Walk Two Moons

Book review by
Barbara Schultz, Common Sense Media
Walk Two Moons Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
Dramatic, complex tale has rich characters, emotional depth.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 20 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Along with the narrator, Sal, readers will discover various aspects of Native American culture, U.S. geography and landmarks, and the differences between rural and suburban American life. Sal also relates stories about her school experience, which will give younger readers a view of middle school curriculum and social life.

Positive Messages

Many of the strong messages in Walk Two Moons  are expressed in the notes that are mysteriously left on Phoebe's doorstep: "Don't judge a man until you've walked two moons in his moccasins." "Everyone has his own agenda." "In the course of a lifetime, what does it matter?"  "You can't keep the birds of sadness from flying over your head, but you can keep them from nesting in your hair." "We never know the worth of water until the well is dry." Sal thinks hard about these platitudes and learns from them.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Sal's grandparents set a superb example with their loving marriage, good humor, kindness, and grace under pressure. Sal's dad is patient and affectionate, and shows Sal that a man can express sorrow and still be strong. Her friend Phoebe's parents struggle with personal issues, but ultimately they're forgiving and put family first.

Violence

A girl falls from a tree and breaks her leg. A woman miscarries, and the event --which is extremely bloody -- is partly witnessed by a young girl. A woman is bitten by a snake. Readers learn about two fatal driving accidents that have already occurred when the action of the book begins.

Sex

A girl and boy flirt with each other and kiss a couple of times; the boy also holds the girl around the waist and takes opportunities to make physical (but not sexual) contact. Middle school-aged kids talk about being attracted (or not) to other kids, and talk about kissing.

Language

Sal inwardly debates the merits of the label "Native American" vs. "American Indian," and she and her grandparents stay at a hotel called Injun Joe's. There's no overt racism in the book, but issues of racial identity are raised.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

On a visit to a Native American pipe-making business, Sal (age 13) and her grandparents smoke a "peace pipe" with some locals. Readers learn that a man in Sal's new neighborhood was killed, and his mother-in-law blinded, in an accident with a drunk driver.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Walk Two Moons is a complex novel of self-discovery in which a 13-year-old girl explores her cultural and personal heritage, and her country, all at once. This Newbery winner is rich and rewarding on many levels, with three generations of memorable characters, relatable families, and a sensitive portrayal of feelings of loss in a girl just approaching adulthood. The most challenging aspects of Walk Two Moons concern tragic events and intense sadness. Sal relates personal stories about her family and friends -- including one drunk-driving accident -- and some events are described in upsetting, gory detail. There's also a bit of tobacco smoking, and some exploratory 13-year-old kissing.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byKAMe07 October 28, 2018

Awful

Not for kids under 14y. This book is filled with death and sadness. The 13yr old characters talk about vivid theories that people have been chopped up;the main... Continue reading
Adult Written byBananananananan... November 25, 2018

ABDOLUTE GARBAGE

it is by far the worst and most boring book I've ever read both in it's writing and storyline
Teen, 13 years old Written byNoahC207 September 27, 2016

Easily the most boring book I ever read.

So I am reading this book in school. We have only read up to chapter 8 and i'm already EXTREMELY bored of this book. Most of the book is just about having... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byUndyingChamp August 27, 2018

Definitely a great read, but not for anybody who wants a book with a happy ending

I think it's a great story, the details immerse you in the story. It does have a few questionable ideas though. The main character, who is 13, smokes a pip... Continue reading

What's the story?

The Newbery Medal-winning WALK TWO MOONS tells two stories: the one that's happening in the "present" of the book -- Sal's road trip with her grandparents -- and the story Sal tells Gram and Gramps in the car, about her friend Phoebe. As Sal and her grandparents retrace the journey Sal's mom made on her way to Idaho --visiting national landmarks and Native American points of interest -- Sal tells what happened when she moved from her family's farm in Bybanks, Kentucky, to a little suburban house in Euclid, Ohio. That's where Sal met Phoebe and was drawn into some mysterious events involving anonymous notes left on Phoebe's porch and a young man who came looking for Phoebe's mother. By trying to help Phoebe through a family crisis -- made even more dramatic by Phoebe's outrageous theories about kidnapping and murder -- Sal gains a deeper, more peaceful, understanding of her own feelings of loss.

Is it any good?

Sharon Creech tells a complex story within a story, full of dramatic, intersecting events, beautifully articulated feelings, and richly drawn characters. Even mature readers who can predict much about the end of Sal's journey will find plenty of plot surprises. And all readers will be deeply moved by Sal's experiences, and the connections she makes with her family, friends, and her natural world.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about images of Native Americans in the media. How is Sal similar to, or different from, Native American characters in other books you;ve read or movies you've seen?

  • Which of the secret notes the girls receive do you think contains the most important lesson for Sal, and why?

  • Look at a road map of the U.S., and try to draw Sal and her grandparents' route. What states, and what landmarks do they visit?

Book details

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