Heng Zeng for The Washington Post

Stargazing

By Jen Wang

Ages 8 to 12

Christine plays the violin; Moon dances to K-pop. Christine studies math; Moon loves to draw. Christine is careful; Moon is an outgoing oddball.

These girls are very different, right?

But in this graphic novel, they become best friends when Moon and her mom move next door. Moon encourages Christine to try new things, such as vegetarian meals. She teaches Christine how to dance, and they practice together for a talent show.


(Macmillan)

Christine even dares to paint her toenails like Moon’s — breaking her parents’ rule.

“You’re different girls with different paths,” Christine’s father cautions her. “Remember who YOU are.”

But with Moon around, their quiet Chinese American neighborhood seems livelier. The girls share music, snacks, laughs — and secrets. Christine learns the name of her friend’s crush and what happened to her dad. And she learns Moon’s biggest secret. Moon believes she belongs not on Earth but in the stars. She has visions of strange, beautiful beings. Her true home is with them, she tells Christine.

Christine has a secret, too — one she can’t tell Moon. She’s jealous. Christine wishes she were more like her edgy, artistic friend. When she does something mean, she’s sure Moon won’t forgive her.

Christine is so caught up in her feelings that she can’t see that Moon might need help, that Moon might need her.

Have you ever felt mixed up like Christine? Have you ever been jealous of a friend? What did you do?

Everyone has these mixed-up feelings sometimes. Through words and pictures, this graphic novel shows how two friends deal with the hurt and confusion. Are Christine and Moon too different to truly be friends?

At the end of the book, author-illustrator Jen Wang writes about why she wanted to create this story. Like her characters, as a child, Wang carried around several secrets — and some of them took her a long time to understand.

Click here to join the Summer Book Club. Make a Summer Book Club Little Free Library.



You might also like . . .

Two graphic novels about friendship and finding your place. In New Kid, by Jerry Craft, an artistic, African American boy tries to figure out the secret to fitting in at a ritzy private school. This funny, thoughtful book won this year’s Newbery Medal.

In Real Friends, by Shannon Hale and illustrated by LeUyen Pham, the author tells the true story of being dumped by her best buddy when she was a kid — and her hopeful efforts to make new friends.

Young readers should look for Mindy Kim and the Yummy Seaweed Business, by Lyla Lee. At her new school, Mindy starts a Korean snack business with a new friend, Sally — only to land them in big trouble. Now Sally is mad at her, and Mindy doesn’t know how to fix things.

Next time in book club

Music for Tigers

By Michelle Kadarusman

Ages 8 to 12

Louisa, a Canadian middle-schooler with a passion for the violin, travels to the Australian island of Tasmania to spend her summer break with relatives she doesn’t know. The family lives in a rainforest, which has amazing animals, strange sounds and unusual people. Louisa learns that a mining company threatens to bulldoze the area and that a rare Tasmanian tiger, from a species that the world thought was extinct, would lose its home. Louisa may be able to help in a way no one expects.


Join the club

The Summer Book Club is open to kids ages 6 to 14. Members may read some or all of the books on our list. (Find a blurb for each book at wapo.st/kidspostbookclublaunch2020.) The first 500 kids registered will receive a book light. To join the club, children must be registered by a parent or guardian. To register, that adult must fill out our form at wapo.st/kidspostbookclub2020. If you have questions, contact kidspost@washpost.com.