Moon Over Manifest
How cool would it be to write your very first book and have it win an award? Well, it happened to Clare Vanderpool. Actually, it happens to a surprising number of folks. That may explain why this book isn't as polished as I felt it could be. Nonetheless, it's an engaging read. I knew it had won the Newbery when I read it, and that always makes me expect to be blown away. Which I wasn't.
Manifest is essentially about a girl who's struggling to understand her roots, get reconnected with her father, and solve a mystery that occurred before her time. It covers both Depression era as well as WWI era. Twelve-year-old Abilene is a likable enough and spunky heroine (she was almost spunky in a cliche-d sort of way). The rest of the cast is also entertaining and fairly well developed. Speakeasies, the KKK, immigration, miners--they all get treatment in this charming story. I found the "Rattler" element a bit distracting and underwhelming, but in general Manifest is a good read.
Recommended: middle-upper elementary school; middle school
Things to Note/Discuss
- alcohol is definitely present in this story, but the children don't engage in drinking. However, some of the more likable characters do things like run a speakeasy. One thing that comes through in this story, though, is the way we can misjudge other people--they might be caring and self-sacrificing even though they are engaging in an activity of which we don't approve. So, what's our response in that situation?
- How do people misjudge others in this story?
- Prejudice against a group of people causes hurt. What are the different groups that get mistreated in this book as a result of prejudice? Did the KKK only target Southern blacks?
- What would it be like to be an immigrant to another country? What would you miss most from your home/life right now?