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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Readers of this book are exposed to a number of important topics: bullying, nonbinary people, mental illness (depression), and personality types (introversion and extroversion).
It gets better when you learn to love yourself.
Positive Role Models
A mother struggles with finding answers about her child's mental illness but offers love and finds them a therapist.
The main character, Moon, is a nonbinary Black child. The author always refers to Moon as "they." There are other characters referred to as "they" as well as ones referred to as "he" or "she." Beings in the spirit world are from various cultures.
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Violence & Scariness
Some readers may be upset by a child thinking about not wishing to be in the world of the living. The main character s verbally bullied and excluded. "Moon" adopts the name after coming out to their mother as nonbinary, because the moon shines in both day and night. Kids make fun of the name. Moon spaces out sometimes (it seems like it's due to being depressed and overwhelmed), and when they do, kids laugh at them. One kid follows them around shouting and laughing, which Moon tries to drown out with headphones. Kids call them "freak" and make it known that they are excluded from being invited to parties.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Moonflower by Kacen Callendar (King and the Dragonflies, winner of the 2021 Coretta Scott King Author Honor) is about a 12-year-old, nonbinary Black child coping with depression. Moon wishes they were not alive and stops talking altogether for periods of time. While sleeping, they travel to the spirit world, where they encounter human and nonhuman creatures. These friends pull them Moon out of their shell. As they become more emotionally invested in others, they begin to love themselves and value their life. Some readers may be upset by a child thinking about not wishing to be in the world of the living. In the everyday world, Moon is verbally bullied, excluded, and called "freak" by other kids.
Is It Any Good?
This is a lovely, gentle book that delivers a message of understanding and hope. In Moonflower, the main character evokes empathy and compassion. This would be an excellent, comforting read for children going through similar issues, including gender issues, depression, bullying. It may also appeal to readers grappling with universal issues like loneliness or having a busy parent who doesn't seem to understand.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Our Editors Recommend
Books That Feature Characters Living with Mental Illness
Books with LGBTQ+ Characters
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate