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Homeschooling Resources, Resources: MANY MOONS

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Resources, Resources: MANY MOONS

By Rebecca Rupp


Moon Day is July 20!

Anybody studying the moon? It’s a great lead-in to MOON DAY – which falls each year on July 20, the anniversary of the day in 1969 when Neil Armstrong took his giant leap for mankind. And, of course, it’s fascinating any old time.

The Moon and Little Ones

In Kevin Henkes’s, Kitten’s First Full Moon (Greenwillow Books, 2004), Kitten is convinced that the moon is a bowl of milk in the sky and is determined to get it. She fails time and again (“Poor Kitten!”) and finally tumbles into a pond chasing the moon’s reflection. Wet, tired, and hungry, Kitten returns home – to find a comforting bowl of milk waiting for her on the porch. For ages 2-5.

Follow along in a reading of Kitten’s First Full Moon on You Tube at

Though traditionally the moon is said to be made of green cheese, when Rosie inquires in Lisa Shulman’s The Moon Might be Milk (Dutton Juvenile Books, 2007), the local animals all have other ideas. Cat thinks it’s a saucer of milk; Hen opts for an egg; Dog says butter; Butterfly, sugar; and Mouse, flour. Finally all arrive at Rosie’s grandmother’s house, where Gran combines all the guesses to cook up a batch of moon-shaped cookies. A recipe for Gran’s Sugar Cookie Moons is included. For ages 3-8.

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In Ezra Jack Keats’s Regards to the Man in the Moon (Viking Juvenile Books, 2009), Louie is upset because the other kids call his father the “junkman” – until Louie’s dad shows him how junk plus imagination can become a fabulous spaceship. For ages 4-8.

In the Guardians of Childhood series, William Joyce’s The Man in the Moon (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2011) is the magnificently illustrated tale of the Man in the Moon – who, it turns out, wasn’t always a Man and wasn’t always on the Moon. As a child, the Man in the Moon (MiM) travels through space with his parents in the Moon Clipper, a gorgeous spherical spaceship. Then Pitch, King of Nightmares, moves in, determined to capture MiM. A battle ensues, in which MiM’s parents and his caretaker, Nightlight, are lost, after which MiM takes up residence on the moon. There, determined to protect the hopes and dreams of children on Earth, he becomes a Guardian of Childhood, along with his allies: a toymaker, a rabbit with a passion for candy eggs, a fairy who leaves prizes under pillows, a storyteller, and a sleepy little man with a love for dreams. For ages 6 and up.

For a free printable activity book of puzzles and projects to accompany The Man in the Moon, illustrated with images from the book, see

In James Thurber’s Many Moons (Sandpiper, 1998) – my favorite moon book of all time – the little Princess Lenore, sick from a surfeit of raspberry tarts, refuses to get well until she’s given the moon. The king’s advisors all fail to help (“Nobody can get the moon,” said the Royal Wizard. “It is 150,000 miles away, and it is made of green cheese, and it is twice as big as the palace.”) Finally the wise Court Jester, with a little help from the princess herself, solves the problem. A delight for all ages.

What Do Raspberry Tarts Have to Do with the Moon?

For a kid-friendly recipe for the Princess Lenore’s raspberry tarts, see The Kid Can Cook at

In Grace Lin’s Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2011), Minli and her parents eke out a miserable existence in a mud-colored village in the valley of the Fruitless Mountain, where in the evenings Minli’s father tells her wonderful tales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man in the Moon. Then Minli spends a precious coin to buy a goldfish, hoping to bring fortune to the family. Instead, the fish is just another mouth to feed, so Minli sets it free. In gratitude, the fish tells her how to find Never-Ending Mountain, the home of the Old Man in the Moon, who knows everything. Off she goes on an adventure-laden quest, during which she befriends a dragon – and ultimately she attains her heart’s desire. The story is punctuated with wonderful thought-provoking Chinese folktales. For ages 8-12.

For a downloadable activity book and board game to accompany Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, see Grace Lin’s website at

In Robert Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (Orb Books, 1997), the moon is former penal colony, still governed by a Warden, the representative of the Earth-based Authority, which now exploits lunar natural resources for huge profits. The oppressed natives (“Loonies”) – whose adaptation to the moon’s low gravity prevents them from ever returning to Earth – eventually rise in revolt, under the leadership of Mannie, the narrator, a one-armed computer technician, the elderly Professor Bernardo de la Paz (exiled to the moon for political subversion), the radical (and gorgeous) Wyoming Knott, and a newly sentient computer nicknamed Mike, who has a brilliant brain and a low taste in jokes. A good discussion book. For ages 13 and up.

Stephen Krensky’s The Great Moon Hoax (Carolrhoda Books, 2011) is the picture-book story of the famous historical hoax of 1835 perpetrated by a reporter for the New York Sun who, in a series of six exciting articles, claimed that astronomer John Herschel, using a new ultra-powerful telescope, had identified life on the moon. (Lunar Buffalo! Moon Beavers! Man-Bats!) Told through the eyes of two young newsboys, Jake and Charlie, with historical background on city life in the early 19th century. For ages 6-9.

The complete illustrated text of the original New York Sun articles with historical background information can be found at the Museum of Hoaxes website at

The Moon and Joseph Bruchac

In Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back by Joseph Bruchac and Jonathan London (Puffin, 1997) the thirteen scales on Old Turtle’s back represent, in Native American lore, the thirteen lunar months of the year. The book has an evocative poem for each lunar moon from the Moon of Popping Trees and Baby Bear Moon through Moose-Calling Moon and Moon When the Wolves Run Together. Each is illustrated with a lush oil painting by Thomas Locker. For ages 6 and up.

“Turtle Time: Creating and Using a 13-Moon Calendar” at has instructions for making a lunar calendar with a printable turtle template.

Faith McNulty’s If You Decide to Go to the Moon (Scholastic Press, 2005) is a conversational travel manual for potential lunar astronauts, written in the conversational style of How to Dig a Hole to the Other Side of the World (1979), with illustrations by Steven Kellogg. A little boy sets off for the moon in his own rocket ship (“Check the things you will need: space suit, air tanks, books, and games.”), shooting through space to land in the Sea of Tranquility. Moon facts are tucked into the narrative; and a pair of fold-out spreads emphasizes the differences between the empty landscape of the moon and the lush life-packed landscape of Earth. For ages 4-9.

Stewart Ross’s Moon: Science, History, and Mystery (Scholastic, 2009) covers everything from moon gods and moon lore to Isaac Newton and the Apollo missions in 128 cleverly designed pages packed with photographs, art reproductions, cool moon facts, and interesting information. An excellent overview for ages 9-12.

From Mensa for Kids, “The Moon” at  is an early-elementary-level lesson plan on the moon, including a crater art project, a printable to-be-filled-out moon phases calendar, and an online moon phase matching game.

Try your hand at mapping the moon. The activity guide at has instructions, a sample moon map, a blank to-be-filled-in moon map, and a list of features to identify. Binoculars are suggested, but optional.

NASA’s downloadable Exploring the Moon Educator Guide at covers lunar science and exploration for grades 4-12 with fact sheets, explanations, illustrations, discussion questions, and many projects and activities.

Catherine Thimmesh’s Team Moon (Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006) – subtitled “How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon” – is an enthralling 80-page picture-book history, illustrated with superb color photographs. Featured are the stories of the many people behind the mission: the seamstresses who made the space suits (twenty-two layers of five different kinds of fabric), the engineers who designed the Portable Life Support Systems, the biologists who worried about lethal lunar bacteria, and many many more. We now take the moon landing for granted – but this book reminds us how complex, difficult, and risky Apollo 11 really was. For ages 10 and up.

For a lesson plan to accompany Team Moon, including discussion questions, printable student worksheets, and a book club guide to the book, see the Science Netlinks website at

From the PBS Design Squad Nation in collaboration with NASA, “On the Moon” at is a downloadable activity guide of moon-mission-related engineering projects variously appropriated for grades 3-8. For example, kids design an air-powered rocket that can hit a distant target, build a rubber-band-powered car, construct a cardboard crane and test its load-lifting capacity, and make and operate a solar water heater. Included in the guide are complete instructions and student activity sheets.

“Moon Poems and Poetry” at has links to dozens of moon-themed poems, including works by Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost, William Butler Yeats, Emily Dickinson,  A.E. Housman, Li Po, and many more.

A brief history and lyrics to the French folk song “Au Claire de la Lune” (“By the Light of the Moon”) can be found at Listen to “Au Claire de la Lune” at Or sing along. In French.

And, of course, there’s much more. Visit my Resource blog at for “All About the Moon.”

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