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Moonflower

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Moon has been plunged into a swill of uncertainty and confusion. They travel to the spirit realms every night, hoping never to return to the world of the living. But when the realm is threatened, it's up to Moon to save the spirit world, which sparks their own healing journey through the powerful, baffling, landscape that depression can cause. Moon’s mom is trying her best, Moon has been plunged into a swill of uncertainty and confusion. They travel to the spirit realms every night, hoping never to return to the world of the living. But when the realm is threatened, it's up to Moon to save the spirit world, which sparks their own healing journey through the powerful, baffling, landscape that depression can cause. Moon’s mom is trying her best, but is clueless about what to do to reach the ugly roiling of her child’s inner struggles. At the same time, though, there are those who see Moon for who they are – Blue, the Keeper, the Magician, Wolf. These creature-guides help Moon find a way out of darkness. The ethereal aspects of the story are brilliantly blended with real-world glimmers of light. Slowly, Moon grows toward hope and wholeness, showing all children that each and every one of us has a tree growing inside. That our souls emerge when we discover, and fully accept, ourselves.


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Moon has been plunged into a swill of uncertainty and confusion. They travel to the spirit realms every night, hoping never to return to the world of the living. But when the realm is threatened, it's up to Moon to save the spirit world, which sparks their own healing journey through the powerful, baffling, landscape that depression can cause. Moon’s mom is trying her best, Moon has been plunged into a swill of uncertainty and confusion. They travel to the spirit realms every night, hoping never to return to the world of the living. But when the realm is threatened, it's up to Moon to save the spirit world, which sparks their own healing journey through the powerful, baffling, landscape that depression can cause. Moon’s mom is trying her best, but is clueless about what to do to reach the ugly roiling of her child’s inner struggles. At the same time, though, there are those who see Moon for who they are – Blue, the Keeper, the Magician, Wolf. These creature-guides help Moon find a way out of darkness. The ethereal aspects of the story are brilliantly blended with real-world glimmers of light. Slowly, Moon grows toward hope and wholeness, showing all children that each and every one of us has a tree growing inside. That our souls emerge when we discover, and fully accept, ourselves.

30 review for Moonflower

  1. 4 out of 5

    Cody Roecker

    can't wait to watch Kacen win the National Book Award again because holy moly this book is special can't wait to watch Kacen win the National Book Award again because holy moly this book is special

  2. 4 out of 5

    lyraand

    "middle grade novel Moonflower by National Book Award winner Kacen Callender (King and the Dragonflies). The story is about 12-year-old Moon who struggles with depression and travels to the spirit realms every night, hoping never to return to the world of the living again. But when the realm is threatened, it's up to Moon to save the spirit world, sparking their own healing journey." "middle grade novel Moonflower by National Book Award winner Kacen Callender (King and the Dragonflies). The story is about 12-year-old Moon who struggles with depression and travels to the spirit realms every night, hoping never to return to the world of the living again. But when the realm is threatened, it's up to Moon to save the spirit world, sparking their own healing journey."

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jaimie

    ***ARC provided by the publisher for review What a fun little book! Semi-autobiographical in nature, Kacen Callender draws from their own life experience growing up with depression, but brings the story into a new and magical realm (literally as well as figuratively) by having our narrator, Moon, experience another world. Moon visits the spirit realms as a means of escaping the real world when he dreams, providing a veritable playground for Callender to explore metaphors around choosing death or ***ARC provided by the publisher for review What a fun little book! Semi-autobiographical in nature, Kacen Callender draws from their own life experience growing up with depression, but brings the story into a new and magical realm (literally as well as figuratively) by having our narrator, Moon, experience another world. Moon visits the spirit realms as a means of escaping the real world when he dreams, providing a veritable playground for Callender to explore metaphors around choosing death or reality, the power of imagination and fear, and learning to spot guardians and nemeses without seeming preachy about mental health and the challenges therein. In the spirit realm, Moon must make choices about who he allies himself with, must face the consequences of making the wrong choices, and learn to love himself (and others) before he begins to find answers to his depression in the real world. It is hard, of course, to see Moon suffer through what is obviously much more than a simple adventure story (hindsight and knowledge makes the underlying motifs clear from the outset), but this kind of story – wrapped as it is in a clever and poetic narrative – is one that so many young people need. To know that they suffer as Moon does and be seen, even though there are no easy answers or solutions to depression (or any other mental health issue).

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

    A beautiful depiction of depression and the journey of a young person learning to love themselves. Moon does not want to be in this world anymore. There’s too much pain and suffering. They visit the spirit realm every night, but aren’t allowed to stay because they are living. Then Moon makes a mistake that puts those living and in other realms spirits in jeopardy. They have to learn to love themselves and believe in hope in order to right their wrongs. I have a hard time reading about depression a A beautiful depiction of depression and the journey of a young person learning to love themselves. Moon does not want to be in this world anymore. There’s too much pain and suffering. They visit the spirit realm every night, but aren’t allowed to stay because they are living. Then Moon makes a mistake that puts those living and in other realms spirits in jeopardy. They have to learn to love themselves and believe in hope in order to right their wrongs. I have a hard time reading about depression and suicidal thoughts because so often the solution is too easy. The main character learns that their life IS worth living and then moves forward. This book did a much better job of questioning the easy mantras and instead made it a true fight and facing the shadows that living inside. Callender recognizes generational trauma and that there is no easy fix. That even once a person begins their journey of self love, that they will still feel sad sometimes. Occasionally, the plot lost me, but the narrative would put me back on track within a few pages. A unique look at depression through the eyes of a child. And a reminder that adults don’t have all of the answers.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sawyer Chen

    I received this ARC from Under the Umbrella - a queer little bookstore in Salt Lake City, UT "I will never be happy" This book wrecked me. Reading Moon's thoughts made me remember my own childhood struggles through depression and how many thoughts they and I shared. They are so profoundly sad and Kacen Callender really captures a child struggling with past bullying, generational trauma, and surviving a pandemic that changed their entire world. "I decided to believe, even for a moment, that I deser I received this ARC from Under the Umbrella - a queer little bookstore in Salt Lake City, UT "I will never be happy" This book wrecked me. Reading Moon's thoughts made me remember my own childhood struggles through depression and how many thoughts they and I shared. They are so profoundly sad and Kacen Callender really captures a child struggling with past bullying, generational trauma, and surviving a pandemic that changed their entire world. "I decided to believe, even for a moment, that I deserve to exist. That I know there are people who also know my worth." The sheer growth in Moon's journey was so captivating and when they cried I cried along with them. I think as adults we forget how much pain a child can really feel and this book stands as a reminder to show compassion to these kids. Especially kids like Moon who feel invalidated by their world every single day. There are so many kids like Moon and this book needs to reach their hands and the hands of those who love them.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Claiborne

    I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. What a powerful little story! The author pulls from personal experience to introduce us to Moon, a young child who suffers from depression. Moon visits the spirit realm and, with the help of guardians and others, learns how to love who they are. The reader is taken on a fascinating journey. If one has never experienced depression, it is an eye-opener. If one has experienced depression, this story feels like being understood on I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. What a powerful little story! The author pulls from personal experience to introduce us to Moon, a young child who suffers from depression. Moon visits the spirit realm and, with the help of guardians and others, learns how to love who they are. The reader is taken on a fascinating journey. If one has never experienced depression, it is an eye-opener. If one has experienced depression, this story feels like being understood on the deepest levels. This little book has the potential to give voice and hope to so many children. I cannot wait to place it on the shelf at my library.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    An incredibly innovative book by Kacen Callender that turns the experience of living with depression into a fantastical world of going into a spirit realm. For some readers this will be the exact book they need. For others it will be triggering. I found it to be both, which is why, despite the short page length, it took me over a month to complete. As teachers and librarians, we need to be aware that just because students might identify with the main character's struggles, it might be too tender An incredibly innovative book by Kacen Callender that turns the experience of living with depression into a fantastical world of going into a spirit realm. For some readers this will be the exact book they need. For others it will be triggering. I found it to be both, which is why, despite the short page length, it took me over a month to complete. As teachers and librarians, we need to be aware that just because students might identify with the main character's struggles, it might be too tender a subject for them to read at a given time.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jade

    this is releasing on my birthday i am SO HAPPY

  9. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    1

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ty Miller-Gauthier

  11. 5 out of 5

    Marisa Repin

  12. 5 out of 5

    Krystal Cruz

  13. 4 out of 5

    Calyssa

  14. 5 out of 5

    Cleo Harper

  15. 5 out of 5

    reverse charles

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mimi

  17. 5 out of 5

    Avery Silverberg

  18. 4 out of 5

    Munro's Kids

  19. 4 out of 5

    B

  20. 4 out of 5

    Fuckyoucharles

  21. 4 out of 5

    Emily Bost

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lira

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sarai Delfin

  24. 5 out of 5

    Megan Brotemarkle

  25. 5 out of 5

    Erin Andriamahefa

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Klassen

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

  28. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn Bruce

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Melleby

  30. 4 out of 5

    André

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