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Ladder to the Moon    by Maya Soetoro-Ng & Yuyi Morales order for
Ladder to the Moon
by Maya Soetoro-Ng
Order:  USA  Can
Candlewick, 2011 (2011)
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Little Suhaila never knew her grandmother. One cool evening the child asks her mother, 'What was Grandma Annie like?'

'She was like the moon,' her mother answers. 'Full, soft, and curious. Your grandma would wrap her arms around the whole world if she could.'

Later that evening Suhaila is in her bed when a golden ladder mysteriously appears at her window. There, on the lowest rung, stands Grandma Annie who asks her granddaughter if she would like to go on a magical adventure.

Naturally the child accepts the offer and thus begins a story that touches on events such as a tsunami and an earthquake that have affected people across the world and reaffirmed our common humanity.

Inspired by both her own mother and the stories she use to tell her children, as well as Georgia O'Keefe's painting Ladder to the Moon, the author explains that through this story she hopes to teach the 'meaning of service' to her reader. Her central character, Suhaila, 'would watch her grandmother heal and shelter those who had suffered through natural and man-made tragedies, and eventually become the one to reach down, help up and heal.'

The illustrations of Yuyi Morales capture the dreamlike quality of this lyrical story and bring it alive in a rich, vibrant manner that will captivate any young reader four years of age and older.

Maya Soetoro-Ng is a writer and educator with a PhD in international comparative education. She is the sister of U.S. President Barack Obama.

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