Walk Two Moons
by Sharon Creech (1994)
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The 1995 Newbery winner from Sharon Creech.
Walk Two Moons is the book that established Creech’s trademark style. Salamanca Tree Hiddle is 13, on a trip with her grandparents. Creech and her protagonist are both story weavers. Sal is on the trip to find her mother. Along the way she tells expiating cathartic stories about a friend and her missing mother. Sal also listens and learns from her grandmother’s story. Three stories weave together in a comple, rewarding, emotional braid. It’s a lot to manage, but also a rich, realistic way to portray all the stuff swirling on the mind of a young adolescent – an identity emerging.
Though told in first person narrative by the thirteen-year-old girl Sal, the pages are still full of ageless wisdom. A huge range of personal challenges are bravely faced by all the characters. Love is a core value that is addressed or discovered from each of these challenges. Salamnca’s grandparents help here appreciate the simple things in life and nature. Creech presents a gathering of moments where berry tastes and bird songs uplift, and trees are kissed in utter appreciation. National landmarks such as Mount Rushmore, The Badlands, and Yellowstone are all important stops on their journey. Indian pride permeates and “blood percolates” (pg.234). Walk Two Moons is rich in detail and emotion.
After completing Walk Two Moons, your readers, too, will want to experience life in all its fullness, and unexpectedly find a new empathy and love for all, just being themselves, in a sometimes-harsh world. Your community of readers will learn how to walk comfortably in other’s moccasins and be more attuned to see and notice hidden moods and sorrows in others.
If you are in search of a One School, One Book middle school title, where empathy spreads deep and wide, read Walk Two Moons. At 280 pages, it makes for a terrific, affecting, three-week school-wide immersion.