A Cool Moonlight

A Cool Moonlight

5.0 4
by Angela Johnson
     
 

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Born with a rare and dangerous allergy to sunlight, Lila's spent her life hidden from the daylight-staying covered up and indoors until dark, only venturing outside after the sun has set and the moon's cool light shines. Almost every night, she is visited by two young girls who wear tutus over their jeans and costume fairy wings, and the three of them dance and

Overview

Born with a rare and dangerous allergy to sunlight, Lila's spent her life hidden from the daylight-staying covered up and indoors until dark, only venturing outside after the sun has set and the moon's cool light shines. Almost every night, she is visited by two young girls who wear tutus over their jeans and costume fairy wings, and the three of them dance and tell wonderful stories. But while Lila adores her family and her new friends, still she longs to feel the sun's touch. Lila's mysterious friends have promised to help her . . . but how?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Poignant, evocative, and as lingering as sunburn, Lila's story is one of courage, hope, and dreams. (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)
Publishers Weekly
According to PW, "In lyrical language, the author raises intriguing themes of the supernatural, the lure of nighttime and the heroine's yearning for the sun." Ages 8-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Eight-year-old Lila has a rare allergy to the sun called xedorema pigmentosum. Although she cannot go out during the day or go somewhere that has strong artificial light, the imaginative and life loving girl finds ways to enjoy her limited world. For example, one of her biggest thrills is to ride along with her teenage sister in her beat up old car. She also joyously plays in her back yard at night and is often joined by two magical girls, Elizabeth and Alyssa. The two friends wear fairy wings and always seem to knowingly appear when needed. No one but Lila can see Elizabeth and Alyssa and how they sparkle and glow. The two create a sun bag for Lila, so she can dance in the sun—one of Lila's biggest dreams. When Lila turns nine, she accepts she will be a moon girl instead of a sun goddess, and she also develops a strong friendship with a neighbor boy. Because of the positive changes in her life, the two magical beings only visit her in dreams. Johnson brilliantly tells Lila's tale of acceptance and growth. The book's first person narration and superbly crafted dialogue lovingly captures the soul of an eight year old. The reader does not feel sorry for the girl but instead becomes engrossed in her magical world of moonlight dances and fireflies. 2003, Dial Books, Ages 10 to 15.
— Patricia Silverberg
VOYA
Once in a while a book of prose appears that reads as pure poetry. Such is the case with Johnson's newest novel. Fiercely quiet in its language, this powerful story touches the reader in unexpected ways. It is not the most unusual allergy afflicting the main character Lila that intrigues the audience, so much as it is how Lila uses her imagination to make peace with her condition. In a way that perhaps only the innocent are, Lila comes to a profound and complete acceptance of the situation over which she has no control. Young people and adults alike will be encouraged by the particulars of Lila's story, detailing the enormous harm with which sunlight threatens her. Especially important is how the adults around Lila allow her to grow and come to terms with the dangerous infirmity that would steal her childhood. Although many stories are about love, this one is about the most important love of all-love of self-and for young people, there can be no more important lesson. On the surface, Lila's story measures simple as a song, but straining beneath the unpretentious lyrics, a competing and memorable ensemble of what it means to shine with life reverberates. Courage, hope, and friendship are all found in this little gem of a novel. No library should be without it. VOYA Codes: 5Q 4P M (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2003, Dial, 144p, O'Quinn
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7-"i don't remember the sun. i don't remember the sun or how my sister, monk, says it warms you up-." So begins Lila's unusual, gentle, almost ethereal narration. She has lived in a reverse world for all of her almost nine years, unable to go out in daylight because of a condition called xeroderma pigmentosum, a "defect that made me sensitive to light. the sun. uv rays. some streetlights." Lila goes to a coffee shop called the Fallen Angel with Monk, 18, in her jalopy and has a nighttime friendship with two girls only she sees. The mysterious, perhaps otherworldly Alyssa and Elizabeth recede as Lila celebrates her ninth birthday in a poignant scene in her backyard. Fireflies gently envelop her, a moment shared and enjoyed by her family and neighbors. Lila gradually accepts that being a "moon girl" is just as good as being a "sun goddess." Recognizing that she is different, that her light is softer than the sun, bolsters Lila's inner strength and ultimate self-acceptance. The writing is lyrical and fluid, and uses no capitalization, but captures a child's feelings. "i feel like i've been eight for practically a hundred years-. if i stay eight any longer, I will have gray hair when I turn nine-." This small, poetic book requires a special reader, but those who meet Lila are likely to remember her.-Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The innovative Johnson has crafted an original story in both content and writing style. As eight-year-old Lila tells about being forced to avoid sunlight because of a chromosomal condition (xeroderma pigmentosum), the narrative is written entirely without capitalization, intimating that capital letters are missing like sunlight in Lila’s life. Home-schooled, she lives for nighttime when she can be outside to play with her friends Elizabeth and Alyssa, dressed in their tutus and fairy wings, or to share mutant comic books with David from next door, or when her sister, Monk, drives her to the coffee shop. Even at night she wears a hat and she always wants raisins in cookies because they’ve been kissed by the sun. As Lila grapples with her cruel birthright and fills a secret sun bag with magic, the reader wonders if her fairy friends are real or imagined. Her dreams of becoming a superhero sun-goddess/moon-girl are uniquely realized at her ninth birthday party. Poignant, evocative, and as lingering as sunburn, Lila’s story is one of courage, hope, and dreams. (Fiction. 8-11)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780142402849
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
04/21/2005
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
144
Sales rank:
674,879
Product dimensions:
5.03(w) x 7.06(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
1060L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

I don't remember the sun.

I don't remember the sun or how my sister, Monk, says it warms you up and feels good on your face after dark sunless days in February. Have there ever been sunless days? I can't remember any of them. Do I just not remember or is my sister making up stories like she always does?

I will ask Elizabeth and Alyssa. They will know.

Elizabeth will probably just smile and whisper softly.

Alyssa will laugh loudly and jump around.

They know everything. Secrets and light. Light and secrets. They will know under the shadows of the vining moonflowers that we planted together in May. They will know as we move back and forth on the glider that sits in front of the fence that's protected by the old willow in our backyard.

They will know even though they say that they don't remember the sun either. I think that's just their way of being polite, like mama says people who come over for tea parties in my storybooks are.

Elizabeth and Alyssa will know because they are the best friends a girl who can't remember the sun or ever feel it on her face could have.

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Poignant, evocative, and as lingering as sunburn, Lila's story is one of courage, hope, and dreams. (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

Meet the Author

Angela Johnson has received a great many awards for her novels, poetry collections, and picture books, including two Coretta Scott King Awards (for Toning the Sweep and Heaven) and two Coretta Scott King Honors. Her books have appeared on the ALA Notable, Best Books for Young Adults, and Quick Pick lists, and have been selected as best books of the year by School Library Journal, Booklist, and BCCB.

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Cool Moonlight 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, and can't stop reading it. I've read it three times and counting. Lila is a spunky believer with a great outlook on life. It was a really touching book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lila will change the way you feel about life. She is a strong girl and will never give up.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book 'a cool moonlight' takes you away to another world. You start to relize what it must be like not to ever see or feel the sun. But Lila keeps dreaming and knows someday her dreams will come true.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A simply beautful book. Lila will touch your heart.