Friday, September 1, 2023

The Museum on the Moon

Most people I know love viewing the many faces of the moon in the night sky. Many stare and wonder about its marvels; others take moon photos or view the moon through a high-powered telescope. But did you know that the moon goes beyond being a phenomenon in the sky? It is also a museum of curious objects.
"The most curious museum on Earth isn't on the earth at all; it's on the moon"? 

Author and poet, Irene Latham, thoroughly researched why the moon is a curious museum prior to writing her fascinating new book with an interesting title, The Museum On The Moon-The Curious Objects on the Lunar Surface. Her book is so engaging that not only children but adults will be enthralled with Irene's addition of nonfiction information and a variety of poetic formats. In turn, Myrim Warers, the illustrator, created a series of magical scenes throughout the book that bring clarity to Irene's poems and non-fiction information. Their combination of artistic talents created a children's book that is out-of-this-world exciting.

When Irene introduced her new book, I immediately expressed interest in reviewing it. I thought it fortunate to not only see the book prior to public release but to enjoy virtually flying to the moon with Irene. I do admit that I was curious to view the artifact collection left on the moon. Perhaps, you, also have been inquisitive about the moon and lunar visits. My interest started when the American astronaut, Neil Armstrong, became the first person to step onto the moon (July 20, 1969) and declared, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind".  

If we peek into the book we will find a beautiful blend of word choice, poetic formats, interesting historical facts, and artwork. This is the type of book that will provide worthwhile night reading for families and a resource for teachers and librarians. Also, this book would provide hours of inquiry at a science/literacy wonder station, alongside Wonderopolis' articles on the moon, such as Wonder #128 How Much Do You Weigh On the Moon?  Teachers could pair this Wonder of the Day with Irene's poem on Gravity.

The book begins with a Table of Contents that draws children's attention. Some children may be inclined to skip to a particular title that delights them or follow the traditional way of reading a book. I indulged in a few moments reviewing the titles that are great introductions to the book itself. "The Junk Side of the Moon" caught my eye and I wanted to know more but I started with the first poem and nonfiction piece, Welcome Earthlings. Below is a portion of Irene's first poem using the triolet format.

Think you know the Moon 

because you see it every night?... 

So many artifacts hide in plain sight! 

Don’t think you know the Moon 

just because you see it every night. 


My curiosity was piqued immediately, so I eagerly awaited the collection of poems that unveiled artifacts that were left on the moon. At first, I wondered why the astronauts would leave personal possessions, their tools, equipment, and even golf balls but then, I started thinking about the Oregon Trail pioneers who left many of their beloved possessions along the side of the road. I did find out the reason though. Because astronauts were bringing back to Earth items from the moon for scientific research, they needed to divest themselves of heavy objects. I also found out from Irene's research that the aim of the NASA Apollo Program "was not to create a museum. The program aimed to establish space technology, carry out scientific exploration of the Moon, and to develop ways for humans to work in the lunar environment." Irene added links to various aspects of the program at the end of the book providing a pathway for children to complete a small research project in collaborative groups. 

Forever Footprints was the second poem that also used great word choice: "Human tracks tattoo Moon's rutted face-". Children will enjoy the imagery in this poem and most likely will need a dictionary to gain access to the meaning of some words, which is a wonderful way to introduce a worthwhile reading skill. The poem, "Invisible" made me stop and ponder the wonder of stardust and moon dust that merge hope, prayers, wishes, and dreams-come-true. The nonfiction piece on the left of the poem provided an inspirational goal-in-motion thought.


I extend thanks to Irene's publisher, Bushel & Peck, under their poetry imprint, Moonshower. Moonshower "publishes artful, exciting volumes of poetry for kids of all ages by some of the world's leading poets. Irene Latham is a notable figure in the children's poetry field. As you can see from the sneak preview, she is a thoughtful writer with a fine sense of how to create books that will empower children to become wonderers, readers, and writers. She writes to expand children's imaginations and also to promote creativity and children's potential to expand their horizons. 


Because digging into the whys of writing a book is important, I asked Irene to respond to two burning questions I posed.

1. Why were you drawn to researchng information on "The curious objects on the lunar surface"?
I was definitely one of those "space kids" who followed the Apollo missions and watched space movies (Space Camp, anyone?) and visited space museums. (Huntsville Space and Rocket Center is less than two hours away!) And our eldest son also had a big obsession with space, so it felt like I've had this books inside me for a long time! 
2. How did you decide which poetic format you should use when composing each poem?
I knew I wanted to use a variety of forms (thank you DICTIONARY FOR A BETTER WORLD), but I didn't set out to write any one poem in any particular form. I just kind of played around, and eventually (sometimes, immediately, as in the poem "Peace", which is an adaptation of an acrostic) a form would make itself known. I think I spend most of my time as a poet setting poems free from the constraints/expectations I come into the poem with...it's hard sometimes (and takes time!) to just let a poem be what it wants to be! But it's kind of essential, because in my experience, that's how one catches the best poems.

With delight, I opened my email today to Irene's responses. As parents, teachers, and librarians, it is important to understand the endless possibilities that books provide. Irene is one of those deep-thinkers who desires to open children's eyes to the magic of books. 


Below are some artifacts that Irene sent me to brighten my days I prepared to write this book review.

Artful Photography
Inspirational Poetry

Remembrance of the Apollo Missions Into Space

When Irene hosted Poetry Friday on June 30, 2023, she asked the community of writers to join her "Moon in June" themed Roundup. She created a Welcome to the Museum on the Moon! padlet here so others could enjoy the poetic goodness that came in different styles. I offered a Moon in June blog post with four moon-related poems and photos. You can see my offering here.

Note: Due to printing delays, the published date for the Museum on the Moon by Irene Latham is now set for September 19, 2023. This book will become the 19th children's book that Irene has written and a wonderful gift for any child, educator, or librarian. 

I've always been smitten by the moon and now I add Irene Latham's artistic and creative book, The Museum On The Moon-The Curious Objects on the Lunar Surface, to my wonder list of items that awe me. 

πŸŒ‘πŸŒ™πŸŒ•πŸŒ‘πŸŒ™πŸŒ•


Today, I offer the Poetry Friday community a peek into Irene Latham's newest book with the hopes that everyone spreads the news across social media, into classrooms, and libraries. Children benefit from books that spark their imagination and who knows perhaps there are little stargazers, astronauts, and scientists in the making who will grow up to honor the moon and all the Apollo missions. 

Thank you, Ramona Behnke, for hosting Poetry Friday today. I know that you are busy with your move across the country. May your new view bring many walks of peace to your late summer days.

28 comments:

  1. Oh, your marvelous post has made me want the book right now, Carol! I have it pre-ordered! It feels as if it will be a marvel for kids, those already loving all things space and those whose interest will be lured for more! I've been to NASA twice with my students and it was a spectacular experience. Lately, more astronauts have traveled to the space station. More is happening for the future, so exciting. Thank you for a special intro to Irene's new book! Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda, I created a mini-book from the arc. I want to show the little girls and then tell the story of how Irene celebrated my joy over Sierra. She sent me a little had-sized hurdy gurdy machine that I have in my desk drawer. I think kids should be exposed to different experiences in school and Irene's book will delight many children. You are so right to note that more is happening for the children's future. Thank you for your comments. Have a wonderful weekend.

      Delete
  2. I’ve been waiting and waiting for this book to come out! Thank you this lovely review and the sneak peek inside.
    It’s on my list of next reads.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You will love the way the book has been formatted, Lou. I hope there are no more delays in the publishing date.

      Delete
  3. oooooh! I love this review and must admit to skimming it as I am also writing one. I almost shared my review today. Except it's the Inklings challenge reveal day. So, I am finishing off 'The Museum on the Moon' for next week. This book is just beautiful and I love it. It gets ALL the love from me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda, I look forward to reading your review of Irene's beautiful book. The more we share it's beauty will alert others to purchase the book.

      Delete
  4. Carol, thank you for this thoughtful, lovely review! The best part of bringing this book into the world so far has been sharing the moon-love within our Poetry Friday community -- I'm so grateful! Thanks also for giving teachers a Wonderopolis connection. Fabulous! xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Irene, I am delighted that you enjoyed my review. It was easy to let my thoughts flow because you offered such rich background information and poems that children and adults will enjoy. I told my 6-year-old grand about your book last night at our special dinner outing. I will continue to publicize the book throughout the week.

      Delete
  5. I love hearing more and more of Irene's book journey and look forward to receiving my copy. What a gorgeous Chinese ode she sent to you! Thank you for this lovely review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Patricia, for your time perusing my book review. Obviously, you know that I am extremely fond of this book. The ode Irene sent is beautiful, especially the last line. I captured the moon last night and was so excited that I found it hiding behind trees until I rounded the bend.

      Delete
  6. I agree with you, Marcie. Have a great weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great interview questions, Carol! (Irene is one of my former writing students.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Anastasia for the comment. You just dropped a new piece of information. I enjoyed Irene's responses.

      Delete
  8. Carol, what a thoughtful and fun book review of the Museum on the Moon. I can't wait to get a copy in my hands. Your post is beautiful and interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Denise, thanks for the comment. I enjoyed reading each poem with its nonfiction information and choosing one poem to share.

      Delete
  9. Thank you for this fantastic review, Carol! I can't wait (even more, now!) to read Irene's 19th book!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mary Lee, thank you for the comment. Irene's book is one that children of different ages and level will enjoy. My 6-yr-old grandgirl seems interested because she is just starting to read chapter books.

      Delete
  10. What a thorough review, alongside Irene's own words and answers. I so admire her work. I've pre-ordered the book and look forward to sharing it with my students. I have a cassette recording (and a player) from my father of the moon landing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Margaret, thank you for stopping by. I admire Irene's work also. She writes such different types of books for kids. I would love to hear what type of lesson you will present to your students.

      Delete
  11. I appreciate your thorough and insightful review, Carol! I can’t wait to read about the moon from Irene’s thoughtful perspective.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tracey, I am glad that you enjoyed what I wrote about Irene's book. There are so many more fabulous poems in her book.

      Delete
  12. Thank you for this great review, Carol! As luck would have it, my preordered copy arrived yesterday and the book is even more beautiful in person. I continually marvel at Irene's knack for choosing the best, right word and for the many forms she offers. Best of luck with this one, Irene!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so glad that you totally agree with my review, Rose. Irene's book will become a marvel in classrooms, bedrooms, and libraries.

      Delete
  13. Carol, you have written a stunning review of Irene's book. It looks like a treasure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Joyce, for the response. You will love every page of Irene's book.

      Delete
  14. Oh, you are so right. Irene is a deep thinker. (With a beautiful heart!) I love how she makes big topics accessible to kids, with her beautiful layering of words.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kat, I am a latecomer to your comment but we were enjoying the Maryland shore over Labor Day with the little grandgirls. We now have our newest little observer of life, Lila (3 months old).Thank you for commenting on Irene's new book. I wrote another small book review blog post in the wee hours of this morning for educators.

      Delete
  15. Lucky us, Carol, to have both you and Irene in our galaxyπŸŽ‘

    ReplyDelete