Blow Out the Moon, by Libby Koponen
It’s funny how you can hate something in one book and embrace it in another. I’ve been pretty blunt about my feelings regarding the Newbery winner Criss Cross (or at least about the fact that it won the Newbery), and I specifically remember especially disliking the illustrations. I felt they were distracting and gimmicky. Blow Out the Moon has illustrations, too. But they actually add to and support the text—there are photos from the author’s childhood, inset definitions and explanations of British slang and customs, reproductions of letters sent home from Libby to her family. It’s a nicely put-together book.
It’s also funny what a difference a little truthfulness can make. Blow Out the Moon is described as a fictionalized memoir. Libby Koponen explains things even more in her acknowledgments, and oftentimes in the picture captions. (You hear me, James Frey? That’s all you needed to do.)
It’s just a nice little story about an American child going to an English boarding school. It isn’t action-packed, although Libby is an extremely active child (both physically and imaginatively). It would make a good, gentle read-aloud for kids who like old-fashioned stories.