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Ladder to the Moon by Maya Soetoro-Ng and Illustrated by Yuyi Morales

Published by Candlewick Press

Pages: 48

Ages: 4-8

Publishers Summary: Little Suhaila wishes she could have known her grandma, who would wrap her arms around the whole world if she could, Mama says. And one night, Suhaila gets her wish when a golden ladder appears at her window, and Grandma Annie invites the girl to come along with her on a magical journey. In a rich and deeply personal narrative, Maya Soetoro-Ng draws inspiration from her mother’s love for family, her empathy for others, and her ethic of service to imagine this remarkable meeting. Evoking fantasy and folklore, the story touches on events that have affected people across the world in our time and reaffirms our common humanity. Yuyi Morales’s breathtaking artwork illuminates the dreamlike tale, reminding us that loved ones lost are always with us, and that sometimes we need only look at the moon and remember.
From Maya Soetoro-Ng, sister of President Obama, comes a lyrical story relaying the loving wisdom of their late mother to a young granddaughter she never met.

Littlebug Squeaks: “Quiet. This is a very quiet book. Not because my mom is quiet when she reads it to me, but because I can tell it is a very important book. The little girl in the story seems just like me, but I am lucky enough to have my Grandma’s now and I hope I get to keep them for a long time. It would be very sad to only visit them on the moon, but my mom says they will always be with me where ever they are.

“I really like this book. Every time mommy reads it I ask her to read it again again! The pictures are so pretty and I love the little girl. I also like that she is able to help so many people, I like helping my mom in our house and I’d like to be like this little girl one day. I really hope you will read this very very soon, it is a very neat book.”

Mom’s Two Cents: “What is it that we teach our children? Do we share our burdens or make them lighter? Do we teach them to lighten the loads of those around them? Do we teach them to appreciate the glorious beauty in the world around us and show them to share it with others? The Ladder to the Moon is a journey into the love and hope we should carry with us throughout our lives. Showing the importance of reaching and growing as well as knowing we are not alone on our paths.

“I’m not sure I can accurately describe the beauty of this book. It’s incredibly hard not to read it without getting teary-eyed and doing some honest soul searching. Part of what seems so sad to me is that I fear so much of the importance of the meaning of the book is being overshadowed by the author’s relationship to the President of the United States. I worry that people will overlook the book (as they have in many interviews recently) and focus on the other aspects of Maya’s life when they should be taking a closer look at this gorgeous book.

“When I initially saw it I was also worried that my children wouldn’t understand it or would even be bored with it. I’m not going to lie, Turkeybird was not as impressed as Littlebug was. Though he will still sit attentively through an entire reading he’s not once asked to read it again as Littlebug does. I’m not sure why, but for whatever reason it just appeals to her more than it does to him. And oh, how Littlebug loves this book! She loves the illustrations, all of the wonderful places and especially the little girl. It has been wonderful sharing with her this very important story and it’s made me reflect on what I need to do better to be a better mother to her because of it.

Ladder to the Moon is a story about a little girl who has not known her grandmother and wants nothing more than to be closer to her despite this knowledge. In a million years I would have never thought I’d connect so much with this story or that it would move me the way it has. Both of my grandmothers are still living and in fact, I still remember two of my great grandmothers both of whom I was quite close to as a child. So the concept of not knowing a grandmother wasn’t one I thought I could relate to. Though that was much of the driving force behind the book, it had me thinking about it from a different angle, about my own grandchildren one day. I’ve thought over and over about how my children will describe me to their own children, it’s made me want to be better and try harder. Not because I want grand and marvelous stories told about me, but because I want to have these experiences with my children; I want them to know how much they are loved. I also want them to know how much I care for those around me and what I would do to help someone else. And I’m sure this isn’t the end of what I’d like to share with them, but I don’t want to keep everyone here all day. Just know, this is a breathtaking and life changing picture book you absolutely must read.

“Maya Soetoro-Ng’s book Ladder to the Moon is a stunning story about love, loss, service and so very much more. Within the pages you will find a little girl seeking the grandmother she’s never known, but longs to be close to. You will find hope through the service we can provide those within our reach. For me personally, I found a desire to do more, to be a better mother to my own children and to strive to reach out beyond my comfort zone to those I may not be helping yet. Coupled with the gorgeous illustrations of Yuyi Morales this is a story that begs to be read by all and one that will no doubt touch the hearts of all who pick it up. Please, cherish this book and prepare to be amazed by the beauty within it’s pages.”

The1stdaughter Recommends: Ages 2 and up. Love. Service. Charity. Kindness. So much of these attributes await readers of Ladder to the Moon. Both children and adults will be inspired to live better, striving to love and cherish those around them.

For a beautiful look into the artwork behind Ladder to the Moon with Illustrator Yuyi Morales stop by Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Candlewick Press, for providing a copy for review! Find Candlewick Press on Twitter and Facebook!

Find Ladder to the Moon by Maya Soetoro-Ng at the following spots:
Powell’s Books
Barnes & Noble

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6 Responses to Book Review: Ladder to the Moon by Maya Soetoro-Ng

  1. Gigi says:

    What a touching review by you and Littlebug. Every year I wait for the one picture book that all the ‘littlebugs’ in my life need to add to their little libraries. You helped me find this year’s gift book! Thank you!

  2. This looks so sweet. And the art is so beautiful.

  3. Eileen says:

    This sounds incredible! I’m definitely getting this for my boys. They never met their grandfather (my Dad) and it sounds like a lovely way to talk about people who are still special even though they aren’t with is any more. Thank you!

  4. […] month I’ve decided to share an incredibly powerful book from my recent reviews, Ladder to the Moon by Maya Soetoro-Ng. If you haven’t yet read this book, you should definitely seek it out! Please feel free to […]

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