Audio Book Review: MOON OVER MANIFEST – written by Claire Vanderpool & narrated by Justine Eyre Cassandra Campbell, & Kirby Heyborne


Vanderpool, Claire. 2011. Narr. Justine Eyre, Cassandra Campbell, & Kirby Heyborne. MOON OVER MANIFEST. Weaverville, NC: Listening Library. ISBN 978-0-307-94193-0.


MOON OVER MANIFEST is a Newberry Award winning historical middle-grade novel set in the small town of Manifest, Kansas. In 1936, 12-year-old Abilene Tucker is sent by her father to live with an old friend named Shady.  Missing her father, Abilene seeks to feel closer to him by unearthing information about his past life in Manifest.  When Abilene discovers an old cigar box buried under the floorboards with letters and a map dating back to 1918, it ignites her imagination.  In researching the contents of the cigar box, Abilene uncovers the rich historical tapestry of the many people living in this small mining town.


MOON OVER MANIFEST is an intricate network of richly historical and engrossing stories within stories. The history of Manifest, Kansas is cleverly told through narration by 12 year old Abilene & Miss Sadie, “newspaper columns from 1917 to 1918, … while letters home from a soldier fighting in WWI add yet another narrative layer” (Isaacs n.d.).  These different methods of developing this historical novel are cleverly set apart in the audiobook by three different readers speaking the parts.


Claire Vanderpool “draws in [young] readers without overwhelming us with historical details and long descriptions” (Vardell 2008, 190).  This story is a perfect blend of relatable fictional characters and historical facts while still staying true to the dialog, setting, “attitudes, values, and morals of the times” (Vardell 2008, 190-191).  Children in grade 5-8 will connect with this “thoroughly enjoyable, unique page-turner” (Stienberg 2010).


Main Characters:

  • Abilene Tucker12 year old protagonist sent by her father to live in Manifest, Kansas
  • Miss Sadie – tells Abilene stories about the past
  • Gideon Tucker — Abilene’s father
  • Pastor Shady Howard – Abilene’s caretaker in Manifest


Enrichment Activities:

Children who read historical fiction “’often will want to learn more about the facts behind the story” (Vardell 2008, 188).  This book would be perfect to pair with many non-fiction informational history books.  Moreover, Random House has a freely accessible MOON OVER MANIFEST online lesson plan for teachers:



  • 2011 Newbery Medal
  • Spur Award – Best western juvenile fiction
  • Kansas Notable Book


Meet-the-Author Book Reading:


What to Listen to Next:

Vanderpool, Claire. 2013. Narr. Cassandra Campbell. NAVIGATING EARLY. Weaverville, NC: Listening Library. ISBN 978-0385361040.


Philbrick, Rodman. 2013. Narr. William Durfis. THE MOSTLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF HOMER P. FIGG. Weaverville, NC: Listening Library. ISBN 978-0739372326.



Isaacs, Kathleen. n.d. “Booklist: Editorial Reviews.” Amazon. Accessed April 4, 2014.

Stienberg, Renee. 2010. “School Library Journal: Editorial Reviews.” Amazon. Accessed April 5, 2014.

Vardell, Sylvia M. 2008. Children’s Literatue in Action: A Librarian’s Guide. Westport, CT: Libraies Unlimited.


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