May 25, 2017

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Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton | SLJ Review

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MoonHilton, Marilyn. Full Cicada Moon. 400p. ebook available. Dial. Sept. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780525428756.

Gr 4-8–Mimi tells her story in this novel in verse that will resonate with fans of Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming (Penguin, 2014). The seventh grader describes arriving in small-town Vermont from Berkeley in 1969. While filling out a form, the teen is perplexed by which ethnicity to check off: her father is a black college professor, and her mother is Japanese (they married when he was a soldier stationed overseas). In 1969, mixed race is not an option on the form, nor is Oriental the same as Japanese. Mimi is fascinated by space and the moon landing. She designs a science project for school that requires the use of power tools—all this during a time when girls were not expected to be interested in science and were required to take home economics rather than shop. When Mimi bucks convention, there are repercussions and punishments. She weathers these with support from a smart girlfriend as well as a loyal and tender boy next door. Mimi’s parents are engaged in and support the budding scientist’s projects. This novel stands out with its thoughtful portrayal of race and its embrace of girls in science and technical fields. The verse, though spare, is powerful and evocative, perfectly capturing Mimi’s emotional journey. VERDICT An excellent addition to the growing shelf of novels in verse with culturally diverse protagonists.–Amy Thurow, New Glarus School District, WI

This review was published in School Library Journal‘s August 2015 issue.

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