa alone and that he will return to pick her up at the end of the summer. Her father has always told her happy stories of the town of Manifest and Abilene is warmly welcomed by several of the townsfolk, but she immediately feels that they are holding something back from her. When she finds an old tin filled with mysterious keepsakes and letters under a floorboard, she sets out to discover the secrets of Manifest, and hopefully those of her own father as well.

This is a well-rounded historical novel abounding with great characters, stories and details, ultimately providing an epic view into numerous historical events from what is basically a story of a young girl in a depression-era Midwest town. The small town mysteries, adventures, and con jobs slightly echo The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, while the experiences and stories of individual characters take us far from Main Street to places as diverse as the Ellis Island immigration inspections, tent revivals, orphan trains, a KKK rally, the bottom of a coal mine, influenza quarantines, bootlegging operations, hobo camps, and the French front lines of the first World War. Moon over Manifest is an engaging read that underscores the power of story and will give young readers a taste of many real flavors of American life during the first third of the 20th Century. It was a nice choice for the 2011 Newbery.

Review by Josh Whiting, Granite School District Library Media Department
Rating: Five Stars
Interest Level: Grades 4+

Moon over Manifest
Written by Clare Vanderpool
Delacorte Books for Young Readers / Random House
368 p.
ISBN: 9780385738835
Release Date: October 12, 2010

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10 thoughts on “Moon over Manifest”

  1. I was just about to order this. If I could get a free copy that would be great! Here at Monroe we are anxious to read it and get it out to our students.

  2. I haven’t read this book….we do not have a copy yet, which is why I would choose to write this review. I have set a goal to read all the Newbery Medal books , and this would be next on my list. I have 10 left to complete that do not hold a lot of interest for me, but in order to complete the goal, will eventually have to read. The books that have caught my attention the most were stories written in the 30’s to 50’s. Maybe it is just a time period that I wish I’d grown up in. I’d be happy to write a review after reading this book, even if I’m not one of the first two to write and receive a copy.

    1. @Debbie Solberg: You really have read all but 10 of the Newberys? That’s quite impressive. It’s sort of a goal of mine but I don’t know if I will ever have the tenacity to get that far. I’d have to check the list, but I think I’ve only read 10 or 15 of them in my lifetime, tops. Not a bad start, I guess.

  3. Stacy and Debbie,

    Thanks for looking at the site and commenting! The books will go out to you through district mail today. We will do these kinds of giveaways from time to time to encourage people to look at the new reviews and use the site.

  4. I haven’t read this yet – but do have a copy of it. I picked-up this and the Caldecott book “Interrupting Chicken” at B & N last week. I just want to read any book that isn’t about a dysfunctional family at the moment!! They are too depressing during these dark days of winter!
    Kathy L.
    Twin Peaks Elem.

  5. I have this on my kindle now, I am excited to really get into it, I probably about 25 pages into the first chapter. I had also ordered it from Amazon for my children to read, and we received it after sad news that my little sister had just passed away.. I have to tell you the little girl on the front cover is the spitting image of her my sister. I thought about it for a minute when I picked up the book, but my other sister and mother could not believe the resemblence. I’ll be keeping this one in my library forever.

    1. I read this book on the recommendation of our Media Coordinator. I found the book to be well- written and though provoking. I would like to use it with my William and Mary unit on Patterns of Change.

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