fp September 2015
Full Cicada Moon
from Penguin Random House...
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, Mimiís
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 neighbours balk at her mixed-race family and her
refusals to conform, Mimiís dreams of becoming an astronaut never
fadeóno matter how many times sheís told no.
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Good verse novels allow readers to really get into a characterís mind and see the world from their perspective and Marilyn Hiltonís Full Cicada Moon is one such novel. Set in 1969 it follows Mimi, a mixed race seventh grader who has just moved with her Japanese mother from California to Vermont where they will join her black father who moved earlier to take up a position as college professor. Mimi lives in a time when race is an issue and being half Japanese half black does not help. Her new neighbour wonít speak to the family and fellow students at school are not much better. But Mimi has courage and a love of astronomy and makes a friend with Stacey, a southern white girl and Timothy the boy from next door. Slowly Mimi finds her place and even affects changeÖ
What a beautiful story this is. Mimiís emotional journey during her first year in Vermont is moving and inspiring. Mimiís actions in the face of racism and sexism are commendable and the love and warmth from her family and friends are what get her through. I loved the characters and the slow build up of friendship, acceptance and change. Highly recommended for readers 10 plus.