by Sharon Creech, published 1994
“Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins.”
If young readers came away from this profoundly moving children’s book with only the above as their understanding, that alone could change the world. Imagine how our culture would develop if each child learned at a young age to develop tolerance and true empathy. Wow! And yet, Walk Two Moons offers so much more than just that one superb lesson, each insight equally worthy.
This is the second time I read this book. The first time, the ultimate outcome and resolution too me completely by surprise. I never guessed. (And I won’t tell, so as not to spoil it.) However, on the second read, knowing how it ends, I was thoroughly impressed with the skill that Creech used in dropping hints, without ever giving too much away. The ending is right there, even in the beginning, but I never saw it. So the second read is even more rewarding, as I was able to admire the craft and skill of the storyteller.
This is not an easy book. Despite the various publisher recommendations, I personally would say PG13 and older, and would have omitted it from this website, as I wanted to focus on books for younger children. However, it is such a good book, that I felt it must be included as a great piece of children’s literature. More properly, it is young adult literature. Even the libraries disagree on how to categorize it…some branches puts in in Juvenile, other in Young Adult. That says to me that the PG is appropriate. Parents must decide.
Why? Because there are several very mature topics: death of a parent, out-of-wedlock children, stillborn birth…just to name a few! And yet, the book is not morose, depressing, or heavy. The amazing skill in this book is that you experience all this through the eyes of a thirteen-year-old, and therefore, much of it is quite matter of fact. That being said, I cried at the ending, all through the last few chapters.
Definitely a compelling children’s book to read. I’d encourage parents of younger (12-year-olds) to read it first.