Moon is a young girl, sitting on the beach, when a sea turtle approaches her, beckoning her to join him in a journey through our planet. He quietly shows her the havoc people have wreaked on our environment: extinction, oil spills and pollution, global warming among a mere few of the methods. A message of hope and rebirth infuses Moon with purpose and action to protect the environment, and just as importantly, the living creatures we share it with.
Moon’s Messenger, by Virginia Kroll/Illustrated by Zusanna Celej (March 2016, Cuento de Luz), $16.95, ISBN: 9788416147205.
Recommended for ages 5-10
Moon’s Messenger is a powerful tale about conservation and activism, relying on watercolor images that are as heartbreaking as they are beautiful: a tired polar bear, trying to find an iceberg to rest on; local wildlife, deer and raccoons, ransacking residential garbage because their habitats are disappearing, giving way to more and more homes for people; sea life covered in oil and suffocating. And then, the turtle lays its eggs, and it’s beautiful again. There’s hope in the world, because there’s life, and now, one child knows what she has to do.
The text and images are not subtle – the author and artist are not hiding their message, and they are appealing to our next generation. Endpapers alternately draw you in and warn you about what you’re going to read – an ocean floor with the skeletons of extinct animals to bring you in, and to lead you out, the same image, but with information about green sea turtles, the dangers they face in our environment, and a call to action to readers: What will you do to help?
I loved this book, I loved the message, and I’m going to make sure it’s an Earth Day (April 22) storytime for my little ones. The small, black font takes nothing away from the images, and reading this aloud may be a bit of a challenge unless you’ve familiarized yourself with the story a couple of times. The text and ideas are better for a Kindergarten – Grade 2 audience, and pairing a reading with a reduce/reuse/recycling activity will let kids see how they can contribute to making the world a better place with their own two hands. Teach the kids in your life to respect nature, respect biodiversity, and respect our planet, and use this book as a valuable guide. I’d love to see an educators’ guide to this book with further resources and exercises for younger kids.