Review: Beautiful Moon by Tonya Bolden

beautiful moon

Beautiful Moon: A Child’s Prayer by Tonya Bolden, illustrated by Eric Velasquez

On a moonlit night, a young boy realizes that he’s forgotten to say his prayers and hops out of bed to pray.  He notices the beauty of the yellow moon and begins to pray.  As the moon crosses the sky, it shines on the different people that the boy prays for.  He prays for people with no homes and the moon shines on a woman trying to sleep on a park bench.  He prays for wars to end and the moon shines on a man worried about his daughter who is a soldier.  He prays for the sick to be healed and the moon shines into a hospital room.  He prays that everyone has enough food and the moon shines on a family with empty cupboards and also into a food pantry.  He prays for his own family, even his pet turtle.  And back in his bed, he prays that the next night he will remember to pray.

Bolden manages to keep this book solely about prayer and the act of praying for others without defining what religion the boy is.  Her use of the moon as a unifying factor works well, creating a book that flows along in a natural way.  Bolden’s text is done in poetic form, capturing moments of people in need of prayers with a real clarity. 

Velasquez’s art is luminous.  He captures moonlit rooms and places with a cool but also rich light.  He celebrates diversity on the page, the people in the images a rich tapestry of color and ethnicities.  The little boy’s earnest face speaks volumes about the importance of prayer.

A nondenominational book about prayers, need and community support, this book celebrates the power of faith in a way that children will easily relate to.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Abrams Books for Young Readers.