Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
Many people may read this book solely because it is the 2011 Newbery winner, but I want to tell everyone in the world - adults and children - to read this book!!!!! It amazes me that this is the author’s first novel. It is the BEST children’s novel I have read in awhile, and, as a children’s librarian, I read a lot of books every year.
Young Abilene Tucker is sent to her father’s home town of Manifest, Kansas, when he feels he can no longer take care of her properly. At first the town doesn’t seem like much, but as the story unfolds she realizes there is much more here than meets the eye. Abilene and her new friends Lettie and Ruthanne go on a treasure hunt of sorts, learning more about the town’s history and its inhabitants past and present. How can you not be curious about characters named Shady, and the Rattler, and the mysterious Hungarian woman who lives down the “Path to Perdition?” Many different plots wind together seamlessly to come to a satisfying conclusion! I would highly recommend this book to anyone 5th grade and up. It is a joy to read, and little Abilene will touch your heart!