Mango Moon is a story about a ten-year-old girl named Maricela whose father is being deported. The last time the two were together, he pointed out the full moon and called it a “mango moon” because it was the color of a slice of mango.
After Papi was taken away, Mama had to get a second job. She also asked Maricela and her brother Manual to stay inside and lock the doors so they would be safe until she got home each night. Now they are getting ready to move from their house; even with two jobs Mama doesn’t make enough to pay the mortgage; they are going to move in with cousins.
Nothing seems to be going right. The kids are teased at school, and Maricela is scared that her mother will be taken away also. Papi is apparently being kept in a detention facility, and Mama has to take a bus to see him. As bad as this is, it is only temporary. Soon, Mama says, they will be sending Papi back to the country he came from. But Maricela knows he left in the first place because it was too dangerous there.
The children give Mama notes and pictures to take with her when she visits Papi, and he sends back letters that Maricela reads over and over.
Maricela is sick from fear and worry and missing her dad. But Mama tells her love is like the mango moon: she and her father can feel its glow no matter where they are.
Realistic illustrations brightly colored but with softened edges by multiple award-winner Sue Cornelison adeptly convey all the emotions Maricela is experiencing.
Evaluation: Although the story is quite sad, it gives a general outline of what is happening to a large number of families in the country right now. Many children will know someone affected by the separation policies of the government, and may be curious about what is going on and what it means. The author does a good job not only directing her story to a young audience (ages 7-10) but balancing the heartbreaking nature of the immigrant situation with what little positive spin she can.
Published by Albert Whitman & Company, 2019