Wednesday, November 19, 2008

BIRD LAKE MOON by Kevin Henkes

I love Kevin Henkes. I love Chrysanthemum and Lilly and Wemberly. But I am also a HUGE fan of his children's novels. When I read THE BIRTHDAY ROOM several years ago, it quickly became a favorite and it ended up being one of the most powerful books I read aloud to my 5th grade class that year. So, I picked up BIRD LAKE MOON as soon as it came out last spring. But I bought it when things were busy and I had not time to read and somehow I forgot that I had it.

Last week, one of our third grade teachers reminded me of the book. She came in telling me she had read the book and that she LOVED it! It was just the reminder I needed to get back to this book. I read it on the plane on my way to NCTE and was not disappointed.

Henkes develops amazing characters. He does it with his picture book characters and he does it with the characters in this book. He is all about good characters who we know and love.

In this story, two boys become friends and each is dealing with his own family issues. Henkes alternates back and forth between the characters and you come to like and understand both characters well. You come to understand the stresses they are dealing with and you understand the choices that they make--both good and bad. Both boys are doing a lot of growing up and learning to deal with pain.

I have a hard time finding books with enough depth for younger (3rd/4th grade) children to talk about. I often find that either books are too shallow with not enough interesting issues OR they are too much for 8, 9 and 10 year olds. This book is perfect for upper elementary students. There are enough issues with the characters and things you find yourself thinking about, that it seems perfect for a read aloud or a book for a book club.

I continue to be amazed by Henkes talent. The fact that he can write well for so many different ages is fascinating to me. I look forward to whatever it is he decides to write next!


  1. I love Henkes' novels too. I can't wait to read this!
    P.S. And I'm sooo sad that I am not at NCTE.

  2. This looks like a great read! I love Kevin Henkes. I just finished a Kevin Henkes unit with my first and second grade students. He does such an amazing job creating memorable characters. Lilly remains my favorite.
    Thank you for bringing this book to my attention.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing this! I am a huge Henkes fan, but I've never read anything besides his picture books.

  4. Kevin Henkes is amazing...but I didn't know about this book! thank you....I love books that give children an opportunity to discuss important (yet difficult ) issues.
    Thanks again!

  5. Well, I didn't even know that Henkes wrote novels! I have a lot to learn. Thanks--I can't wait to get a hold of them. It sounds like they are just as good as the picture books.

  6. I have had this book in my pile since summer, and just never opened it. Thanks for the kickstart to make that happen!!


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