Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool.
Delacorte Press/Random House: NY, 2010.
Newbery Award 2011

Moon Over Manifest brings together a few recurring themes for children's historical novels: orphans, immigrants, WWI, poverty, railroads and a small Western town. A young girl, Abilene, is sent to live in this town, as her father follows the railroad in search of work. She finds a cache of treasured items and letters and searches with her two new friends for clues to a mysterious person, maybe a spy. The girls do some spying of their own, spurred on by old newspaper articles and a local psychic's reminiscences.

Perspective shifts between present (1936) and past (1918). Abilene is hoping to find a connection between her father and the past stories. Pieces are slowing being revealed of the 1918 happenings to match the stowed objects. Townspeople watch over Abilene just as they cared for her father before her.

I really enjoyed the story. It does sound like a telling of a family or town's history. The historical elements of the story are included in a natural, cohesive manner. There are characters of interest, such as Shady the temporary minister/bartender and Miss Sadie the diviner. The back and forth between time periods works very well for this story.

related-secrets, fathers, Depression 1929, Kansas, small Western town, orphans, immigrants, mining
RL=5th and up

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