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Blow Out the Moon Paperback – June 14, 2006

4.8 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-6–In this novel based on the author's childhood in the 1950s, Libby, an engaging and feisty girl, moves from New York to London with her parents and three younger siblings. Her first school in London is a less-than-positive experience–the children tease her, and even the teacher is unkind. But things look up when she is sent to Sibton Park, a boarding school in the countryside, where everyone is nicer. Koponen is a gifted writer whose distinctive style has a conversational rhythm from frequent use of colons, dashes, and the like. She is especially good at describing what to modern children will seem like a very different time, with adults thoroughly in charge and children expected to sit quietly while the grown-ups talk. The author is very good at a kind of straightforward subtlety, an asset in a quiet book whose main focus is on emotions. The book's visuals are another asset, with small photos placed throughout, showing the author's childhood letters, pictures from her favorite fairy tales, the ship her family sailed on to England, and more. As a novel, the story lacks dramatic tension, especially after Libby leaves her first English school, but overall this is a thoughtful and interesting book.–Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 3-6. Delightful is a word that is overused in reviews, but it's difficult to find one that's more appropriate for this novelized memoir--though warm and cozy would do in a pinch. During the 1950s, Koponen's family moves to London. Leaving America is difficult, and life is no easier there. A fan of boarding-school stories, Libby jumps at the chance to go away to Sibton House in the English countryside, where she does make friends, learns to ride a horse, and is noticed for her writing talent. This seems to be a book that first-time author Koponen has waited a lifetime to write. Almost every page is dotted with photos or souvenirs, but more intriguing than the visuals are the images she offers of herself: a bit of a swaggerer who proudly informs the Brits about the Boston Tea Party but a girl who can also appreciate the silvery light of the English countryside. Today's readers, especially Harry Potter fans, will love the British bits and the details of boarding-school life. One thing will surprise them. Having read about Libby's taking the Tube alone and going off to school by herself, they'll assume she is 11 or so. When she matter-of-factly states she was 8 during her time in England, they'll more clearly grasp the idea of a simpler time. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 11 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 6
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (June 14, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031601480X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316014809
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #857,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Set in England in the 1950s, this endearing tale is a wonderful mixture of memoir and fiction. Libby, the main character, is forced to move for a time with her family to England. While she enjoys some aspects of this new venue, life is not quite as easy as it had been in America. Libby is not popular with her classmates nor her teachers (who make fun of her accent, her ideas, and her bangs). Things get better, however, when she is sent to a boarding school in the countryside.
At the boarding school-Sibton Park-she makes friends, is trained how to ride a horse, and learns how to speak, eat, and behave as a proper lady might. One simply does not, for example, comment on the food one is served. And to her credit Libby does not, even though "the English idea of spaghetti" is a plate of "plain spaghetti.and a small pitcher of completely smooth, very runny ketchup to pour on top."
The descriptions of time and place are wonderfully vivid. Readers will slip slowly into Libby's world without realizing it. Soon the words on the page disappear and you are there with her, in the garden, sitting under an old oak, the sun making "little wavering patches of light and shadows on the lawn;" the grass warm to the touch.
At story's end Libby and her family move back to America. There, she realizes she is not the same person as when she left. Back in her old school, she glances at the tall windows that went almost to the ceiling. "I'd never liked how much sky you could see (it was too blank)," Libby writes. But now, she realizes, she did enjoy the "bright blank blue sky." It was "filled with light and wide open to everything. I felt that way, too; and bursting with energy.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My 10-year-old daughter and I read this book when it first came out, and we both loved it. It's not the usual fare you find for young readers these days: there are no wizards, dragons, or talking animals, just a spunky young american girl who grows up a lot while spending a year at an English boarding school in the 1950's.

Libby is a great character for kids to relate to--she's not perfect, and though her high spirits get her into trouble sometimes, her heart is in the right place. And she's willing to change to become a more thoughtful and considerate person. There are few contemporary books for kids that deal with the subject of manners and etiquette--and that's not all this book is about--and it's refreshing to see it dealt with in a playful, yet enlightening way.

Kids will also be capitivated by the world of Sibton Park School, with the horseback riding, dormitory life, and all of its English ways. Christmas is coming, and we're going to give BLOW OUT THE MOON to all of my daughter's friends. Thank you, Libby, for such a wonderful book. We look forward to your next book!
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Format: Paperback
This had been a very inspiring read. Libby is a talented writer and I'm grateful for the opportunity to learn something new with her memoir. Yes, this is the story of Libby, from her childhood in New York to London, from her undesirable experiences in her new school, to coping up and moving to a better and nicer boarding school. Sibton Park was more than a school to her, it was more like her second home, with all those wonderful friends she'd made and the chance to show her skill in writing and yep, riding a horse!

I got a paperback of this book in our local bookstore. I instantly liked the cover because it featured a young girl standing in front of a gated fence looking at a school building, maybe contemplating if she's gonna give it a go or just run away. The image is powerful and drew me in.

What I also loved about this book are the real pictures that Libby had kept from those years living in London, those letters she wrote, the tea set, the dolls, the paddocks, even her French tests and pair of Wellingtons. The book, all in all, is a beauty! And if there's one thing that made me really love her and the story, it was the inclusion of the map of Kensington Gardens (remember Peter Pan?) and Hansel and Gretel! Yes, those were favorites of mine and it's nice to read a novelized memoir about a girl after my own heart.
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Format: Paperback
I very much enjoyed this nostalgic novel of the 1950s. Young Libby has an engaging voice and at times, a 'Ramona' type personality. I’m sure many readers will wish they could be best friends with her during her fascinating year at an English boarding school. I know I did, and by the end of the book, when a school group picture was mentioned, I was so hoping there would be a copy on the next page. Therefore, I was VERY excited to find the picture on Libby’s entertaining ifyoulovetoread dot com website where I can zoom in and get to know ALL of her classmates and teachers, as well as discover lots of other fun facts. Blow Out the Moon is a great choice for readers of all ages.
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A Kid's Review on November 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Blow Out The Moon was an unbelievable book! Not only was it a page turner, but a true story! Knowing that this book was a true story, it made me think of all of the things eight year old Libby went through.

One day because of her father's job, Libby Koponen and her family move from America to London. When Libby arrived she was amazed with the scenery and people who surrounded her. Libby eventually started to go to school. The other kids would tease her about her accent and name. Libby never made any friends at the school and the only person she ever talked to was her seven year old sister, Emmie. Libby was so unhappy with her life Libby's parents decided to send her to a bording school. At first Libby is uncomfortable with the bording school and the other borders, but Libby soon learns to love the bording school and has many great adventures with her new friends.
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