Full Cicada Moon

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"Check only one,

it says. …

 

I am 

 

half Mama,

 

half Papa,

 

and all me.

 

Isn’t that all anyone needs to know?"

-Mimi from Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton

From Amazon:

It's 1969, and the Apollo 11 mission is getting ready to go to the moon. But for half-black, half-Japanese Mimi, moving to a predominantly white Vermont town is enough to make her feel alien. Suddenly, Mimi's appearance is all anyone notices. She struggles to fit in with her classmates, even as she fights for her right to stand out by entering science competitions and joining Shop Class instead of Home Ec. And even though teachers and neighbors balk at her mixed-race family and her refusals to conform, Mimi’s dreams of becoming an astronaut never fade—no matter how many times she’s told no.

This historical middle-grade novel is told in poems from Mimi's perspective over the course of one year in her new town, and shows readers that positive change can start with just one person speaking up.

 

Full Cicada Moon is a book that inspires courage. As astronauts take their first step on the moon, Mimi has her first day at an all new predominantly white school. The book follows Mimi’s first year in Vermont as she tries to make friends, fit in and find her place. 

This novel in verse is full of important themes and ideas I want my kids to think about:

  • What does courage look like?
  • How we treat people matters.
  • People are so much more than their “race” so take the time to get to know them.

Through Mimi's story, the author gives us a glimpse of what it feels like to be slighted and/or treated differently because of how you look. And at the same time, she depicts what a loving/supportive family looks like in the midst of it.

One of my favorite moments in the book (small spoiler alert) comes after a neighbor visits their home and apologizes for being mean. He had been a pilot that dropped bombs on Japan during World War 2 and interacting with Mimi’s mom (who is Japanese) brought out the worst in him. The following simple conversation between Mimi and her mom, in my opinion, is ponder-worthy.

 

Then I say, “That was weird.”

But Mama says, “That is love.” 

 

There are so many things to love about Full Cicada Moon as well as thoughts to ponder when you're done. It is a touching story filled with interesting characters you quickly find yourself caring about. The novel in verse format makes it a quick, well-written read.

My 12-year old boys both read it and both liked it (I asked for more of an opinion but they are 12-year old boys and that was all I got. The fact that they finished it quickly speaks volumes.) 

Amazon gives a recommended reading age of 8 and up, but I think it will mean more to older kids. I would quickly recommend this book for kids in Jr. High and up, along with their parents, because simply put, it is a really good book.