A Cool Moonlight

Common Sense Media says

Lyrical tale of girl who must avoid sunlight.





What parents need to know

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that children may wonder why the author gets away with using no capital letters.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Lila, who has a skin condition that prevents her from ever being in sunlight or even certain kinds of artificial light, tells about the two months leading up to her ninth birthday. It's a strange, lonely, moonlit world she inhabits. She can only go out after sunset, and the windows of her house are all darkly tinted. She has a loving older sister, Monk, a neighbor, David, who reads comics with her, and her best friends, Alyssa and Elizabeth, who may or may not be real.

"i feel like i've been eight for practically a hundred years. i wonder if i'm the oldest eight-year-old in the world. if i stay eight any longer, i will have gray hair when i turn nine ..."

Lila believes that the object she and her friends are collecting for her sun bag will enable her to go out in the day, beginning on her ninth birthday. But Alyssa warns her that when she's nine she'll "know better than to believe folks."

Is it any good?


This lyrical meditation on the world of night moves slowly, softly, and subtly. Many children will find it dull. But for some it will open their eyes to a part of their own world they may not have noticed or thought about.

Setting is everything here: Aside from Lila, none of the characters is more than a shadow, and there is little action or plot, no great drama or emotional climax. Like the nighttime world, everything is toned down, quieter, rendered in faded blues and grays. Nothing stands out too much in the night -- even the capital letters are gone. Lila's disease, though explained clearly, is mere pretext for the cool, dim setting, and a catalyst for changes that are universal: growing up, sorting fantasy from reality, making and keeping friends, finding one's place in the world.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about xeroderma pigmentosum. Kids may want to explore the nighttime world conveyed in this story. In many ways, it seems exciting and thrilling in the book. How would you feel if you were limited to nighttime adventures?

Book details

Author:Angela Johnson
Genre:Family Life
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Dial Books
Publication date:November 9, 2003
Number of pages:144
Publisher's recommended age(s):8 - 12

This review of A Cool Moonlight was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 10 years old May 31, 2009

a lyrical book for every pre-teen

i read the first 10 words an it was extraordinary
Teen, 14 years old Written bydaphney September 29, 2009

a cool moon light

i love it because make you happy to your self and want to dance on the moonlight
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 14 years old Written byPoison Ivey December 16, 2009

Acctually pretty good. I enjoyed reading it.

I'm probably too old to be reading this, buy hey my 11 year old sister got it for her bday last year and didn't lay a finger on it so I took it from her bookshelf and started reading (I was sick, so nobody was home and I was incredibly bored) And it was good but it was irritating cause there were no capital letters. Boo hoo I dont think she could have gotten away with thta. ~Ivey


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